In its 22nd year, Northwest Film Forum’s annual Local Sightings Film Festival evolves to showcase the growing complexity of creative communities in the Pacific Northwest. Featuring a competitive selection of curated shorts and feature film programs, Local Sightings 2019 invites regional artists to experiment, break, and remake popular conceptions around filmmaking and film exhibition. Moving onto FilmFreeway for the first time, Local Sightings will also accept 360 video and VR180 projects this year.

The 2018 edition of the festival featured 75 shorts, features, web series, music videos, and VR projects, incorporating a wide range of stories, perspectives, and approaches to filmmaking, as well as achieving gender parity. 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. 2019’s edition will invite additional expertise from local collaborators, such as: Engauge Experimental Film Festival, who will curate the festival’s experimental programs; Cadence: Video Poetry Festival and Velocity Dance Center’s Strictly Seattle Dance Film Track, with works generated on-site at NWFF; and numerous others to be announced.

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.
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ABOUT NORTHWEST FILM FORUM
An independent film and arts nonprofit located in Seattle, 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. 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 productions based in these states. Local Sightings does not require festival premiere status, though it is encouraged.

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 July 31st whether their film has been selected for the Festival.

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.

FILE FORMATS
NWFF is able to screen feature films in a wide range of formats: 35mm, BetaSp-NTSC, DVD, DigiBeta (NTSC), Blu-ray, and Quicktime H.264 files. DCP is accepted for feature films only and must be accompanied by a DVD backup. Short films must be sent to us as Quicktime H.264 files. Initial review copies can be submitted over Local Sightings.

FILM LENGTHS
Short films in all categories fall under 40 minutes; anything above that length would qualify as a feature film.

Please send physical mailings to:

Local Sightings
Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Ave
Seattle, WA, 98122

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

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • As a native Seattleite I knew that the NWFF offered outstanding resources to filmmakers. Although, I thought that my films were not of a high enough caliber yet to ask for guidance. After attending every day of the Local Sightings Film Festival, I began to realize the reason that my films were not at the level that I wanted them to be was because I should have reached out the NWFF sooner.

    Initially I thought of the NWFF as a hub for elite local filmmakers and Hollywood guests, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Never before have I felt so welcomed by a festival. I watched more films and went to more incredibly helpful workshops than I have ever been to in my life and it was both insightful and a total blast.

    The Pacific North West is lucky to have a non-profit institution so focused on uplifting local artists and giving us access to films that never make it to main-stream cinemas, but need to be seen. Thank you for everything you do NWFF.

    October 2019
  • Katrina Brede

    I had a wonderful time with my film at Local Sightings Film Festival. The NWFF team did an excellent job of finding really unique creations from the Northwest and programming a diverse offering. The hospitality was spectacular and it was evident that NWFF is proud of what NW filmmakers have to offer. I would certainly submit to this festival again in the future!

    October 2019
  • Aimie Vallat

    I really enjoyed our screening at Local Sightings FF, which highlighted some fantastic PNW based stories. We were lucky to have a robust post screening conversation with all the filmmakers in attendance plus a wonderfully moderated conversation by the wonderful ED of NWFF. I felt fortunate to connect with the other filmmakers in attendance and also to have such an engaged audience. I highly recommend this festival not only for its excellent programming and networking but for bringing out the very best of our Northwest community. Thank you!

    October 2019
  • Kameko Thomas

    This was my FIRST film festival in which I was a participant, and not an attendee, and let me state for the record that I had the most AMAZING experience! Vivian, Rana, and Chris really practice what they preach, when it comes to amplifying voices typically left out of the larger creative conversation.

    The number of people who walked up to me, genuinely surprised by the fact there was such an active Veterans Service Organization that was ALSO racially and gender-diverse was an added bonus, and cemented my commitment to telling the stories of those who often don't have anyone telling their stories.

    I strongly recommend that any NW filmmaker looking to make a splash on the festival circuit start with Local Sightings. It's an experience that will leave you even BETTER than you were, before.

    October 2019
  • I had a great experience attending Local Sightings Film Festival in Seattle, A great venue in the Seattle film community to screen my film. Met some other local filmmakers who were in attendance, and enjoyed my time there. Thanks Local Sightings Film Fest!

    October 2019