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Last year I wrote about Seattle’s “summer of film,” so-called because an unusual number of features were shot in the area. We’re about to see the fruits of that labor as the Seattle International Film Festival, which runs May 21st to June 14th, will spotlight in its Northwest Connections program twenty-nine films recently made in Washington state or by local filmmakers. The program includes eight features, eight documentaries, and thirteen short films.

One feature generating a lot of buzz is Lynn Shelton’s Humpday, which was also just selected for Cannes. Humpday is a comedy about two male friends who take part in an amateur porn contest, based on the one sponsored by Seattle’s weekly The Stranger. Starring actor/director Mark Duplass (whom I interviewed last year for Randomville when he was in town promoting Baghead), the film won Shelton a Spirit Award from Film Independent earlier this year and has been picked up for distribution by Magnolia Films.

Other locally-made features include The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle, a Sundance hit about a group of science lab custodians who unwittingly become the subject of a biochemical engineering experiment; The Spy and the Sparrow, which marries spy thriller to domestic drama; World’s Greatest Dad, the lone Hollywood entry, starring Robin Williams and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait; and ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction, a political satire set in Port Gamble. (Disclaimer: I may appear very briefly in ZMD as one of the undead).

Some of the documentaries in Northwest Connections are actually set elsewhere: Sweet Crude, for example, is about the effects of oil drilling in Nigeria, and Independent America: Rising From Ruins looks at the effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. I’m especially looking forward to the ones that explore local phenomena, however, including It Takes a Cult, made by a former member of the Israel (Love) Family commune in Seattle, and Trimpin: The Sound of Invention, about the Seattle-based sound artist/genius.

The full Northwest Connections line-up can be found on SIFF’s website. The complete SIFF schedule will be announced on May 7th.

Photo courtesy of the Hump Day website

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