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Seattle International Film Festival to Open With ‘Thelma’; June Squibb Honored With Golden Space Needle Award

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The 50th Seattle International Film Festival will open with action comedy “Thelma” from writer and director Josh Margolin and Magnolia Pictures on May 9.  The film’s lead, June Squibb, will also be honored with the 2024 Golden Space Needle Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cinema.

“Thelma,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year, follows 93-year-old Thelma Post (Squibb) as she sets out on a quest to reclaim what was taken from her after being duped by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson. The film explores aging, family and autonomy based on a real-life experience of Margolin’s grandmother and marks Squibb’s first leading film role.

“SIFF is ecstatic to celebrate June Squibb’s work by presenting her with the 2024 Seattle International Film Festival’s Golden Space Needle Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema,” said Beth Barrett, artistic director of SIFF. “Over her decades-long career, Squibb has cultivated exceptional skill in her craft. Her magnetism and charisma shines through her many memorable roles and her work in ‘Thelma’ is no exception.”

Beginning in 1976 with the annual festival that then expanded into year-round programming, SIFF is a cultural arts organization whose mission is to create experiences that bring people together to discover films from around the world.

Writer and director Josh Margolin will also be in attendance and participate in a Q&A after the screening along with Squibb and “Thelma” producers Zoë Worth and Chris Kaye. A tribute event honoring June Squibb, including a conversation moderated by Variety‘s Jenelle Riley and questions from the audience, will be held May 11 at SIFF Cinema Downtown, preceded by an honoree brunch with Squibb.

The Seattle International Film Festival runs May 9-19.