France will fete founder Macdonald

SEATTLE — The 30th Seattle Intl. Film Festival winds down this week, wrapping up 25 days of movie-watching.

B.O. figures already put ticket sales at 15% higher than previous years, in keeping with the fest’s rate of growth for the past decade.

In a unique development, France will present a medal and knighthood (the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) to fest founder Darryl Macdonald, who stepped down this year as topper.

The kudos, given in recognition of Macdonald’s contribution to the promotion of French films in North America, will be presented by the Consul General of France (in San Francisco) Frederic Desagnaux, France’s highest-ranking official in the Western U.S.

More guests due this week include scripter Zack Penn, helmers Stacy Peralta and Werner Herzog and tribute subjects Stephen Fry and Patrice Leconte.

Well-attended pix rolling out theatrically straight from fest play include “The Notebook,” “Saved!” (with stars Jena Malone and Mandy Moore in attendance), Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunset” and “Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut,” a 133-minute version helmer Richard Kelly brought to the fest.

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