Shelby Smout | Social Media Manager | Friday, August 11, 2023


Your school syllabus is here, and it lists SIFFRAFF's required watching. Sure, not all of these films are classics, but they're beloved for many nostalgic reasons, and we hope you too will value them as works of art.

SIFF's BACK2SCHOOL series is in session August 25-31 at the Egyptian. Tickets and passes are on sale now.

View the whole selection on our Letterboxd.

Back to the Future 1985

Back to the Future (1985)

"According to Einstein’s theories, Time Travel is entirely possible. Dr. Emmet Brown has made considerable advancements in the field via his proprietary 'flux capacitor.' Students can expect supplemental lectures on paradoxes and alternate timelines. Teaching assistant Mary McFly will be available throughout this course to mentor students. Midterm will coincide with the Enchantment Under the Sea dance." —Picked by Professor Dan Doody, Festival Programmer

Bend It Like Beckham 2002

Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

"It has nothing to do with school, but I saw this in theaters as a fifth or sixth grader, and it became an important film to my pre-pubescent self. This film was more famous to me than Mr. Posh Spice." —Picked by Shelby Smout, Social Media Manager

The Class 2008

The Class (2008)

“Having been a public educator for over a decade, I always appreciate movies about school and teaching that feel authentic. And in that regard, The Class is in a class of its own.” —Picked by Trevor Brandt, Cinema Projectionist

Clueless 1995

Clueless (1995)

"One of my favorite movies of all time. Campy and delightful, fresh and endlessly quotable." —Picked by Kimberly Dinehart, Festival Programmer

Dazed and Confused 1993

Dazed and Confused (1993)

"This movie is so far from my high school experience that it is fascinating to me." —Picked by Kimberly Dinehart, Festival Programmer

"Because of Parker Posey's cool-ass Daria." —Picked by SuJ'n Chon, Festival Programmer

"Also loved Dazed and Confused. It was just like my high school experience: we just drove around going house to house, going to the city center in my small town (in my case to McDonald's and Hollywood Video), having some beers and other mayhem. Just like the movie, we basically did nothing and at the same time sooooo much." —Picked by Joel Feldman, Associate Director of Sponsorship Sales

Picked by Darcy Wytko, Festival Programmer

Dead Poets Society 1989

Dead Poets Society (1989)

"Because of Robin Williams' edifying John Keating." —Picked by SuJ'n Chon, Festival Programmer

Eighth Grade 2018

Eighth Grade (2018)

"Elsie Fisher knocks it out of the park as an awkward middle schooler. So relatable. My heart melts every time she says 'Gucci.'" —Picked by Darcy Wytko, Festival Programmer

"Because of Elsie Fisher's painfully relatable Kayla." —Picked by SuJ'n Chon, Festival Programmer

Lady Bird 2017

Lady Bird (2017)

"Like everyone who saw this film, I felt seen. I had attended a religious private school, I had wanted to dye my hair blue (after watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) but couldn't because of school rules, and my dream was to go to college in New York City.

"I'm not much of a crier, but I sobbed as soon as the credits rolled—it's one of two movies to make me weep." —Picked by Shelby Smout, Social Media Manager

Picked by Darcy Wytko, Festival Programmer

Phenomena 1985

Phenomena (1985)

"Nothing better to dispel your halcyon dreams of boarding schools fueled by all those Orphan Novels you read growing up (just me?). In the verdant Swiss Alps, Jennifer Connelly tangles with murder, school politics, insect-based ESP, Donald Pleasance, and a chimpanzee." —Picked by Caroline Beston, Office Manager

Rushmore 1998

Rushmore (1998)

"I would pay a million dollars to see Max Fischer's full stage play of Serpico. Still my favorite Wes Anderson film." —Picked by Darcy Wytko, Festival Programmer

Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior 2006

Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior (2006)

"An all Asian cast in a Disney Channel Original Movie !? This was the very first time I ever saw representation like this, and it has stayed with me ever since! I can't justify the...liberties this film takes with Chinese lore or the wacky-ass script, but 11 yr old me just wasn't thinking about that. So what if ancient spirits take over the gym teacher and principal to teach kung-fu!? Brenda Song kicks ass and I cry every time at the end of this! Sue me!" —Picked by Kasi Gaarenstroom, Cinema Program Manager

  • Date: August 11, 2023
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