Post-fest postmortem.

SIFF 2001 was a weaker festival than last year, and Sunday's surprise Golden Space Needle Award to Survivor host Jeff Probst's debut feature, Finder's Fee, represents the triumph of a homegrown director over an undistinguished field. The complaint at film festivals this year has been that there's no breakout critical-commercial success ࠬa Pulp Fiction or Crouching Tiger. Unfortunately, that judgment holds true at SIFF, though not for lack of trying. Directors and programmers alike have done their best, but the jury and popular awards left little to rave about. (The most votes actually went to Diva, ineligible since it previously played the fest in '82, signaling that SIFFgoers know a good movie when they see it—again.) At Sunday's awards brunch, Probst was plainly delighted with the honor from a festival he often attended: "That's the reason the audience award is so meaningful and ultimately probably so important for us," he gushed. "Because Seattle's known as a moviegoing community." More predictable Needles went to John Cameron Mitchell's acting in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and that Shackleton documentary, The Endurance, both reflecting strong but divergent Seattle demographics. (See our Web site for the full list of winners.) Jury prizes were idiosyncratic: The New American Cinema Award went to the dreadful Jackpot, while the New Director's Showcase Award fell to Lukas Moodysson for his ABBA-infused '70s drama Together (which should be released this fall). Previously the director of Show Me Love, Moodysson fortunately wasn't on hand to receive his hideous Chihuly glass feather (valued at $30,000 by its maker). The absent Chihuly did send his young wife to deliver some self-serving remarks reminding us how he's "like a film director." Thank you, Dale, for a little bit of egotism in an otherwise down-to-earth festival. No one can see every film in a festival with over 200 titles, but judging from about half that number, my favorites include Ali Zaoua, 101 ReykjavI>, Jump Tomorrow, I Love Beijing, Haiku Tunnel, The Business of Strangers, Bangkok Dangerous, Bartleby, Chopper, The Road Home (reviewed opposite), Love Inventory, and The Adventures of Felix. My top pick? Though I didn't even have time to see it (again), it has to be Diva. The people have spoken.

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