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

Local Sightings 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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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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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

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