Today, SIFF prides itself as a film festival for film lovers - and its current 25-day festival presents more than 450 features, short films and documentaries from 70 countries.
SIFF celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2014 -- here are 40 must-see films from the 2014 lineup.
"20,000 Days on Earth": Celebrated editing masterpiece chronicling the supposedly true life of Nick Cave.
"Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory" (top 10 pick): Documentary about the healing effects of music therapy for Alzheimer's patients.
"The Babadook": Part-monster movie, part 'kids are creepy' horror flick.
"Begin Again": Follow-up film from director John Carney ("Once"), stars Kiera Knightley and Mark Ruffalo. (watch the trailer)
"Boyhood" (top 10 pick): Experimental film shot over the course of 12 years - using the same core actors - to chronicle the growth of a boy into adulthood. The latest from director Richard Linklater ("Before Sunrise" trilogy), who is arguably one of today's best film directors. (watch the trailer)
"Burt's Buzz": A documentary about Burt - the real-life namesake of 'Burt's Bees.' (watch the trailer)
"The Case Against 8": Documentary tracking the battle to overturn California's controversial ban on same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8.
"Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead" (top 10 pick): Nazi zombies. Enough said. (watch the trailer)
"Dear White People": Satire take on race, following Black students attending an Ivy League school when riot breaks out over a popular 'African American' themed party thrown by white students.
"Difret": A kidnapped girl in Ethiopia kills her attacker -- but faces the country's long-standing tradition of marriage by abduction.
"Dior and I": A glimpse into the inner workings of the House of Dior as the brand rushes to pull together a new fashion collection.
"The Double": A man's life is turned upside down when his new co-worker is not only his exact lookalike - but his exact opposite. Directed by Richard Ayoade (star of "The IT Crowd") and stars Jesse Eisenberg ("The Social Network") and Mia Wasikowska ("Alice in Wonderland").
"The Fault in Our Stars": The much-anticipated adaptation of the young adult book about teens living with cancer. (watch the trailer)
"Frank" (top 10 pick): Michael Fassbender ('12 Years a Slave,' 'X-Men: First Class') as you've never seen him - wearing a papier-mâché for an entire film. (watch the trailer)
"The Green Prince": A Palestinian man's moral conflict after his decade-long assignment as an informant has led him to betray those closest to him in his fight for Israel.
"Happy Christmas" (top 10 pick): Anna Kendrick, Lena Dunham and Melanie Lynskey star in this indie comedy-drama.
"Hellion": A boy's increasing delinquent behavior forces Child Protective Services to place his little brother, Wes, with his aunt. Stars Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis and Josh Wiggins.
"I Origins" (top 10 pick): The follow-up collaboration between director Mike Cahill and writer-actor Brit Marling. (watch the trailer)
"I Am Big Bird: The Caroll": Documentary about the last surviving original puppeteer on 'Sesame Street.' (watch the trailer)
"In Order of Disappearance": Described as the Norwegian "Fargo" - which is high praise.
"JIMI: All Is By My Side": Biopic following legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix ... before he was Jimi Hendrix.
"Keep On Keepin' On": Documentary follows the 89-year-old jazz legend who mentored Miles Davis as he takes on a blind piano prodigy.
"Little Accidents" (top 10 pick): A small, sleepy coal mining town is disturbed after the disappearance of teenage boy.
"Lucky Them": A weary music journalist hunts for legendary Seattle musician who famously disappeared without a trace. (watch the trailer)
"Mood Indigo": The lastest film from Michel Gondry ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind") stars Audrey Tautou ("Amelie") and Romain Duris ("Populaire").
"The One I Love" (top 10 pick): Described as a relationship drama with a "Twilight Zone" twist - stars Elisabeth Moss ("Mad Men") and Mark Duplass ("Safety Not Guaranteed").
"The Signal": This moody sci-fi flick follows a group of students hunting a powerful computer hacker.
"The Skeleton Twins": "SNL: alum Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader team up for this dramatic-comedy about two adults paralyzed in arrested development.
"Still Life": A mild-mannered government worker is let go from his government office - but not before being tasked with finding the next of kin to a man who may have died alone.
"They Came Together" (top 10 pick): How can a rom-com parody starring Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler not be awesome!? (watch the trailer)
"Time Lapse": A group of friends discover a machine that allows them to see into the future - with disastrous results. (watch the trailer)
"To Be Takei": Oh my! A documentary about the man, the myth, the legend - George Takei ... who has risen from World War II internment camp survivor to sci-fi and gay icon.
"To Kill a Man": A poor Chilean man plots revenge against the gang of criminals who shot his teenage son.
"The Trip to Italy" (top 10 pick): The follow-up to the hilarious British comedy, "The Trip." (watch the trailer)
"Two Raging Grannies": Documentary following two elderly women, restricted to scooters, as they wage a two-woman battle against capitalistic greed. (watch the trailer)
"Unforgiven": A straight-up Japanese remake of the Clint Eastwood Western-classic, re-imagined in the age of Japanese samurai.
"Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang": Described as Spain's version of "The Goonies," complete with a treasure hunt and a pirate-like adversary. (watch the trailer)
"Zombeavers": Everything you need to know is in the title - zombie beavers. (watch the trailer)
Tickets for all screenings at the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival go on sale May 1 at the SIFF website.