May 25th marks the opening of the 32nd Annual Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Running a full 25 days, with 418 feature length and short films from more than 60 different countries, including 19 World Premieres (5 features, 14 shorts), 40 North American Premieres (31 features, 9 shorts), and 22 US Premieres (17 Features, 5 shorts) the event has become the largest and most highly attended festival in the United States.
Opening night will kick-off May 25 at the historic Paramount Theatre in downtown Seattle, with a celebration for 3,000 film revelers to follow, featuring The Illusionist, Michel Gondry’s Science of Sleep, starring Gael Garcia Bernal will wrap the festival at SIFF’s Closing Night Gala on June 18.
Over the 25 days, more than 200 actors, directors and film industry professionals will be in attendance and at the screenings of their films, including Aaron Eckhart (Conversations with Other Women), Matthew Lillard (The Groomsman, Bickford Shmeckler’s Cool Ideas), Patrick Fugit (Bickford Shmeckler’s Cool Ideas), Stewart Copeland (Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out), Nicolas Winding Refn (Pusher Trilogy), Peter Chan (Perhaps Love), Eddie Muller (renowned film noir expert), Donald Sosin (internationally known silent film accompanist), Jason Reitman (juror, and director of Thank You for Smoking), Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo, and composer for Royal Tennenbaums, Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Rushmore), Marisa Tomei (Factotum), Jessica Biel (The Illusionist) and Neil Burger (The Illusionist). [24×7]
Safeco Adds Online Distribution Strategy
Seattle-based Safeco Insurance Companies has decided sell products via the Internet to supplement its existing and preferred sale channel of independent agents. The company began exploring this new distribution strategy in March, and based on feedback it received from agents, it believes online sales will help it reach a new customer segment that prefers purchasing insurance on the Web without an agent’s assistance.
According to Michael LaRocco, president and COO, Safeco believes it can expand its reach to new customers while maintaining its primary focus on the independent agent channel. “Our desire is to grow as a company and become a better partner for you.” He told agents. “Extending our distribution reach in non-traditional ways will help us strengthen our brand recognition and improve our knowledge of the marketplace in ways that will benefit Safeco and you.”
Safeco plans to conservatively market to two groups:
*Auto consumers who prefer buying online from a company Web site.
*Auto consumers who prefer to buy directly from an insurance company by phone.
A small call center of licensed sales professionals has been established to support consumers who wish to buy over the phone from Safeco. Direct marketing mailings will suggest consumers either click Safeco.com or call 1-800-4Safeco. [24×7]
SeatGuru.com Adds Leg Room
Space may be the final frontier, but which airline offers the most of it? And not just leg room, but what about the distance — or “pitch” — between airlines seats? The answers are at SeatGuru.com.
Travel professionals are pointing to SeatGuru.com as the place to turn to get seating information. Forbes magazine and a number of travel publications have touted its accuracy.
The Web site lets you choose from most airlines, with data on 270 aircraft. For instance, if you were thinking about booking the rear seats on a 50-seat Canadair regional jet — the kind used by Delta Air Lines from Richmond to Atlanta — you might heed this warning:
“Seats 14 A, B don’t recline, and the proximity to the lavatory and engine will be bothersome. The curvature of the plane makes the window seats feel more cramped.”
No seats on this aircraft get rave reviews, but the eighth row had the best marks because of added room for the emergency exit.
This summer travel season “is definitely going to be crowded,” said Susan Daimler, Director of Marketing. “Hopefully, people are going to be prepared and won’t be surprised.” [24×7]
Writing the DaVinci Code in WetPaint
Thanks to the efforts of Seattle Internet developers Wetpaint, fans of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” and Ron Howard’s much-anticipated film version can write a bit of code of their own on a new DaVinci code Wiki.
Joining forces with Dan Burstein, editor of “Secrets of the Code: the Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries behind the Da Vinci Code,” Wetpaint unveiled the Web site last week in anticipation of the movie premiere.
Visitors to the site can read history about the Knights Templar, the Holy Grail and Opus Dei or post their own conspiracy theories on topics. In the spirit of a wiki, nearly all of the content can be edited.
Wetpaint unveiled its Wiki publishing service on March 6 and plans a full launch early this summer. People will be able to use the Wiki publishing tools to create wikis around family reunions, youth sporting leagues or any other topic of interest. [24×7]