** COVID-19 UPDATE: As the state of film exhibition and physical gathering remains uncertain during the pandemic, Local Sightings Film Festival will take place in September as scheduled, though most likely primarily in virtual space. We will host in-person events to the best of our ability given public health recommendations, but it cannot be guaranteed. Regardless, whether we gather online, in-person, or some hybrid variation of the two, community, dialogue, and education through media arts WILL persist, during Local Sightings' 24th year serving the Pacific NW filmmaking community! **

Northwest Film Forum’s annual Local Sightings Film Festival showcases the growing complexity of creative communities in the Pacific Northwest. Featuring a competitive selection of curated shorts, feature film programs, 360 video and VR180 projects, Local Sightings 2021 invites regional artists to experiment, break, and remake popular conceptions around filmmaking and film exhibition.

The 2020 edition of the festival featured 135 shorts, features, web series, and music videos, incorporating a wide range of stories, perspectives, and approaches to filmmaking. Past festival successes have included animated GIF storytelling, interactive site-specific video installations, virtual reality dance films, and educational offerings, including the region’s first-ever Sundance Institute Artist Services Workshop.

Working in conjunction with Pacific Northwest film centers and community partners, Local Sightings will use screenings, panels, workshops, performances and more to encourage critical discourse around the medium, with an eye towards a regional elevation of the industry. The 2021 edition will again invite additional expertise from local collaborators.

NOTE: A limited number of waiver codes are available to those from communities that have historically lacked access or equitable representation in media. Please contact vivian@nwfilmforum.org for details.

Image: "Face to Face" (Christian Krantz, Portland, OR)

ABOUT NORTHWEST FILM FORUM
Founded in Seattle in 1995 as an independent film and arts nonprofit, Northwest Film Forum incites public dialogue and creative action through collective cinematic experiences. Each year the Forum presents hundreds of films, festivals, community events, multidisciplinary performances, and public discussions. As a comprehensive visual media organization, the Forum offers educational workshops and artist services for film and media makers at all stages of their development. More information is available at nwfilmforum.org.

Local Sightings invites local and national judges to choose award-winning shorts and feature programs via a competitive selection process. Prizes awarded to filmmakers include cash grants, screening opportunities, production and post-production services, gear access, and other industry perks. Not all films are eligible for competition; initial pool of eligible submissions is selected by NWFF staff.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
All types of moving image media are eligible; projects must be finished within 18 months from start date of the festival, and the filmmaker(s) must live in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia, or the Yukon Territories) or have had the majority of their production (over 50%) based in these states. Local Sightings does not require festival premiere status, though it is encouraged.

NOTE: Please complete all required questions, as your form will not submit if any fields are left blank. If something does not apply, write N/A.

COMPETITION PROCESS
Local Sightings invites local and national judges to choose award-winning shorts and feature programs via a competitive selection process. Prizes awarded to filmmakers include cash grants, screening opportunities, production and post-production services, gear access, and other industry perks. Not all films are eligible for competition; initial pool of eligible submissions is selected by NWFF staff.

FESTIVAL FEES
Please be aware that submission fees help NWFF cover fees associated with screening, programming, and exhibiting Local Sightings. Your nominal submission fee helps us support our continued work in presenting the best regional films to our community.

NOTIFICATION ANNOUNCEMENT
Local Sightings will inform all entrants no later than August 16th whether their film has been selected for the Festival.

FILE FORMATS
Films must be sent to us as Quicktime H.264 files.

VR SUBMISSIONS
360 video and VR180 projects that are narrative, documentary, or experimental (including music videos) and under 10 minutes in length will be accepted. Minimum preferred resolution is 2K. If you are interested in submitting a VR piece that falls outside of these parameters, please send a message to localsightings@nwfilmforum.org; a select number of interactive VR pieces will be independently accepted and solicited due to technical requirements.

FILM LENGTHS
Short films in all categories fall under 30 minutes; anything above that length would qualify as a feature film.

QUESTIONS & COMMENTS
Please direct all submissions inquiries to localsightings@nwfilmforum.org

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Christy Anna Wu

    Local Sightings 2020 was a wonderful virtual festival experience! Great communication, engaging conversations, and talented filmmakers. Thank you to the organizers, Rana and Vivian at Northwest Film Forum, for putting on this fantastic event!

    October 2020
  • Lyr Casper

    Especially given the online festival format this year, NWFF truly knocked it out of the park! The festival was impeccably programmed with a diverse variety of live-streamed and on-demand viewing options as well as interactive elements, and NWFF staff were so communicative at every step. The live Q&A I participated in was super engaging and thoughtful, and Rana made everyone feel genuinely appreciated. This was my first-ever festival screening and I feel so lucky to have debuted Rotten Fruit in such a welcoming and inspiring environment!

    October 2020
  • Literate Animals

    Awesome festival! Great communication and really nice online presentation.

    October 2020
  • The online festival in 2020 was a festival beyond my wildest dreams. The communication was phenomenal. The online screenings and live streams were exquisitely put together. The Q&A moderation was fun, personal, inquisitive, and made each participant feel so uniquely important. I cannot say enough about this festival. They are true film lovers with great taste and a focus on PNW filmmakers. Plus, the graphic design for the whole fest was hype! What a dream of an experience.

    October 2020
  • Roland Dahwen

    The Northwest Film Forum and Local Sightings Film Festival were wonderful through and through – thank you so much !

    September 2020