** COVID-19 UPDATE: Local Sightings Film Festival will take place in September as scheduled, most likely as a hybrid fest. We will host in-person events to the best of our ability given public health recommendations. Community, dialogue, and education through media arts WILL persist, during Local Sightings' 25th 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 and feature film programs, Local Sightings 2022 invites regional artists to experiment, break, and remake popular conceptions around filmmaking and film exhibition.

The 2021 edition of the festival featured 132 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 2022 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 rana@nwfilmforum.org for details.

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

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 programming team.

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 welcome.

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.

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.

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

Local Sightings will inform all entrants no later than August 15 whether their film has been selected for the Festival.

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

Films must be sent to us as H.264 files for online screening. Additional format options available for in-person screenings of feature films.

If your film has subtitles and/or captions available, please provide these as a .srt or .vtt file (if you prefer them burned in, that is fine!). If your film does not have captions, we will offer you resources to create an accessible experience for online audiences.

Please direct all submissions inquiries to localsightings@nwfilmforum.org

Overall Rating
  • A cozy, inviting, and boundary pushing festival that really puts its filmmakers front and center. The NWFF team has never not been a wonderful community of vibrant and passionate people, and it truly shows through the films they select and the conversations they inspire.

    January 2022
  • Fantastic festival in Seattle - really happy to be part of it and look forward to submitting some more work in the future.

    December 2021
  • Was awesome to screen our short locally and with an audience. Great communication. The only issue I'd say is the actual technical presentation - as there were some pretty noticeable and glaring color issues with the screen, leading to a less than optimal version of the shorts being shown

    November 2021
  • The Festival was exciting, I got to network with the facilitators and I met people who were genuinely excited to see my film. It was my first screening so I hadn't an idea what to expect, but my mind was blown away.

    November 2021
  • Loved the variety of films and the support for filmmakers!

    October 2021