Councilmember Godden left office on January 1, 2016.
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Hey, Seattle: You oughta be in pictures

The Seattle International Film Festival, largest film festival in the United States, kicks off Thursday. In just 25 days  and nights, start to finish, the festival will offer 400 feature films and shorts from more than 60 countries, attracting visitors from around the world.

But that’s only part of SIFF’s success story.

The 36-year-old Festival has grown from modest beginnings to embrace a year-round presence. SIFF now collaborates with a family of festivals, such as the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the Jewish Film Festival and the Polish Film Festival. SIFF helps host these festivals and helps with scheduling, procuring films and promoting events.

Deborah Person, SIFF managing director, points out that, through this community of festivals , SIFF is able to offer more than a thousand different experiences throughout the year, reaching over 200,000 attendees.

SIFF currently is working to create a permanent visible home at the Seattle Center. First step was the SIFF Cinema  venue at Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall. And, although the recession has slowed fundraising, SIFF expects to  begin renovation for new offices in the Alki Room just North of KeyArena at Seattle Center this fall . The refurbished Alki space, set to open in 2011, will not only house SIFF offices – now at South Lake Union, but will serve as a film center with a 100-seat theater, classrooms, film editing facilities and archive space.

Director  Person says, “It’s a great story and it’s wonderful that, with the recession easing, we can move forward. Momentum is happening.”

SIFF obviously draws its strength from the legions of Seattle film buffs and its many sponsors, among them the City of Seattle. And, in case you were wondering, it’s a fact that Seattle filmgoers see more films per capita than movie goers in any other city in the United States.