West Seattle filmmaker presenting award-winning ‘Ultimate Citizens’ at SIFF

That’s the trailer for “Ultimate Citizens,” a documentary by West Seattle filmmaker Francine Strickwerda, which she describes as “a 52-minute gem of a doc about an Iranian American primary school counselor and ultra-athlete who helps refugee and immigrant kids in Seattle find belonging on their way to compete in the world’s largest Ultimate Frisbee tournament. The doc is ‘kid appropriate’ and seriously fun.” It’s already won awards on the road to its upcoming screenings at SIFF (the Seattle International Film Festival), on 12:30 pm May 12 and 4 pm May 14 (at SIFF Cinema Uptown on Queen Anne). More about the movie, from the news release sent to us:

While set in the worlds of primary-school education and athletics, ULTIMATE CITIZENS offers a fresh and compelling perspective on the immigrant experience in the U.S. Far removed from contentious media headlines are families who settle quietly, labor long hours, and find their way into the American Dream. The U.S. provided (69-year-old Jamshid Khajavi) safe refuge from the political turmoil in Iran that marked the late 1970s; in return, his contributions to the Seattle community have benefitted generations of kids, making the city and society at large better off.

A broader narrative of the film is the role that teachers, school counselors, coaches, and administrators play as extended family members for many students and parents, especially when parents must work multiple jobs or odd hours to make ends meet.

ULTIMATE CITIZENS is a captivating blend of bright colors, artful editing, and candid verité moments. Tender familial and community scenes are interwoven with the underlying tournament narrative in a film that culminates in the thrill of the “big game” with Khajavi’s underdog team competing against teams from wealthier, better-funded athletic programs.

This is filmmaker Strickwerda’s third documentary (we reported on “Oil and Water back in 2010). She is co-proprietor of the West Seattle-based creative-video agency Hullabaloo. Tickets to her film’s SIFF screenings are available via SIFF.net.

4 Replies to "West Seattle filmmaker presenting award-winning 'Ultimate Citizens' at SIFF"

  • sura May 5, 2024 (5:43 pm)

    This is a fabulous film! Fun, beautiful, exciting, inspiring! Way to go, Francine!!

  • Suzanne May 6, 2024 (7:45 am)

    This trailer is absolutely phenomenal. Really looking forward to seeing the documentary! 

  • Keri May 6, 2024 (11:18 pm)

    Highly recommend this film. It’s very good and the amazing human that is the focus of the film, Jamshid, will restore your faith in humanity. 

  • Cynthia Trabold May 7, 2024 (10:47 am)

    Wow! I am so proud of Strickwerda , Jamshid, Kids, Crew, Story & Location!  The trailer gave me chills, can’t wait to see your film on the big screen. ULTIMATE CITIZENS is the perfect title. Ultimate Inspiration, Ultimate People. Incredible.  Cheers, Cynthia 

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