Submissions Now Open for 2019
Submit your film early for the lowest rates and early bird acceptance qualification!
In 2018 we screened over 125 Films, music videos, web series and transmedia projects.
STIFF serves up a potent blend of truly indie film and transmedia storytelling - we screen films in a theatrical environment and present an emerging media program in our Transmedia Gallery - plus panels, networking opportunities, wild parties, and after-hours shenanigans. Local filmmakers are invited to our annual Film Festival Bootcamp 3 weeks in advance of the festival to help prepare them to build their audience, create meaningful connections and have a fun time at our events. Festival organizers strive to put on a first-rate, smoothly run event and to provide opportunities to help digital storytellers attain their goals, gain distribution, press, and a wider audience for their projects. Artists in eight categories will be honored and take home a "STIFFY" award.
Categories are set up so you know the types of films and projects we are looking for, If your project fits into more than one please do not get caught up in deciding which is the correct category. Just submit and our team will make a decision on the best place to put it into our program if accepted.
Narrative Short Film- Fiction, creative non-fiction, fictionalized accounts of historical events etc with a runtime under 45 minutes.
Narrative Feature Film- Fiction, creative non-fiction, fictionalized accounts of historical events etc with a runtime greater than 45 minutes.
Non Fiction film intended to document some aspect of reality with a runtime greater than 45 minutes. Seattle Audiences Love documentaries. Our Documentary Programmer likes to create a program with a diverse range of experiences including Human Rights, Adventure, Biopic, Environmental, Consumerism, Experimental,Food, Travel, Politics and More. In Seattle Controversy SELLS! If you have a Doc you think most festivals would be 'Afraid' to program then please submit it to us.
Non Fiction film intended to document some aspect of reality with a runtime under 45 minutes. Seattle Audiences Love documentaries. Our Documentary Programmer likes to create a program with a diverse range of experiences including Human Rights, Adventure, Biopic, Environmental, Consumerism, Experimental, Food, Travel, Politics and More. In Seattle Controversy SELLS! If you have a Doc you think most festivals would be 'Afraid' to program then please submit it to us.
Storytelling using non-traditional narrative, filming techniques, editing and sound. We still want Experimental films to have a narrative. If your film has no narrative please use the Video Art category
Web Series Episode
Web Series/TV Show/Pilot- Film/Video that is designed to be part of an episodic series. Please only submit one episode that you feel best represents your web series/TV show.
Animated Short Film
Short films that are created using traditional and or digital techniques including stop motion and films that also contain live action where the animation is crucial to the story.
Comics created with a computer or created using traditional methods and scanned to be distributed digitally.
We are looking for games with a strong narrative. Please submit a 2-5 minute video where you introduce us to your game.
Interactive In-App Storytelling
This category is specifically for stories designed to be seen on a tablet, phone or mobile device. App should require interaction from the viewer to move the story forward. Please submit a 2-5 minute video where you introduce us to your story.
Social Media Narratives/Role Playing
If you are using Social Media platforms to tell a story or as your characters to build interest in your other transmedia storytelling platforms. Please submit a 2-5 minute video where you introduce us to your story or characters and links to where we can see your interactions online.
New Media/Installation/Multimedia Performance
We are defining New Media as film/video that is designed to be projected in a non-theatrical environment such as projected onto an object, the side of a building, onto a painting etc. We are defining “Installation” as film or video designed to be seen in a constructed environment. Multimedia performance combines live performance/dance/music etc with video and/or audio. Please note that STIFF is unable to cover travel or lodging expenses for live performers. Please submit a 2-5 minute video where you introduce us to your project.
Virtual reality, robotics, artificial intelligence or technologies we haven’t even thought of/not aware of, to tell a story. Please create a 2-10 minute video to tell us about your project.
We want music video that have a strong narrative along with, or independent of the music.
STIFF is one of the few festivals to feature an entire program of Dance/ Movement/ Performance films. We love to see performance in a non-traditional environment.
If you created a film/video/digital comic etc based on an established creators work we would like to see what you came up with and also please submit a paragraph or 2 detailing how the original creator encouraged your project and any interactions you had with them.
Video art is for those short films/videos/digital art that contain no narrative or a very vague narrative. We usually display these in a gallery setting or at parties and are most interested in projects that do not require sound to be enjoyed. If your project was created with sound, please let us know if it would be OK to show your project without sound.
What is STIFF?
Seattle TransMedia and Independent Film Festival is held at The Factory Luxe in the historic Rainier Brewery just south of Downtown Seattle. It is a celebration of transmedia storytelling and off-beat independent film from the Northwest and the rest of the world. We feature a full program of film screenings, transmedia exhibits, VR/360 experiences, parties, creator panels and networking.
What is the history of STIFF?
In 2005, the Seattle's True Independent Film Festival (aka STIFF) was started by a group of local filmmakers as a way to showcase off-beat independent films that are typically ignored by traditional "independent" film channels in the city. After 10 years of screening independent films we decided to re-focus the festival to showcase TransMedia projects along with Independent Films.
Why make the change to TransMedia?
We realize that there are some amazing storytellers working in other mediums that needed a festival to show their works and to have a place to network with other storytellers. We are seeing more and more film festivals pop up each year while other forms of digital media are being ignored. We aim to be the place for digital storytellers to come each year and celebrate the many ways they are creating and sharing their stories.
What types of projects are you looking for?
We started as a traditional film festival and we still want to present great films and we now want to highlight other digital mediums that are being used for storytelling. We are accepting short and feature films both narrative and documentary, television shows/pilots, web series, digital comics, video games, interactive-in app storytelling, social media narratives/role playing, new media, experimental films, music videos, storytelling utilizing hardware based emerging technology and encouraging fan projects. Please make sure to read through the category description. We sometimes offer lower fees to encourage submission to categories we feel are under represented but if you submit something that belongs in another category to save a few bucks it will greatly diminish your chances of being accepted. Don’t try to be sneaky.
Why are you putting on STIFF?
STIFF is a celebration of the best independent films and transmedia storytelling and we will present them in a way that other filmmakers and transmedia artists can gain from the experience, discussions and networking, as well as providing the public a place to be entertained and gain exposure to TransMedia projects.
First and foremost, we are filmmakers and we understand how hard it is to get your film seen, much less win awards at the “right” festivals. As film festivals across the country strive to raise their profile, they continually pass over inventive, risk-taking films so they can give a sneak preview of the new Jennifer Aniston film a week before its worldwide release. We want to help these Independent gems find an audience that is on the lookout for the unusual.
What type of films/TransMedia projects are you looking for?
We are committed to filling our program out with a diverse offering of the best new voices in independent media from the Northwest and the rest of the world. We are looking for inventive and original projects made by independent artists. Your stories don't need to have transgender sex, claymation, violence, puppets, drug use or hip-hop music. But, rest assured that if your stories contains those elements it won't be offending a 70-year old volunteer screener. We had a 15 person screening team this year and we will watch anything!
What About Documentaries?
Seattle audiences love documentaries! Our Documentary Programmer likes to create a program with a diverse range of topics and genres, including human rights, biopics, the environment, consumerism, food, travel, politics, music, experimental docs and more. In Seattle, controversial topics garner big audiences! If you have a doc you think most festivals would be afraid to program, then please submit it to us.
What if my film already screened at SIFF, Local Sightings, another Seattle Area Festival or we rented a theater to show the film to our friends and supporters inthe Seattle area?
The audience for the types of film we show is fairly small. We rely on a local filmmakers to bring in their friends and supporters to make the festival viable. From years of experience we know that once your friends and supporters have seen the film only a few that couldn't make it will attend resulting in poor attendance at your screening. If you are a local filmmaker that has established in the past that you have developed an audience that can support multiple screening we will take that into consideration, if not most likely we will not be able to accept your film.
How much does it cost to enter STIFF?
The fee schedules for Filmmakers/Artists range from $20 - $75 depending on the length/format of your project and when you submit. The earlier you submit, the better so don't wait. All filmmakers who submit a film receive an all-access badge whether or not they are accepted into the festival.
I am just a broke filmmaker and I spent every dime I had making my movie. Can you hook me up with a fee waiver?
We are broke filmmakers ourselves and in years past we have tried to accommodate as many of these requests as possible. Unfortunately, this has caused a situation where we now receive so many requests that it is impossible to grant them. We need to be fair to the filmmakers who pay submission fees and it is our general rule not to approve waivers. If you are a student (Director must be enrolled at time of submission in a Film School, College Film Program or High School. Please provide details with your submission. Films must be 16 minutes or less in length.) you can use code "STUDENTSTIFF" to recieve a 50% discount on your submission fees.
Is my long short a good fit for STIFF?
Shorts with runtimes over 25 can be hard for some festivals to program, but not STIFF. We show several shorts programs during the festival and we generally like to anchor each shorts program with one long short (over 25 minutes). If you have heard that your short is "Virtually Unprogrammable" due to its length, you might be right for us. We don’t let runtimes influence our decision to program films! We classify a short film as under 45 minutes and show several 30+ minutes shorts each year. We want to give the filmmakers the space they need to tell their story.
What are your premiere requirements?
We do not require or give special consideration to premieres, but because of our programming philosophy, 25 percent of the features in 2012 were premieres and another 50 percent had not yet premiered when we made our selections. We program from submissions, not from looking at the catalog of other 'bigger' festivals and cherry picking films.
How can I guarantee that the screeners will watch my film in its entirety?
There really are no guarantees in life. What you should know however, is that STIFF is put on by actual filmmakers who have put their own films through the festival circuit. We know what filmmakers worry about and we strive to make sure that we give your film as fair a shake as possible. This includes viewing by MULTIPLE (at least 3) screeners who are passionate about independent film & transmedia. We take the care and feeding of your project very seriously and strive to screen and exhibit projects the same way we would want others to screen and exhibit ours.
What the hell kind of award will my film/TransMedia project win at a festival called STIFF?
The coveted STIFFY awards are presented in 8 categories during an award ceremony on the final day of the festival.
What are my chances of being accepted?
In 2014 we received about 750 entries and screened 32 features and over 100 shorts. Your odds with us are pretty good, but only if you submit.
Do you just attend the major fests and invite films with celebrities to take up all the programming slots?
We do not fill the program with Festival Picks. We are committed to filling our programming slots from our submission pool.
OK. I am sold. I want to screen my film/TransMedia project at STIFF, what do I have to do?
Submit via FilmFreeway
How will I be notified?
By email. Please make sure to adjust your SPAM filters so you don't miss correspondence from our programmers (add firstname.lastname@example.org to your safe list). It is our goal to notify every filmmaker who enters one way or the other, so if you don't hear something by July 5th, please contact us. This should give you plenty of time to book travel arrangements to come and be part of the fun. You will recieve your screening date, time and location by July 10th.
If I submit at the late deadline, do I even have a chance?
If your story is great, we will show it no matter when you submit, but you will save some money the earlier you submit and give more time to get some chatter going amongst the screening team.
If I don't get into the festival, can you tell me why?
As filmmakers ourselves, we understand the value of feedback. Please send an email to email@example.com and we will be happy to provide feedback from our screening team.
How much does it cost to attend?
Tickets for blocks start at $12. We have a limited number of All Access passes for $125, along with a wide range of other tickets. These are available on Eventbrite, link here:
This is a cool idea. How can I help out?
Check out our volunteers page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you looking for any type of corporate sponsorship?
You mean money? Sure. We are also always on the lookout for companies that want to cut filmmakers a break on food, drinks, lodging or trinkets. Check out our sponsorship page.
STIFF is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless STIFF from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.