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Image from the film "Down River" by director Ben Ratner.

Local Sightings 2014

SEPTEMBER 25 - OCTOBER 4, 2014

Local Sightings is a showcase of new films from the Northwest that puts homegrown talent in front of Seattle audiences and connects artists from Alaska to Oregon in a celebration of film from the region. Produced every year by Northwest Film Forum, the festival features new films, parties, juried prizes and film conversation.

Screenings are only part of the story: artist talks, performances and networking events held throughout the week allow film lovers and filmmakers to explore local creativity together. In 2012, Seattle Weekly called Local Sightings the “best film festival” in Seattle.

By popular demand, we’re super-sizing the 2014 festival to 10 firecracker days of local films, as well as an expanded, week-long Seattle Film Summit. Festival 2014 focuses on our film community: the people that make this region great. From an opening night PechaKucha-style program & bash, to a new animated film paired with a coloring book happy hour, to an archival program of classic Seattle skate films on VHS, to a workshop on “botanicollage” filmmaking, to a killer closing night documentary and offsite party, Festival 2014 is full of creative connection and film discovery.

If you prefer the home-grown to the over-blown, Local Sightings is for you!

“[Northwest Film Forum is] the preeminent steward of our local film scene.” —Seattle Weekly

“The only important festival dedicated to local/regional films…Introduces audiences to the best the local scene has to offer.” —The Stranger

“an esteemed tradition. . .the favorite festival of quite a few movie enthusiasts in Seattle.” —The Seattle Times

“The film scene in the Northwest has become more prominent over the years thanks, in part, to the Northwest Film Forum. The small art house theater in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is an incubator for local talent that is getting noticed nationally. Many of these artists got their work in front of an audience for the first time at the Film Forum’s annual Local Sightings Festival” —KPLU 88.5

"There's a roughness to the Local Sightings Film Festival that makes it all the more beautiful. The Northwest Film Forum's yearly celebration of regional filmmakers eschews glitz and glamor for grit. That's not a knock on the quality of the movies on display, merely a testament to the sweat and passion that's so obviously poured into each cinematic frame. On modest budgets, these features, shorts, and documentaries showcase rising talent on the ground level and flash glimpses of even more moviemaking potential." —Seattle Met

 

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Red Renewal: Seattle's Socialist Spring

MARCH 18—MAY 1, 2014

Presented in partnership with Town Hall, ARCADE, PubliCola at Seattle Met, Tasveer, DEFA Film Library, Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington and Charles Mudede 

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”  —Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

With Red Renewal: Seattle’s Socialist Spring, Northwest Film Forum opens our cinemas for collective contemplation of the 2014 spring fever: sparked by solidarity but marked by uncertainty, as Seattleites debate what the future should hold.  

How will this new season shape the city’s political, economic, and civic landscape? What will happen to workers’ rights and wages, and where will they live in a city gripped by ever sky-rocketing rents? “Is there something in the water in Seattle” that drives the city's labor movement to the forefront of national conversations? Revitalized by newly sown seeds, but a long way off from harvest, this Spring signals a moment ripe for cinematic exploration. 

Winter 2013 in Seattle began with changes of pace, both in the weather and for workers. Hardly a raindrop fell in typically dour November, and clear skies greeted Kshama Sawant on the 15th, when she won an historic victory to become the first socialist elected to Seattle City Council in living memory. Ten days later, Washington voters passed a $15 minimum wage for SeaTac workers.

The year wound down while workers got fed up. One hundred fast food employees and supporters marched 13 miles from SeaTac to Seattle City Hall to advocate for the $15 minimum wage. Machinists battled what (now former) union president Tom Wroblewski called a “piece of crap” benefits-slashing proposal from Boeing. Moved by the machinists’ struggle, Timothy Egan forlornly postulated: "So this is how the middle class dies. Not with a bang, but with a forced [pension] squeeze."  

As 2014 dawned, Sawant decried “the reality of international capitalism” and called for “organized mass movements of workers and young people” to a thousand citizens who packed City Hall for her inauguration. The same week saw the launch of 15 Now, a coalition of community groups and unions, mobilized to make $15 wages a reality first in Seattle, then across the nation. 

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, “the sign of a rising tide” marched through the city, with many marchers bearing $15 signs to form “a sea of red” that shone in the sun. Infusing Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy with the rejuvenated fight for fair wages, former head of Seattle’s Black Panther Party chapter Aaron Dixon declared: “We got the power, we are the 99 percent.” 

During Red Renewal, community groups and citizens from across the city will host weekly screenings and discussions around films from many countries, eras and perspectives. From canonical propaganda to satirical critique, Red Renewal recasts cinema’s historical encounters with socialist themes in parallel to ongoing conversations about Seattle's economy and politics. 

Expect the shouts and songs of workers, Soviet crocodiles and Slovenian psychoanalysts, Gandhi’s teachings melded with Marx’s writings, a renegade East German and the return of Wilhem Reich, radical labors of love and public spheres—both real and virtual—primed for debate. It all begins with a screening and discussion with Kshama Sawant and Charles Mudede at Town Hall on March 18.

MARCH 18, TUESDAY AT 7:30PM
Kshama Sawant and Charles Mudede: Why Socialism, Why Now?
Presented by: Town Hall, Northwest Film Forum, and 12toRain Productions, as part of the Civics series.
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Please note: this event is held at Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Avenue at Seneca Street

Seattle has a socialist on its city council for the first time in 100 years. Kshama Sawant’s recent election raised a lot of questions around the values of the Socialist Alternative Party and her platform of raising the minimum wage to $15. She’ll join Charles Mudede, Associate Editor at The Stranger, for an exploration of socialism’s impact on the city council and why, after seeing previous socialist candidates, the city is ready for socialism now. What circumstances made the election of a socialist not only possible, but timely? Living wages and the state of labor in the Puget Sound will also be discussed. Prior to the discussion, enjoy a brief screening to kick off Northwest Film Forum’s series Red Renewal: Seattle’s Socialist Spring

"Northwest Film Forum, the city's Mecca of indie movie programming, is bringing a batch of ultra left-wing films to the screen to celebrate (and speculate) about Seattle's recent shift to the left." —PubliCola at Seattle Met 

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Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

OCTOBER 5 - 9, 2014
Co-presented with the Seattle Polish Film Festival
Sponsored by Seattle University

When Martin Scorsese traveled to Poland to accept an honorary degree from The Polish National Film, Television, and Theatre School in Łódź -- the institution that birthed the famed "Polish Film School" of the 1950's and 60's, which put Polish cinema on the map, he knew he needed to bring the great masterpieces of Polish cinema back with him. 

In the months following the visit, Scorsese chose twenty-one recently restored Polish masterpieces by directors such as Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, Andrzej Munk, Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Aleksander Ford, Krzysztof Kieslowski, and others for a North American tour. 

Northwest Film Forum and the Seattle Polish Film Festival will present seven of these Polish classics in October. Each film has been digitally re-mastered and brilliantly restored on newly subtitled DCPs. 

  • Get a series pass and see all of the Masterpieces of Polish Cinema at a discount!  $70 ($40 for Film Forum Members) >

  • Also available is the Polish Cinema All-Access Pass! Includes both Masterpieces of Polish Cinema at the Film Forum (October 5 - 9) and all screenings at the Seattle Polish Film Festival (October 10 - 19, SIFF Cinema Uptown). $100 General Admission >
     
  • We welcome director Krzysztof Zanussi in person at the Film Forum on October 9, for a screening of his film The Illumination. Read more >

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Earshot Jazz Films 2014

OCTOBER 18 - 25, 2014
Sponsored by KPLU 88.5

Every year we team up with the Earshot Jazz Festival to present films that celebrate the history, sounds and spirit of jazz on screen. This year’s series includes a new restoration of one of the first films made about graffiti, with a soundtrack that features the music of Charles Mingus, and a documentary about Rahsaan Roland Kirk, a multi-instrumentalist who overcame disability and discrimination throughout his impressive career.

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N-E-X D-O-C-S

This week-long festival showcases non-fiction films that play with form, push aesthetic boundaries, and explore subjects and ideas by stretching conventions of narrative structure and style. The films in this program experiment with the line between the world we see and the world we make. This year’s festival unearths the everyday beauty and challenge of life in rural West Virginia, the philosophical possibilities of Portuguese architecture, the transformation of an Eastern European folktale, and more. 

"This festival is very important. If you pay attention to it, you will find some of the most innovative documentaries of our times. To miss the festival is often to miss the chance of seeing these films on the big screen." —The Stranger

"Fall is the season when serious documentary contenders begin to show their hand for the Oscar nomination shortlist, e.g., this week’s Citizenfour. But a whole lot of worthwhile nonfiction filmmaking is being done without benefit of theatrical releases, HBO backing, or national publicity. This five-night, five-title documentary series samples the global zeitgeist" Seattle Weekly

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