The Northwest's premiere film arts organization, screening art house films, teaching the next generation of filmmakers, supporting new films with grants, residencies and access to filmmaking equipment.
About This Cause
Northwest Film Forum's mission is to discover and champion the work of visionary filmmakers, and to engage the general public and artists alike in deeper exploration of the art of film. The Film Forum is Seattle’s premiere film arts organization, screening over 200 independently made and classic films annually, offering a year-round schedule of filmmaking classes (including summer camps for young people), and supporting filmmakers at all stages of their careers.
At the core of our vision is a desire to create transformative experiences in our cinemas and classrooms for filmmakers and film lovers alike, and to support emerging and working filmmakers at all stages of their careers. We continue to deepen our identity as an artist-centered film organization dedicated to nurturing, improving and championing the work of independent filmmakers, in our immediate community and beyond. Our digital age has redefined community to include people of common interests, values and frames of reference in wide geographic areas and among diverse people, and that is true of the global nature of our region, too. Technology has brought much of the world together socially and economically, and to understand this world there is an ever-increasing need for broader and better understanding of the language of our visual world. Our screenings, classes and support of artists are all aimed at deepening the public’s understanding of and mastery of the power of the moving image, in all its contexts.
Our accomplishments in 2013 balance the introduction of exciting new work with organizational change. Early in the year, the French filmmaker Valerie Massadian visited us for a residency that included making a new short film, teaching a master class, and talking with audiences about her much-admired first feature, Nana. The conversations were especially intimate and offered our patrons the chance to discover the film more personally than would be possible in a larger venue. Massadian’s class focused on how she made her film effectively in partnership with her young actor, a new way for many of our filmmakers to think about collaboration. We became Nana’s distributor, moreover, for the U.S. And, finally, the short film we commissioned and produced, called “America,” had its world premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival.
This story illustrates the myriad ways we support artists, act as an incubator of new work, offer film school experiences for young filmmakers, and introduce audiences to the best new cinema. Not all visiting filmmakers are invited to residencies, but wherever and whenever they intersect with our community the impact is personal, unique, and, at least occasionally, profound.
We were innovative: we were the first arts organization in the city to make use of crowd-sourced funding, raising $56,000 for new digital projection equipment. This allows us to stay in step with global film exhibition; we now have the technology to show motion pictures in every available format. The upgrade is part of a wider facility renovation that encompasses our marquee, lobby and classrooms in the next two years, and for which we have raised 43% of the funds we need.
The plan for renewal includes capacity growth, and in 2013 we made a number of significant hires, beginning with a new development director position. This allows us to better steward individual donors, develop relationships with more foundations, and increase the number of cultivation and fundraising events we can produce each year. It made an impact on our bottom line and on our capacity to engage and acknowledge supporters.
This fall we completed a national search for a new program director, which brought us both a new mandate for our cinemas programs and a dynamic new voice in our film exhibition program. Audiences for cinema have changed, something we had observed for a year, and - as reconceived - the position now includes different tactics and goals: more partnerships, more events, more community engagement. We see this as a considerable achievement.
In the late fall we added a youth programs manager position, which folds film exhibition and filmmaking programs for young people into the same job. Our summer filmmaking camps, which teach and nurture our youngest filmmakers, will be overseen by the same guiding hand as our largest and most successful program, our Children’s Film Festival. Children and young people, from the earliest ages to 18, will experience the world of motion pictures through a single, coherent lens.