2015 marks 20 years of the most indie of indie cinema on Capitol Hill. You can celebrate two decades of the Northwest Film Forum Thursday night as its signature Local Sightings film festival commences with an opening night of shorts that “capture moments of change in Seattle from contemporary times and past eras” followed by a free NWFF birthday party:
To celebrate Northwest Film Forum’s 20th anniversary, we are throwing the most epic costume party the Film Forum lobby has ever seen! Dress up as any character from a film we’ve shown over the past 20 years. Don’t know where to start? Check out this list to find some inspiration: ABBA, Flash Gordon, Abraham Lincoln, James Brown, Norman Bates, Venus & Serena, Alien, Dr. Strangelove, Pee Wee Herman, Thelonius Monk, Princess Nausicaa — they’re all fair game! There will be prizes for best costumes and dance moves. Join us to toast the miracle of NWFF and party like it’s 1995.
As the party is Thursday night, CHS will be dressed up as Sam J. Jones in Flash Gordon as we do normally to start the weekend.
The opening night Sprawl to Action slate sounds right up your alley:
Citizens of Seattle: take a minute for your city! Tonight we marshal together short films that capture moments of change in Seattle from contemporary times and past eras. From today: the suddenly booming weed industry, rapidly transforming neighborhoods, and lyrical musings about technology in our lives. From yester-year: cultural memories long-forgotten, ideas for a future that’s now past, and a grassroots movement that physically shaped the city. Sprawl to Action includes the launch of Citizen Minutes, a new community video project of Northwest Film Forum.
Information on the opening night Sprawl to Action and the 20th anniversary party as well as the September 24th to October 3rd festival can be found at localsightings.nwfilmforum.org.
Earlier this year, CHS talked with outgoing NWFF director Lyall Bush about his exit and the history of the film-focused organization:
NWFF traces its origin to the 1995 launch of WigglyWorld Studios, a post-production outfit that got its start on Capitol Hill. At the time, Bush was working as a film editor and was brought on as the group was primarily interested in forming a repository for film equipment.
The organization quickly grew into other aspects of film, including teaching and screening. Co-founders Jamie Hook and Deborah Girdwood — along with Michael Seiwerath, now at Capitol Hill Housing — began exploring an expansion into their own theater.
That’s when Seattle venture capitalist Nick Hanauer entered the picture along with some deep pocket donors. After changing its name, the nonprofit took over management of the U-Districts’Grand Illusion Theatre in 1997. Two years later, it opened the The Little Theatre at 19th and Mercer. Hanauer remains involved, by the way, serving on the NWFF board.
In 2004, NWFF moved into its current home on 12th Ave between Pine and Pike.
Bush announced in spring he would be stepping down from his post this September.
“You take stock, at that point, and ask what you want to be doing, and in a sense our 20th anniversary is a good chance for the organization to hit the refresh button (so to speak) as well,” Bush told CHS. “It’s a chance for the whole operation to write a new strategic plan, craft new vision, and keep independent filmmaking going for another couple of decades.”