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Local Sightings at Northwest Film Forum is Back!

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Returning tonight is the Local Sightings Film Festival, hosted every year by the Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) in Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Local Sightings gathers together and showcases new films from talents all over the Northwest (from Alaska to Oregon) for audiences, allowing them to experience the wonder of homegrown and emerging artists. NWFF Program Director Courtney Sheehan has worked hard to produce this year’s festival, which includes a number of screenings from the region’s most distinct artists. In addition, Sheehan has assembled artist talks, performances, networking events, and parties for this year’s festival, as well as the expanded and week-long Seattle Film Summit with panels on topics ranging from filming all across the West Coast to the strategy of the Washington Film Political Action Committee (PAC).

Even with so much excitement and activity going on, Sheehan kindly took the time to sit down with Washington Filmworks and discuss Local Sightings 2014’s lineup, events, and conferences.

Washington Filmworks: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat about Local Sightings 2014. This is the 17th year of Local Sightings – what does that mean for the Northwest Film Forum and the filmmaking community of the Northwest? 

Courtney Sheehan: Seventeen years ago, NWFF was known as Wiggly World –  a group of filmmakers who ran the Grand Illusion and supported local film production in whatever ways they could. The internet had not yet radicalized how people make and watch movies, and films were still shot and shown on film. Ten years ago, 16 of the films in Local Sightings were projected on 16mm film! The program for this year’s festival reflects what has changed and what has stayed the same both for Northwest filmmakers and at NWFF. While very few movies today are shot on film, more movies are being made – this year we’re showing twice as many feature films as we did ten years ago. NWFF remains a hub for community gatherings, but the content of conversation has transformed. This year’s Seattle Film Summit includes topics on the gaming industry, DIY distribution and publicity strategies for the startup era. This is also the first year Local Sightings includes a program and discussion on interactive and multi-platform work. Boundaries between media forms are blurring, opening up new opportunities for filmmakers in other fields – and new ways for organizations like NWFF to support independent film and media makers.

WF: In addition to the screenings, what exciting talks and panels can audiences anticipate this year? 

CS: The opening night puts the emphasis on the people that make up this community by introducing the filmmakers before we screen their films. Attendees will get to hear from director and producer of Bella Vista, the opening film, before it screens the following night. Speakers from the Seattle Film Summit will give a glimpse of what’s in store during their panel discussions. Director, teacher, and choreographer Dayna Hanson will share highlights from the dance film class she’s teaching this season. Then, DJ Sharlese Metcalf from KEXP’s Audioasis will be spinning on the staircase in the lobby, and the new local brewery Outer Planet will make sure everyone’s thirst is slaked.

We are also hosting a free education open house and showcase of student work recently made in classes at NWFF. People can come and talk to instructors about their upcoming classes, and even sign up on the spot. There’s also a fantastic workshop being offered during the festival with Caryn Cline. Students will learn the ‘botanicollage’ technique used by filmmakers like Stan Brakhage, which entails creating handmade film frames using local botanicals – another fun local connection. The final product from that workshop will be screened the next day alongside a program of other experimental work, including Brakhage’s – and multiple films will be shown on 16mm.

Before the closing film and party, folks can gather for a Town Hall discussion hosted by the Seattle Film Industry Caucus. It’s a great opportunity for filmmakers to recap everything that was seen and discussed during the Seattle Film Summit and festival, and to let us know how we can best support their work. Then our last big party is right around the corner at Vermillion. Vermillion owner Diana Adams’s commitment to supporting local artists has truly set the standard on Capitol Hill. Naturally, her spot is one of the last bastions of bonafide cool in the Pike/Pine corridor.

WF: What are the largest benefits of hosting this festival every year – what impact does it have on the film culture of Washington, specifically? 

CS: I recently looked back at the festival lineup from ten years ago and noticed many familiar names: Megan Griffiths, Drew Christie, Lynn Shelton, Web Crowell, Bret Fetzer. As a platform for discovery, Local Sightings actively cultivates new film culture. You can look at the programs from year to year and track the development of new filmmaking voices in the region.

Here’s a story that quite directly illustrates the impacts the role that the fest has on the production of new work in WA state. Two years ago at Local Sightings, Brian Perkins won best short for his film The Heavens. He began developing a feature and when he needed a leading man, former program director Adam Sekuler connected him with Zach Weintraub (Local Sightings was the first festival in the US to screen Weintraub’s films). Together they made a feature that is premiering in Local Sightings this year.

Another example – local filmmaker Zeek Earl was on this year’s Filmmaker Magazine list of 25 New Faces of Independent Film. I met him at a party in his honor, where he told me he used to be a Local Sightings intern! Now we’re the Seattle premiere of his latest short, Prospect.

And it’s about more than discovering individual voices. It’s also about discovering opportunities for connection within and across communities. As the only festival in Seattle dedicated entirely to local and regional film, Local Sightings is the meeting grounds for film artists and professionals to connect with their neighbors – from across I-5, and even across state and national borders. Ideally, a screenwriter learns about a new area of opportunity in the city’s thriving gaming industry. A director-writer-producer-editor at a crossroads gains some insight from hearing Megan Griffiths and Tony Fulgham share their take and experiences with balancing artistic practice with commercial work (an idea that will be explored in-depth on a panel in the Film Summit). An audience member’s heart is moved or her mind is bent or her worldview is broadened. It all starts with coming to the movie theater to discover a new film, a new experience, a new friend.

WF: Are there any exciting Washington-based filmmakers emerging this year? 

CS: Kara Schoonmaker and Anna Conser’s 30-minute Maureen is a pure surrealist magic, with exquisite set design.  Andrew Finnigan’s debut Koinonia creates an effective dystopian atmosphere with a tiny budget – it’s a true accomplishment. High schooler Abbey Sacks is definitely one to watch – her short Connie shows a grace few filmmakers strike upon so young. Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell are on Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film and their work has been strongly supported by SXSW. Arts scene fixture Greg Lundgren has made his first film, a one-take feature carried wonderfully by the performance of one non-actor.

WF: Finally, this year’s fest is going on in conjunction with the Seattle Film Summit – what can the filmmaking community expect from combination? 

CS: Each edition of the Seattle Film Summit has been held at NWFF as a partnership during Local Sightings, and this year we have deepened and expanded upon that collaboration. In addition to the main day of the Summit on Saturday the 27th, panels will be hosted throughout the festival. We have an all-star lineup of speakers and we can’t wait to unleash their expertise. We have reached farther into area media companies to bring in professionals from the design, tech, and gaming industries so filmmakers can get an even wider shot glimpse of developments in the creative industries.


We are extremely grateful to Courtney Sheehan for taking the time to share some incredible information and insight into Local Sightings 2014. The festival runs September 25th – October 4th at the Northwest Film Forum, and more information on the 10 day event is available on the festival’s website.


csheehan-199x300About Courtney Sheehan, Northwest Film Forum Program Director: Courtney Sheehan is program director for Northwest Film Forum. She has curated film programs and produced events for theaters and festivals on three continents. On a year-long Watson Fellowship, Courtney investigated the organizational structures, community roles, and programming strategies of twenty film festivals and media centers in India, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia. As a journalist, Courtney has covered film events ranging from the world’s largest documentary festival (IDFA in Amsterdam) to South America’s largest animation festival (Anima Mundi in Rio de Janeiro) and her publications include Bitch Magazine, Senses of Cinema, The Independent, and NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies.

Commercialize Seattle Hits the Weights

New Latest Work

Congratulations to Mike Folden Productions, a production company based in Seattle. They are now featured in the Latest Work section of Commercialize Seattle. This business development campaign is designed to drive production and advertising to the region and the Latest Work section of the Commercialize Seattle website showcases some of the very best commercial work coming out of Seattle and Washington State.


Mike Folden Productions

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Agency or Production Company: Mike Folden Productions
Commercial: Who I Was
Company Website: www.mikefolden.com

Explain yourself, Mike Folden Productions: I think of what I do as creative consulting. Ultimately, people come to me with a problem and I help them figure out how to solve it using creativity. The product happens to be video but often I see stories that the client doesn’t even know exist within their own organization. I help bring out those stories and bring them to life.


Why Should You Submit New Work?

When we’re out selling the region as one of the best places in the world to make commercials, we point people to the Latest Work section on the Commercialize Seattle website to show them what we can do here! The campaign highlights locally made commercials and is a hub where brands and agencies look to find great talent. Local production companies and ad agencies should register and learn more.

We frequently showcase new work, so get registered and submit. Then we can show you off to the world. Remember, advertising is the best thing any of us can do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIFF’s Women in Cinema Festival Kicks Off Tonight!

Keira Knightley and Chloë Grace Moretz star in Lynn Shelton's locally shot feature.

Keira Knightley and Chloë Grace Moretz star in Lynn Shelton’s locally shot feature.

The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) welcomes back their annual mini-festival, Women in Cinema! The program kicks off tonight at the newly renovated SIFF Cinema Egyptian on Capitol Hill. Audiences are thrilled, curious, and excited about this year’s lineup – especially Beth Barrett, SIFF’s Programming Director who helped select the films.

“I’m excited about all the films, but of course Lynn Shelton’s new film Laggies is a high point,” Barrett says. Shelton’s new film, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and just screened again at the Toronto International Film Festival, tells the story of a young woman (Keira Knightley, in a rare non-period piece role) whose life becomes complicated after deflecting her boyfriend’s proposal and opting to hang out with a group of teenagers (led by Chloë Grace Moretz) instead. The film, which shot in and around the Seattle area last summer, received funding assistance from Washington Filmworks. Tonight will be the official Seattle premiere for this local gem, which is sure to kick the festival off with emerald pride.

Although Laggies is a slice of Seattle life, Barrett adds that Women in Cinema “is a really international festival,” noting that the lineup includes films from the Philippines, Norway, Argentina, Germany, and Denmark. In addition, the program has a selection of strong documentaries like The Last HuntMisconception, and Stray Dogs (from Debra Granik, the filmmaker behind Winter’s Bone), and audiences can expect an outstanding four days. “Seattle audiences are very smart about the films they watch,” Barrett notes, “and the Women in Cinema films will entertain, challenge and inform. They’re slices of what is happening right now in cinema around the world, that happen to be made by women.”

However celebratory the festival is, there seems to be the underlying reminder that there’s still a ways to go regarding female representation behind the camera.

“I wish that there was not a need to put on a festival specifically of films made by women – instead it would be great if there were gender equity in film,” adds Barrett, “The truth is that women filmmakers are still very much in the minority, and by bringing this festival to Seattle, we are given both a chance to celebrate great films and to support women working in the field. It is always a pleasure to engage with great film and with eight filmmakers here for the weekend, [it’s] a great chance to meet a diverse group of filmmakers.”

And in order to make it happen, Barrett is pleased to have two solid partnerships by her side.

“Once again, we are working with Women in Film Seattle to present a panel about making great film on Sunday (9/21) morning, and this year, we’re working with NFFTY (National Film Festival for Talented youth) to spotlight young women filmmakers – the next generation!”

Celebrating the work and women of film today and tomorrow, SIFF’s Women in Cinema Festival is sure to be an enjoyable and enlightening four days of cinematic bliss.

SIFF’s Women in Cinema Festival runs from September 18th-21st. It kicks off with Lynn Shelton’s Laggies at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian tonight, and runs all weekend long with screenings at the SIFF Cinema Uptown. To see the schedule and find out more information, visit the festival’s page

Check out the official festival trailer:

 

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About Beth Barrett, SIFF Director of Programming: Beth has worked for SIFF in the Publications and Programming Departments since 2003. She is responsible for managing all aspects of film programming, the staff of film programmers, and securing films and guests for the Festival. Beth is also instrumental in the programming and management of SIFF Cinema and SIFF’s other year-round programs. An aficionado of short films, she secured SIFF’s status as an Academy Award® qualifying festival in 2008. Beth has been in Seattle for over 20 years and holds an MA in Northern Renaissance Art History.

NFFTY Now Accepting Submissions for 2015 Festival!

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Approaching its ninth annual festival, NFFTY (National Film Festival for Talented Youth) is now accepting submissions for its upcoming 2015 festival!

Todd Kaumans, the festival’s Program Manager, recounts how NFFTY 2014 attendance was over 12,000 (in four days!) and featured 214 films representing 30 states and 15 countries. This year, the festival anticipates 1,000+ submissions from young filmmakers from all over the world.

The deadlines for submissions are as followed:

  • Early Deadline – October 31
  • Mid Deadline – December 1
  • Regular Deadline – January 5
  • Late Deadline – January 26

It’s also worth reporting that NFFTY not only displays amazing talent, but produces it as well – NFFTY Creative is the organization’s original content production arm that makes material for brand name clients and sponsors. In return, NFFTY alumni are given the opportunity to work on these larger paid projects and make significant connections. Any filmmaker selected for NFFTY ’15 will be in consideration for these exciting projects.

Read more about NFFTY’s upcoming 2015 festival in their press release, including their tackling of gender inequality in the industry.

NFFTY runs from April 23-26, 2015 in Seattle if you want to check out the young and emerging voices of the filmmaking community!


You can submit an entry online via FilmFreeway and get more information regarding submissions here.

For more information, follow NFFTY on Facebook and Twitter!

Celebrate the Premiere of Series Z NATION with a Glimpse of its Local Cast

Photo courtesy of Oliver Irwin

Photo courtesy of Oliver Irwin

Z Nation, a project incentivized and supported by Washington Filmworks (WF), is set to premiere on the Syfy Channel tonight at 10/9c. The zombie-thriller series has garnered national buzz and quite a bit of local interest, given the project’s funding assistance by WF and its summer shoot in Spokane. In anticipation of its premiere, George Riddell over at Media Inc. has an article featured about the assemblage of its cast – although the show includes Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do!) and Harold Perrineau (Zero Dark Thirty, Lost), it also stars a trio of Washington-based actors in lead roles. Pisay Pao, Nat Zang, and Russell Hodgkinson are the series regulars representing the Evergreen State. Take a look at Riddell’s piece to become familiar with these local actors and see how Washington continues to breed some serious onscreen talent.

Also, here’s a peak at the filmed-in-WA sci-fi series:

Commercialize Seattle Goes for a Drive

New Latest Work

Congratulations to Kontent Partners, a production company based in Seattle. They are now featured in the Latest Work section of Commercialize Seattle. This business development campaign is designed to drive production and advertising to the region and the Latest Work section of the Commercialize Seattle website showcases some of the very best commercial work coming out of Seattle and Washington State.


Kontent Partners

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Agency or Production Company: Kontent Partners
Commercial: BMW + Graypants
Company Websitewww.kontentpartners.com

Explain yourself, Kontent Partners: Rooted in our passion for design, we are storytellers driven to craft compelling brand stories and memorable experiences for our clients. We focus on creative concepts and creative direction, film and photography production, and integrated campaigns (shoots that require creative, still photography and post).


Why Should You Submit New Work?

When we’re out selling the region as one of the best places in the world to make commercials, we point people to the Latest Work section on the Commercialize Seattle website to show them what we can do here! The campaign highlights locally made commercials and is a hub where brands and agencies look to find great talent. Local production companies and ad agencies should register and learn more.

We frequently showcase new work, so get registered and submit. Then we can show you off to the world. Remember, advertising is the best thing any of us can do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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