As the Seattle International Film Festival enters into its second week the fest is showing no signs of slowing down. You can always count on some great docs hitting the screen during SIFF and with more than 60 investigative and informative films on the docket this year is no different. Here are three docs that screen over the next week that are worth checking out.
Sometimes the line between convincing and conniving can be razor thin. This doc puts Frederic Bourdin front and center and shows just how such a line can be expertly straddled. Bourdin, a 20-something French Algerian with dark hair and dark eyes living in Spain makes the unlikely, yet convincing, transformation to a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy from Texas who'd been missing for almost four years. Hard to believe, I know. But this guy is a pro. Just ask the family (and authorities) who flew across the country to bring Bourdin back and welcome him as their long lost son. Better yet, ask Bourdin. He gets plenty of screen time to make his case and it’s easy to see how this enigmatic character pulled it off. The filmmaker presents a compelling study in character and just how much we are willing to believe if we want something bad enough. The Imposter plays May 29 at Harvard Exit.
Pink Ribbons, Inc.
We are all familiar with it - the pink ribbon which symbolizes the advocacy and support in finding a cure for breast cancer. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised in the name of research through runs, walk-a-thons, parades and just about any other events that might be sponsor friendly. It’s a noble cause that is hard to argue against, but filmmaker Lea Pool does just that. Through various interviews with authors, activist and cancer survivors Pool posits that the push to put a pink ribbon on this deadly disease undermines the seriousness of a cause that results in the death of 60,000 women a year – and that’s just in North America. Hearing directly from women dealing with stage-four breast cancer we gain insight into their hopes that less attention is given to the corporate entities behind the pink ribbon push and that we take a more in depth look at what might cause the alarming rate of breast cancer (including environmental and pharmaceutical practices by the very same corporations involved in the pink ribbon campaigns) that ultimately affects one in eight women today. This doc is not afraid to call the question. Prepare for some feathers to be ruffled. Pink Ribbons, Inc. plays May 28 at Harvard Exit.
If you have the ambition, drive and talent to make it on Broadway it also might be helpful to have a little heart. And the three actors that share the spotlight in this doc about the highs and lows of trying to make it on the stage in the Big Apple certainly have heart in spades. The Standbys follows three musical actors with aspirations of becoming the headliners in a Broadway musical production. While they wait for their big break they take roles as standbys. These actors have studied and perfected the lead roles that typically go to ‘stars’ whose names you recognize from TV and film. But instead of the applause and adulation, the standbys spend night after night backstage in solitude waiting for that rare chance where they get the call to step in and perform. How do they maintain their sanity? This doc captures the emotional rollercoaster of three uniquely talented actors as they carve out their own paths in the attempt to be standbys-turned-stars. The Standbys plays June 2 at SIFF Cinema Uptown and June 4 at Harvard Exit.