Seattle International Film Festival runs through Thursday in Renton

Three of the lead characters in
Three of the lead characters in 'Fat Kid Rules the World, from left, Dylan Arnold, Billy Campbell and Matt O'Leary and the film's director, Matthew Lillard posed for photographs Friday night at the film's screening at the IKEA Performing Arts Center. BELOW: The gala for the opening night of the Seattle International Film Festival drew hundreds of partygoers to the Renton Pavilion Event Center, including, from left, Micah and Heather Nasarow, and Don and Susan Bressler. Heather Nasarow and Don Bressler appeared as extras in 'Fat Kid Rules the World.'
— image credit: Dean A. Radford/Renton Reporter

The world is coming to Renton today, the opening night of Renton’s second turn as a venue for the Seattle International Film Festival.

Tonight’s opening-night film, “Fat Kid Rules the World,” at the IKEA Performing Arts Center (IPAC), features a cast of local extras. Its director,  Matthew Lillard, met with students Friday at Lindbergh High, where some of the film’s scenes were filmed.

SIFF’s artistic director, Carl Spence, is expecting a big crowd tonight at IPAC.

“We expect a close-to-capacity house,” he said. “The film is one of our hottest sellers.”

And that's the way it turned out. A capacity crowd of about  550 people viewed "Fat Kid Rules the World," given it extended applause after it was over. The school scenes were filmed at Renton's Lindbergh High School.















At about 4:30 p.m. Friday only a handful of tickets were available for opening night. Tickets for the festival are on sale at at the IPAC box office, online or by phone at 206-324-9996.

The box office at Renton High School, 400 S. Second St., opens at 6:30 p.m. today to purchase tickets and to pick up will-call tickets. Renton High School is at 400 S. Second St. in downtown Renton.

After the screening, the crowd will walk across South Second Street for the open-night gala at the Renton Pavilion Event Center on Burnett Avenue South.

It's going to feel like a real Hollywood movie opening tonight in Renton, with a chance to take photos in front of a SIFF backdrop and wine and beer and food provided by eight Renton eateries at the event-center gala.

The festival runs through next Thursday, featuring films from around the world and the United States. This weekend, nine films will play, including five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The first film Saturday is at 11 a.m. "Only Yesterday" is an animated film about a 20-something woman remembering her childhood.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, two films will show each evening, starting at 6 p.m.

SIFF was drawn to Renton as a venue because of its diverse population, but it's also a chance for South King County to see a sampling of the types of films SIFF shows in Seattle.  SIFF is showing films at its Seattle venues through June 10.

SIFF's other suburban venues are Kirkland and Everett.

Violet Aesquivel, vice president of the Filipino American Community of Renton, appreciates all the City of Renton has done to reach out to her community to come see two Filipino films.

She is a part of the SIFF Renton Host Committee and as a community liaison for the City of Renton, she is coordinating with members of her group to go see the Filipino films “Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings” and “The Woman in the Septic Tank.”

Both films are showing on Sunday at the IPAC. “For me, it is not only fun to see the films, but also to experience the gathering of different peoples with the same interest to get involved in the community,” Aesquivel said. “SIFF, an international film festival, is not only a festival of films in itself, but of diversity in terms of community participation.”

Other City of Renton community liaisons are coordinating attending Spanish and Japanese films at SIFF. The film organization is providing a limited number of complimentary tickets to groups attending those films.

(Tracey Compton contributed to this story.)


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