Mae West Fest sashays back in 2006

The Mae West Fest has risen from the graveyard of festivals past. After a one-year hiatus, the festival devoted to women's writing has been resurrected under the leadership of executive director Heidi Heimarck, who founded the original festival in 1996 with Elena Hartwell.

After a round of restructuring and fundraising over the past year, the Mae West Fest received grants from the Emmett R. Quady Foundation and the Seattle Neighborhood Initiative Funding Program. The funding will help keep the festival alive and also allow the artists involved to be compensated, according to festival organizers.

"We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of support we've received from the community - both financial and verbal. Knowing so many people wanted to keep us going really gave us the extra inspiration to continue with our goal to make this next festival stronger than ever," added co-artistic director Linda Lombardi when she announced the Mae West Fest's return.

Mae West Fest's first project in 2006 will be the inaugural Female Protagonist Project at Richard Hugo House.

Playwrights from around the country were asked to create "the ultimate female protagonist." The top three scripts will be read at Hugo House by local professional actors at 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on March 4. Proceeds from this event will go to support the 2006 Mae West Fest in May.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door for the day. To purchase tickets in advance, use www.brownpaper

In May, the Mae West Fest moves off Capitol Hill and to their new performance space at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in West Seattle.

SIFF dates, Global Lens tour, SF shorts

The Seattle International Film Festival is sponsoring a number of events around Seattle in 2006 as well as running their huge main event in May and June.

The main festival will still be (mostly) centered on Capitol Hill, with screens at the Harvard Exit, Egyptian and Broadway Performance Hall as well as to be announced locations elsewhere. The 2006 SIFF will begin later than usual to avoid conflicts with the Cannes International Film Festival. SIFF opens May 25 and runs through June 18 this year.

Local filmmakers interested in submitting to SIFF have until Feb. 1 to send their films to the SIFF programmers. Details on how to submit to the festival as well as Early Bird Passes can be found on The final program for the 2006 SIFF will be announced in May. But, before then, local film aficionados can choose international drama or alien action at two mini-festivals sponsored by SIFF.

The third annual Global Lens touring film series returns to Seattle. This year's series includes eight feature films and a collection of five short films from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

"Border Café" tells the story of a young Iranian widow who decides to defy tradition by operating her own business. "Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures" is set in Brazil during World War II, when a young German man seeks to avoid the conflict in Europe by peddling aspirin in a remote corner of the country. Another Brazilian entry, "Almost Brothers," follows two boys as one grows to be a government official and another becomes a gang leader in prison. Feature films from Lebanon, South Africa, Burkino Faso, China and Palestine will also be shown. The short films also feature entries from Venezuela, India and Argentina.

The Global Lens series was developed by the Global Film Initiative to bring outstanding films from the developing world to U.S. audiences. A full schedule for the series, which takes place through Thursday, Jan. 19, at the Varsity Theater, 4329 University Way N.E., can be found at

The first annual Science Fiction Short Film Festival, co-presented by the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame and SIFF, will run Feb. 3 to 6 at the Cinerama Theatre and JBL Theatre at Experience Music Project.

This new science fiction festival was set up as a juried competition, with the Grand Prize winner receiving a pitch meeting with SciFi Channel executives. Films accepted for the Science Fiction Short Film Festival should be announced later this month.

Screenplays wanted

Are you serving coffee by day and writing screenplays at night? If 75 percent of the story takes place in the state of Washington, your script may qualify for the Washington State Screenplay Competition.

The Washington State Screenplay Competition seeks to showcase Washington state's potential as a rich setting for innovative and compelling stories. The final deadline for submitting a screenplay for this year's competition is Jan 27.

Visit www.nwfilm for all the rules, instructions and entry fees.

More information is available from the competition coordinator Jen Peel at screenplay@nwfilmforum.

Rosemary Jones writes about arts and entertainment in the Capitol Hill Times. She can be reached at editor@capitol

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