Seattle fest throws open ‘Party’

Preem of 'Investigating Sex' to close

HOLLYWOOD — Opening night pic at the 27th annual Seattle Intl. Film Festival will be the North American premiere of “Anniversary Party,” the directorial debut of Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Fest, to unspool May 24-June 17, will close with the world premiere of Alan Rudolph’s “Investigating Sex.” A total of 250 films from 50 countries will screen over the fest weeks.

Ensemble pic “Anniversary Party” stars Kevin Kline, Phoebe Cates, Gwyneth Paltrow, Parker Posey, John C. Reilly, Jane Adams, Jennifer Beals. Leigh plays a neurotic actress married to Cumming’s character, a sexually ambivalent novelist. They invite all their showbiz friends to join them in the celebration of their anniversary, a party that ends up including caustic chitchat, charades, testimonials and alcohol and turns the satirical fun and games into a scorching dissection of a marriage on the brink, as well as a way of life.

Also an ensembler, “Investigating Sex” stars Neve Campbell, Jeremy Davies, Dermot Mulroney, Nick Nolte, Julie Delpy, Robin Tunney and Tuesday Weld. Pic centers on a group of young men who come together to candidly discuss and record their conversations about sex. Campbell and Tunney play stenographers who serve as catalysts for the confessions and conversations.

SIFF 2001 gala presentations include the world premiere of “O,” the controversial pic directed by Tim Blake Nelson and starring Julia Stiles and Martin Sheen; the U.S. premiere of “Liam,” directed by Stephen Frears and starring Ian Hart and Claire Hackett; the world preem of “Tortilla Soup,” directed by Maria Ripoli and starring Hector Elizondo and Raquel Welch; and the world preem of Terry Zwigoff’s “Ghost World,” starring Steve Buscemi and Thora Birch.

Among other world premieres at the fest are “Animal,” directed by Sergio Bizzio; Jay Frasco’s “Dirt Boy,” starring Jacob Lee Hedman and Luca Bercovici; “Exploding Oedipus,” directed by Marc Lafia and starring Bruce Ramsay and Juliana Hatfield;

Garrett Bennett’s “Farewell to Harry,” starring Joe Flanigan, William Hall Jr. and Lysette Anthony; “Final,” from helmer Campbell Scott, with Hope Davis and Denis Leary toplining; and Jeff Probst’s “Finder’s Fee,” starring James Earl Jones, Robert Forster, Eric Palladino, Ryan Reynolds, Matthew Lillard and Dash Mihok.

Also making their world premieres are “Jackpot,” from director Michael Polish and starring Jon Gries, Daryl Hannah and Garrett Morris; “Juilliard,” directed by Maro Chermayeff, with Robin Williams and Itzhak Perlman; Peter Capaldi’s “Strictly Sinatra,” starring Ian Hart, Kelly Macdonald and Brian Cox; and “Viva Las Nowhere,” directed by Jason Bloom and starring Daniel Stern, James Caan and Patricia Richardson.

U.S. premieres include “The Crimson Rivers,” directed by Mathieu Kassovitz and starring Jean Reno, Vincent Cassel and Dominique Sanda; and Peter Sheridan’s “Borstal Boy,” starring Danny Dyer, Michael York and Shawn Hatosy.