It’s a good time of year to be a Seattle film fan. The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is just around the corner, the city has just hosted NFFTY and the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival, and this weekend brings the kick off for Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival (STIFF). STIFF runs from May 4 through May 12 at a number of area theaters.

Started in 2005 as a venue for films that didn’t fit into the larger, more conventional film festivals, STIFF is intended as a alternative to SIFF, modeled after fests like Slamdance. The idea is to provide a showcase for experimental, underground, and true independent cinema that doesn’t always have a home as film festivals grow in size, prestige, and mainstream appeal. These are films without budgets, big-name stars, or Hollywood backing. There are no VIP rooms at STIFF, and you won’t have to sell your first born to afford to attend. 50 bucks gets you an all-access pass, and individual tickets will only run you $8 (though you can also get a price break if you’re willing to dress up like a zombie!).

The venues for STIFF 2012 include the Grand Illusion Cinema, the Varsity Theater, and Wing-It Productions in Seattle’s University District, and Central Cinema in the Central District/Capital Hill area.

There are a bunch of events planned for STIFF 2012, including a Saturday morning block of cartoons complete with a Bloody Mary bar, a block of student films, and an opening night screening of local shorts, just to name a few. There promises to be something for everyone among the more than 100 scheduled features and shorts. The line up includes horror, comedy, drama, documentary, and films that defy easy classification. Many filmmakers will be in attendance, and there are a variety opportunities for Q & A’s and to interact with the people behind these movies. STIFF provides a unique change to get up close and personal with the people behind these films.

Click HERE for a full list of films, times, locations, and to get tickets.

There are too many tempting choices at STIFF, but here are a few that I find particularly interesting. Some are weird, some are creepy, some are downright disturbing, but all promise to be memorable. There are so many more options that it will definitely behoove you to take a few moments to fully explore the full catalog.

A Little Bit Zombie

Infected by a virus during his bachelor party, a mild mannered HR manager attempts to fulfill his overwhelming desire for brains and avoid Max, the obsessed Zombie Hunter hot on his trail. All while keeping it together so as not to incur the wrath of his Bridezilla-to-be.

Donkey Love

Funny, shocking and controversial, Donkey Love is a documentary that introduces the unknown tradition of Colombians having sex and falling in love with donkeys. It starts off as a rite of passage ritual that fathers initiate with their sons and is carried on into their adulthood where men often end-up cheating on their wives with donkeys.

Horror of Barnes Folly

When a misunderstood monster stumbles into the small backwoods hillbilly town of Barnes Folly, it is up to Deputy Johnson (Gorbos), an inept, newly transplanted cop from the big city, to ease the terrified town and bring the Monster to justice. He forms a mismatch posse, including his slightly psychic girlfriend (Bell), the town’s only doctor (Muhammed), an odd woodsman (Gubbins), and Jeff, the hillbilliest of all hillbillies (Rodrick), to catch the horrible, horrific, horrifying Monster.


Pork Rind is a busboy, petty-thief, and alcoholic. Realizing a psychic power he never knew he had, he and best friend, Weezie, embark on an all-too-easy burglary spree. When their thieving ways catch up with them, the opportunity arises to test their mettle, and prove that even the least-expecting slacker can rise to occasion to become a true Antihero.

Today We Have The Power

This film breaks the mold of angry documentaries on corporate greed by exploring the spiritual underpinnings of the 1999 Seattle WTO protests. It delves beneath the mayhem and madness of the event, goes deep into the issues that brought people to Seattle, and even deeper into the spiritual crisis at the root of the problems that inspired the event.

Technology STIFF 2012 Preview