Meet the Programmer: Stan Shields

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Meet our talented team of programmers – the people who work and watch movies all year long to curate the best films possible for the Seattle International Film Festival, celebrating its 49th year from May 11 to 21, 2023. Full program info

What are your 10 favorite films ever?
DISCLAIMER: I am always paralyzed by “best all-time” lists, because there are so many films warring in my brain all the time. I can do a year, even a decade, but ALL-TIME? Ugh. 

So, years ago, I decided to just change it in my head to “movies I have watched the most times in the last ___ years.” Otherwise, I would spend 90 minutes choosing which Renior film should make the list (Rules of the Game, obviously). :)

There are drawbacks to this approach, of course. (I regularly think admiringly about Boys Don’t Cry, Daughters of the Dust, and Steve McQueen’s Hunger - but they are movies that are admirably demanding, so I don’t rewatch them often.) Anyway - enough of that. Here’s my list (most watched in the last ~5 years):

Claire Denis - Beau Travail 
Roman Polanski - Chinatown (certainly a problematic choice, but was very influential on 20-year-old me, along with Taxi Driver)
Fernando Meirelles & Kátia Lund - City of God
Dario Argento - Deep Red
Krzysztof Kieślowski - Dekalog (I know, technically not a movie, but I originally saw it in a movie theater.) 
Spike Lee - Do the Right Thing 
Jordan Peele - Get Out (This basically edged out John Carpenter’s The Thing. Don’t @ me about it!)
Park Chan-wook - Oldboy
Coen Brothers - Raising Arizona 
Debra Granik - Winter’s Bone

What is one of your favorite festival moments?
On the way to an Opening Party one year, my +1 insisted that we essentially name one of the attending celebrities as our "Free Pass". I thought it was silly fun, so I named someone. 90 minutes later, I found myself having a conversation with them outside the event. I will never forget the look on my friend's face when she came out to find me....

What is your guilty pleasure film?
Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (No guilt whatsoever!)

What's one thing we should know about you that is NOT film related?
I once got drunk with Robert Plant. (OK - had a couple drinks with. Got drunk just sounds better.)

What do you consider your hometown?
Nowhere really. I grew up in a number of different places, so I don't really consider anywhere my hometown.