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 Hunt, Misconception, 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:
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.
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!
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:
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.
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!
Washington Filmworks (WF) uses our Location of the Month newsletters to showcase the diversity of unique looks and resources for production in a number of jurisdictions around Washington State. Find previous installments archived on our website and on the WF Blog.
City of Shelton – September 2014
Shelton’s weather is mild with dry warm summers and gentle winters. Some cloud cover with calm or moderate wind is typical and precipitation – most often light rain – is expected most days Fall through Spring.
January – High 44.5 F, Low 33.1 F
July – High 77.1 F, Low 52.3 F
January Rainfall – 10.47 inches
July Rainfall – 0.94 inches
Western Regional Climate Center
Projects Filmed in Shelton
- Kia (2013)
- Top Gear (2013)
Key Locations of Interest
- Allyn Historic Church
- Colonial House
- Dalby Water Wheel
- High Steel Bridge
- Hope Island
- Jarrell’s Cove Marina/Park
- Lake Cushman Rock
- Mason County Courthouse
- McCreavy House
- Mel’s River Bottom Property
- Old Restore Building
- Simpson John’s Prairie
- Skokomish Valley
- Twanoh State Park
- Union Landing
Relevant Contact Information
- Local Film Liaison - Heidi McCutcheon, Executive Director, Shelton-Mason County Chamber of Commerce,(360) 426-2021,email@example.com
- Agency that issues permits and costs - Vicki Look, City of Shelton, (360) 426-4491, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Police or Sheriff’s Department or agency that handles traffic control:
Closest Large Washington Airport
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is 73 miles from Shelton
Closest Large Cities in Washington
- Olympia is 22 miles from Shelton
- Seattle is 82 miles from Shelton
A list of accommodations are available online at: explorehoodcanal.com
Now in its 11th year running, STIFF rebranded itself as the Seattle Transmedia & Independent Film Festival this year. Formerly known as the Seattle True Independent Film Festival, STIFF has refocused itself to better accommodate the trends that the festival’s organizers have seen among filmmakers and content creators. According to an August 4 press release, the festival will now include alternate and emerging forms of storytelling that often lack a forum for display.
“We are always questioning our relevance as a film festival,” said Tim Vernor, Executive Director of STIFF. “How can we serve the community of independent filmmakers and bring engaging content to our audience? We see transmedia as the best way for independent filmmakers to become and remain relevant.”
Filmmakers and content creators can submit works to 18 categories, including conventional formats (short, feature, documentary, animation), the unusual (fan fiction, experimental), or new formats (emerging technology, new media, video game). All submitting filmmakers and artists will receive a festival pass, regardless of whether or not their work is selected.
Vernor said they decided to keep “film” in the name because they wanted the local film community to feel comfortable and to know they will still be a big part of the festival.
“We are getting great feedback from filmmakers already working in or planning on incorporating transmedia into their projects but the communities that are working in experimental film, web series, new media and emerging technologies have been the most supportive,” Vernor said.
According to their press release, STIFF will feature sit-down cinema presentations of features, documentaries, and shorts packages, as well as transmedia projects in gallery space, at interactive play centers and during festival parties and networking events.
When asked about what sorts of submissions they’re seeing, Vernor said, “we’re seeing some great performance-based art that incorporates video and music in a very unique way that we would like to highlight this year.”
He also said they’ve found a great documentary film created for the oculus rift, a virtual reality headset for 3D gaming, that they plan to bring to Seattle for the festival. This YouTube video explains more about that project.
“Transmedia is the kind of thing that you can go from not understanding what it means to seeing it all around you as soon as you open your eyes to it,” Vernor said.
Vernor said the festival’s organizers thought about making this switch for about a year before they actually committed to it. They had noticed that many filmmakers felt constrained by the short film/feature film format. They’d also noticed filmmakers using transmedia platforms to engage their audiences for fundraising and to create demand before creating feature films.
Vernor had a few words of advise for filmmakers looking to submit, “make sure your story is the highlight of your film,” he said. “High production value and great performances are very relevant, but if your story is not solid your film will suffer. Don’t just show your script to friends, find someone that can be critical and be open about making changes.”
He also encouraged local content creators to feel empowered to reach out to STIFF staff. “Introduce yourself at the monthly FMI Happy Hour (one of us is always there), invite us to your cast and crew screening, attend our free monthly screenings at Lucid Lounge, follow us on Twitter. We also need more screeners and you can make a difference by watching the submitted films and giving us your honest opinion to help us make selections for the festival.”
The 2015 Seattle Transmedia & Independent Film Festival will take place from May 1 – 9 in Seattle’s University District.
For further information or to submit a film, webisode, app, or multi-platform interactive narrative to STIFF 2015, visit http://trueindependent.org/stiff/submit/.
By Brad Wilke
As an independent content creator (or filmmaker, if you’re old school), it’s imperative that you own your audience. Gone are the days when you can rely on a distributor, film festival, or aggregator to do the work of building awareness, selling tickets, or getting people to care about what you made.
And that’s the good news.
With the tools and resources available today, there’s never been a better time to launch a career as an independent filmmaker. It could be as easy as picking up your phone, grabbing a few friends, and spending a weekend shooting a feature film. You could also take the time to develop the script, plan the shoot, and rehearse the actors beforehand in hopes of making something that stands out from the crowd. And it’s the same with your digital strategy.
Most filmmakers don’t launch their film’s digital strategy until they begin to prep for their festival premiere, which is much too late for it to have any real impact. Savvy filmmakers get started in pre-production, and their strategy includes objectives and key metrics that connect their engagement efforts with their overall goals for both the film as well as their burgeoning filmmaking careers.
Your objectives should include words like “increase,” “establish,” and “engage,” and your key metrics should focus on rates, not raw numbers. For instance, engagement rate trumps post “likes,” and audience growth rate is a better indicator of success than total page likes.
There’s a big difference between community management (which typically includes updating channels and responding to comments) and digital strategy, which connects your community management tactics with your overall film (and career) goals. One without the other can only get you so far; you need both to be successful.
Of course, something is better than nothing, but if you’re willing to take the time to build an audience via a value-added digital strategy that not only promotes your film, but participates in the broader #indiefilm conversations, you’ll find, over time, that you’ve created a sustainable audience base from which to launch new projects, monetize finished ones, and support the work of fellow filmmakers.
About Brad Wilke:
Brad Wilke (@jbwilke) is an award-winning filmmaker, produced feature-length screenwriter, and film programmer for the Seattle International Film Festival. Brad holds an MBA from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, as well as a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the UW.
About Smarthouse Creative:
Smarthouse Creative is a full-service publicity and digital strategy agency that works with independent content creators (and organizations that support them) to amplify and promote good work to appreciative and engaged audiences. Team Smarthouse is Ryan Davis, Jessica Marx, and Brad Wilke.