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SpIFF 2019: Friday’s opening night is ‘Proof of Life’


Above: Brad Thiessen is the subject of Spokane filmmaker Adam Harum's documentary "Proof of Life," which will play Friday as part of SpIFF's opening-night program of short films. Photo by Adam Harum

On Friday, the 2019 Spokane International Film Festival will begin its 8-day run, beginning at the Bing Crosby Theater and continuing for the next seven days at the Magic Lantern.

The festival has played at various venues since its 1999 start, when it was called the Spokane Northwest Film Festival. Dreamed up by the Contemporary Arts Alliance, with Bob Glatzer serving as its first artistic director, the festival mainly used the Bing (then still called The State Theater), but spread for a time to AMC River Park Square, held the occasional screening at The Garland, and these days remains at The Bing (for opening night only) and the Magic Lantern.

 This is well within the festival's limited budget, which depends on grants, donations and ticket sales. That latter-most category is limited because of the Lantern's size, its two houses holding about 99 and 33 seats, respectively.

Anyway, Friday's night's opening program should attract a good crowd, devoted as it is to Northwest shorts and mid-length films (including Adam Harum's documentary "Proof of Life"). Filmmakers and their crews are always excited to see their efforts put up on a big screen before an appreciative audience.

And tickets to the rest of the festival are going fast. No surprise there, considering the quality of the movies — from such foreign sites as Hungary, Kosovo, France, China, etc. — and the relatively limited number of seats.

So if you're interested in attending, you should consider getting your tickets in advance. While you still can.

Note: As always, I want to stress that I serve on the festival's board of directors. And I'm one of the senior programmers. But it's purely a volunteer position. Besides, since I began writing about the festival since its inception, back when I was still a features writer at The Spokesman-Review, I may be one of the few people who has attended every single annual event. Not bragging, but that's what you call a film fan.

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