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2016 Seattle Shorts announces opening night guest!

Provided by Smarthouse Creative

The shorts are coming! Seattle Shorts Film Festival is November 11-13th, 2016 at SIFF Film Center.

Known for bringing Hollywood to the Northwest, Seattle Shorts will return for the 6th annual festival this fall with well-known guests, speakers, and exciting new films. Seattle Shorts is the only regional festival dedicated to bringing brilliant short films to Seattle audiences. The festival continues to grow — already the 2016 festival has attracted a record 1400 submissions, and has expanded a full day to become a three day event.

This year’s program includes a special twist: opening night will be a feature film! Before I Disappear is a feature-length adaptation of director Shawn Christensen’s 2012 Oscar-winning short film, CURFEWFATIMA PTACEK Headshot

Lead actress (and voice of Dora the Explorer) Fatima Ptacek will attend opening night. Other highlights include a program of female-directed films; a block of music videos; and a panel discussion called “Navigating the Film Festival Circuit” with Seattle Shorts alumni. Look for the full program announcement in early August. Tickets and more information at



Keep Film in WA

Attendees of the Keep Film in WA campaign launch in Spokane, Bellingham and Seattle listened to Amy Lillard (Filmworks executive director) and Don Jensen (Filmworks board chair) speak about the upcoming legislative session. Photos by Joe Flores.

Attendees of the Keep Film in WA campaign launch in Spokane, Bellingham and Seattle listened to Amy Lillard (Filmworks executive director) and Don Jensen (Filmworks board chair) speak about the upcoming legislative session. All photos by Joe Flores.

The Washington film industry is battling for its future as the 2016 legislative session rolls on.

Flanked by a strong coalition of film industry allies, Washington Filmworks is leading a campaign to fight for the future of production in the state.

Specifically, Filmworks and its “Keep Film in WA” campaign partners are rallying behind House Bill 2542 (HB 2542), which, if signed into law, would increase funding for the production incentive program and extend its sunset date.

Credit Joe Flores 3

Amy Lillard

Prime sponsored by Representative Marcus Riccelli (D-3), the bill doubles the size of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program fund to $7 million over two years and increases the fund incrementally until it reaches $10 million by the year 2020. The bill will also extend the sunset date of the program to December 31, 2023.

With its current film incentive fund of just $3.5 million per year, the state has had to turn away millions of dollars in business. In 2015, Washington State lost out on $65 million in economic activity after Washington Filmworks exhausted its fund by March. By increasing the fund’s cap to $7 million, and eventually $10 million, HB 2542 would make Washington more competitive when it comes to drawing production from outside the state.

Credit Joe Flores 2

Don Jensen

Washington Filmworks urges film industry professionals to help the campaign by signing the Keep Film in WA petition ( and by contacting their local legislators to not only provide them with facts and data about the incentive program, but to also share their personal stories of why film is important in Washington State.

Additionally, on January 21, Filmworks organized Film Day in Olympia. Over 200 film professionals and supporters from around the state showed up to lobby their legislators in support of the bill. Campaigners were able to organize and execute over 100 meetings with legislators and got great feedback and insight from the attendees who took the meetings.

Following Film Day, on January 22, was the Hearing in front of the House Finance Committee, during which 9 members of the film community testified on behalf of HB 2542. According to Filmworks, a total of 35 people signed in to support the bill that morning—an amazing show of support.

Stay tuned to as the legislative session progresses to find out what you can do to Keep Film in WA!

The staff of Three Dollar Bill Cinema with Maureen Bradley, director of the 2015 Best Narrative Feature, Two 4 One.


The staff of Three Dollar Bill Cinema with Maureen Bradley, director of the 2015 Best Narrative Feature, Two 4 One.

The staff of Three Dollar Bill Cinema with Maureen Bradley, director of the 2015 Best Narrative Feature, Two 4 One.

Seattle Transgender Film Festival is a constellation of shining stars & original stories

By Sam Berliner Festival Director
Photos courtesy of Three Dollar Bill Cinema

The 2016 edition of Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival is all about connecting audiences with stars and stories. This year we are excited to celebrate some of the champions who have led the way for transgender communities and highlight connections through an array of voices and perspectives.

One of the most visible and highly acclaimed transgender-centered series is the groundbreaking Transparent. Join us during this year’s festival for an exciting discussion with some of the remarkable talent behind the making of this captivating show, including pioneering star Alexandra Billings—the first openly trans woman to have played a transgender character on television back in 2005. Our guests will share some inside scoop, thoughts on the broader implications of the show’s success, reflections on what it means being transgender both in front of and behind the camera, and where they see trans representation going in the future.

Festival director Sam Berliner

Festival director Sam Berliner

We’re incredibly excited for the Northwest premiere of Major! about Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, the 73-year-old Black transgender woman who has fought for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years. From the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion to the Transgender
Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), Miss Major’s life is a testament to the fierce survivalism, resilience and celebration of a community that has been historically traumatized and marginalized. The film, which recently sold out its San Francisco premiere at the historic Castro Theatre, shows one woman’s journey, a community’s history, and how caring for each other can be a revolutionary act.

And when it comes to unique stories, Suited fits to a tee. This documentary—fresh from its Sundance premiere and produced by Lena Dunham—tells the story of Bindle & Keep, a Brooklyn tailoring company that makes custom suits for gender -nonconforming and transgender clients. Among the people on the gender spectrum sharing their stories are a trans boy preparing for his Bar Mitzvah, a New York City cab driver, a young Southern law student and a trans man preparing for his wedding. At its heart, the film is an intimate journey of coming into a new identity, accepting difference and living bravely in one’s own skin. It’s another Northwest premiere!

Co-directors of last year's Best Documentary Short Film, Passing, Lucah Rosenberg Lee (left) and J. Mitchel Reed (right).

Co-directors of last year’s Best Documentary Short Film, Passing, Lucah Rosenberg Lee (left) and J. Mitchel Reed (right).

Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival is not only a groundbreaking film festival that provides the Pacific Northwest with a venue for films by, for, and about transgender people and the issues facing the transgender community, but one of only a few transgender film festivals in the world. The goal of the event is to place emphasis on visibility and positive representations. Join us for four days of shining stars and exciting stories from our community.

Translations takes place May 12-15 at the Northwest Film Forum and 12th Ave Arts. To read more or purchase tickets, visit and

Photo by Sherry Zheng

Asian American Festival Bridges Culture in Seattle

Photo by Sherry Zheng

Photo by Sherry Zheng

This past February, audiences enjoyed the Seattle Asian American Film Festival, which screened at the Northwest Film Forum over four days. Media Inc. spoke with the co-directors of the festival, Vanessa Au and Martin Tran, to hear about the festival’s contribution to the Seattle film and cultural landscape.

Media Inc: Tell us a bit about the Seattle Asian American Film Festival. It had been on hiatus starting in 2007, and then it was resurrected in 2013. What about the festival has changed?
Vanessa Au and Martin Tran: Since SAAFF’s resurrection, we’ve made several changes. We kick off every festival with an opening night party featuring live performances from local Asian American musicians, artists and dancers. We’ve also tried hard to bring the filmmakers to the festival so that they can network with one another and meet the audience, whether that’s during post-film Q&As, panel discussions or in the theater lobby. Finally, we’ve spent a lot of time doing outreach to the Asian American community through our co-presenters program. We get at least one API (Asian Pacific Islander) nonprofit group to promote each program and in turn provide them with a table to distribute info about their organization and a few minutes at the start of the screening to tell the audience about their org.

Photo by Amy Zhong

Photo by Amy Zhong

MI: What are some of your goals with the festival? How does it contribute to the Seattle community?
VA/MT: One of our top goals is to contribute to the Asian American community by bringing attention to various organizations and bringing community organizers to the festival. Some of the groups who’ve participated as co-presenters include API Chaya, Asian and Counseling Resource Services (ACRS), Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Seattle, Vietnamese Friendship Association, Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) Greater Seattle, Trikone, International Community Health Services (ICHS), and others. We also use the opening night party to feature local live Asian American talent.

MI: What were some highlights about this year’s festival?
VA/MT: The biggest highlight this year was the number of filmmakers that were in attendance. It was amazing to see them meet one another and the greater Seattle community, be it at official events like our Opening Night Party, Filmmaker Brunch, VIP party, and Q&As after their screenings, to more casual settings like the lobby of the Northwest Film Forum, or in our VIP Lounge or at an impromptu dinner the last night of the fest. It was just really wonderful to see people coming together, and to share our wonderful city with these visiting filmmakers.

Photo by Amy Zhong

Photo by Amy Zhong

MI: Can you speak about some of the Northwest filmmakers that were showcased in the festival?
VA/MT: Every year we do our best to showcase local filmmakers, and we were lucky to have so many great short films to share. Tadd Mitsui told a touching story about a man and his place in our ever-changing city in The Car Doctor Pat Abe. Jade Justad brought such a beautiful visual eye and drew out naturalistic performances from her young actors with her short film, Creased, about a young Asian American woman struggling with self-image and what it means to be beautiful, let alone “normal,” in this world. She brought a deft touch to the issue of Asians having the double eyelid surgery that makes them look more “White.”

We also showcase films from ACRS Southeast Asian Young Men’s Group, shepherded by Joseph Mills. This year we screened Model Minority Stereotype by Minhkennedy Pham and Chanthadeth by Chanthadeth Chanthalangsy. Both films spoke to our perceptions of identity, on both very personal and political levels.

MI: Thanks so much for sharing about the festival. We look forward to it in 2017!

More information about the Seattle Asian American Film Festival is available online at


Shokrian Leads the OMPA

By Mary Erickson Associate Editor
Photo by Owen Carey

Janice Shokrian has worked around the film industry for years. Now she’s firmly embedded within the industry as the new head of Oregon’s industry association, the Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA).Janice

After Tom McFadden resigned his post as Executive Director in February 2015, the OMPA has been in the interim hands of Nathaniel Applefield. The OMPA’s Board of Directors conducted a search to find McFadden’s replacement, and selected Shokrian to lead the OMPA in December 2015.

Ever since, Shokrian has been hitting the ground running. She’s traveled around the state, familiarizing herself with the myriad of individuals involved in Oregon’s media industry. Also on the agenda: getting familiar with the SourceOregon Directory and determining how to maximize its impact, particularly with regards to state incentive programs.

“The directory isn’t just a place to have your name. It has a greater purpose. It’s also a show of force for legislators,” Shokrian comments. “This message needs to resonate more fully.”

Shokrian brings a trove of arts management experience, having worked in volunteer management and marketing over the course of her career. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the Portland Actors Conservatory, and she also ran a boutique marketing company for 12 years, working with a Grammy Award-winning musician, an opera singer, and other clients from the nonprofit arts world. “I’ve always wanted to work in the nonprofit world,” says Shokrian. “It’s important that I have a cause and a drive to my work.”

Although she hasn’t been directly involved much in the film industry prior to her appointment with the OMPA, Shokrian is committed to understanding the dynamics within the organization and around the state. “I’m looking at the OMPA from a 30,000 feet viewpoint…this perspective allows me to look at our work from a different vantage point.”

She’s excited to be a champion for the industry and to provide support, especially working within Oregon’s film community. “I feel proud of our state. It’s not pretentious. Everybody stands shoulder-to-shoulder. There’s a real giveback sense in the community.” Shokrian hopes to continue that sense of involvement in the community while building the OMPA’s membership, which currently stands at roughly 800 members. Shokrian will also work with organizations around the state, such as Southern Oregon Film and Media (SOFaM), to ensure that the sense of community is supported and sustained throughout Oregon.

“We represent the whole state, not just Portland,” she says. “We’re Oregon-centric.”

Catherine Hardwicke Showcased at POWFest’s Ninth Year

Tara Johnson-Medinger and Catherine Hardwicke

Tara Johnson-Medinger and Catherine Hardwicke

By Mary Erickson Associate Editor

POWFest wrapped up another year of showcasing film work by women in Portland. The festival, in its ninth year, ran March 3 through 6 at the Hollywood Theatre.POWFest 2

Filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke attended the festival as the guest of honor. POWFest screened three of her films—Twilight, Thirteen, and Miss You Already—and hosted a discussion with the seasoned director. Hardwicke is a vocal advocate for women in film, as highlighted by POWFest’s executive director, Tara Johnson-Medinger.

“Catherine Hardwicke’s strong voice and willingness to step publicly into Hollywood’s gender discussion is something to celebrate,” said Johnson-Medinger. “Because of her, women are less fearful of being vocal as there has been a groundswell of support to amplify these voices. There is a revolution going on and she is one of the women in the lead.”

Catherine Hardwicke presents a master class at POWFest.

Catherine Hardwicke presents a master class at POWFest.

The festival opened with Abigail Disney’s The Armor of Light, which follows an Evangelical minister tackling the issue of gun violence in the U.S. Over 35 other film directors attended the festival to screen their films, including Northwest filmmakers Dawn Jones Redstone, Kia Anne Geraths, Christian Henry and Misty Eddy. POWFest’s
educational initiative, POWGirls, also presented films. POWGirls is a program open to girls age 15 to 19 who learn skills in media-making. POWGirls participants spent three days writing, producing and editing films, which were then screened at the festival.



Hardwicke presented a Master Class for festival attendees, and also participated in a Q&A session with Melissa Silverstein, founder and editor of Women and Hollywood, a website devoted to exploring gender issues in the film and other media industries. The festival also presented workshops on crowdfunding and the art of the pitch.

More information about POWFest is available at

Ashland Independent Film Festival Celebrates its 15th Anniversary, Celebrates Groundbreakers While it Blazes New Trails

By Judy Plapinger

April 7-11, 2016 marks the 15th anniversary of the Ashland Independent Film Festival, which  has grown from 73 films in four days at the beautiful art deco Varsity Theatre to more than 90 films and dozens of special events across Ashland in five art-packed days. This year the festival expands across town and across genres not only with its films, but also with live performances and art installations at two local museums.

As the festival embarks on its next chapter, organizers are reaching out to new groups—not simply appealing to traditional demographics defined by age, ethnicity, gender or gender identity, but across arbitrary boundaries to a shared artistic ideal. When media fills every screen, and screens are everywhere, it’s fair to ask: Why come to a film festival at all? The answer is simple: For the shared experience of seeing a film together; to expand and expound on that experience with filmmakers, performers, animators, artists, and of course, fellow film-goers.

The festival’s new director of programming, Richard Herskowitz, is forging connections from film to art and the performing arts community. While early festivals featured gallery exhibits, a live opera singer, arts cars and hula dancers, this year the festival will link art, science, animation, cinema, music and dance to create new forms of image making and storytelling that delves into the “beyond.”

In addition, this year, women in indie film will be a singular focus, with films and special appearances by Women Make Movies executive director Debra Zimmermann, filmmaker and choreographer Celia Rowlson-Hall, visionary lesbian filmmaker Barbara Hammer, and more. If that weren’t enough, live performances that bridge cinema, art and music will include noted animators and performance artists Laura Heit and Jeremy Rourke, as well as flutist Rozalind MacPhail, who will perform a live score to accompany the feature film He Hated Pigeons.

The Fits

Independent film is nothing less than a movement to transform mainstream culture, to promote voices and perspectives neglected by commercial media. To honor its 15th anniversary, AIFF is reaffirming its mission to promote independent filmmaking by honoring the groundbreaking people and cinema that set the standards, including


Women Make Movies and the venerable Kartemquin Films (Hoop Dreams). As Herskowitz says, “At AIFF16 we will pay tribute to indie institutions—production, distribution and exhibition companies—that have built the infrastructure of the independent film movement, and challenge Hollywood’s dominance.” This very infrastructure provides the springboard for this exciting 15th anniversary festival and for festivals beyond.

Addicted to Sheep

A full schedule of films and other events, including Q&As with directors, free panel discussions, workshops, art installations, awards and nightly entertainment, is available at

Tickets are also available at

Film Incentive Bill Killed in Washington

In early March, Washington Filmworks announced that House Bill 2542, which would have increased and extended Washington’s Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, did not move forward for a vote in this year’s legislative session, effectively killing the bill.

As written, the bill would have doubled the size of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program fund to $7 million over two years and increased the fund incrementally until it reached $10 million by the year 2020. The bill would have also extended the sunset date of the program to December 31, 2023.

According to Filmworks, the bill could not overcome political hurdles in Olympia, nor could it overcome the revenue forecast, which indicated another $68 million budget shortfall this year and an even more significant budget shortfall for the next biennium.

Although the outcome for HB 2542 was disheartening for Washington’s production industry, it comes on the heels of a tremendous effort from the community, which organized a Keep Film in WA campaign to inform legislators of the incentive program’s benefits and raise the profile of the industry. In January, the campaign also organized Film Day in Olympia, where over 200 film professionals and supporters from around the state showed up to lobby their legislators in support of the bill.

“The fact of the matter is that everyone that took part in any aspect of the Keep Film in WA campaign did a tremendous job at raising the profile and visibility of the state-wide film industry,” said Filmworks in a statement. “It was a banner year in terms of the amount of support we received from legislators—with 33 sponsors of our bill from both political parties and representing every corner of the state. These figures, along with the feedback we received from legislators and lobbyists alike, demonstrates that we actually were wildly successful, despite not achieving our final goals.”

Washington Filmworks held debriefing sessions in Seattle on March 29 and Spokane on March 31 to discuss the campaign and its many accomplishments. As for the future of the state’s production industry, Filmworks is currently strategizing to determine their next steps in order to ensure that film stays in Washington.

Meanwhile, the film incentive program is not scheduled to sunset until June 30, 2017, so projects will still be able to take advantage of the incentive, and business is continuing as usual for Washington Filmworks. Visit for more.

Oregon Film Tax Credit Raised Over Two Years

The Librarians star Christian Kane sits down for a one-on-one interview as part of Film Day. Photo courtesy of Nebcat Photography

The Librarians star Christian Kane sits down for a one-on-one interview as part of Film Day. Photo courtesy of Nebcat Photography

Oregon Senate Bill 1507 enjoyed a unanimous victory on February 24, raising the annual cap on the state’s film and video tax credit. Currently at $10 million, the cap will rise to $12 million this year and $14 million in 2017.

Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) commended the impact of the raised cap, noting, “This bill encourages investment in this state by members of this vibrant industry.” Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton), who carried the bill on the Senate floor, concurred with Burdick. “It was important to the committee that we protect film and television jobs,” Hass said.

The Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA) rallied its members, along with other representatives from the Oregon media industry, two weeks earlier to attend Industry Day in Salem. This effort drew over 70 volunteers to lobby for increasing the Oregon Production Investment Fund (OPIF). The Capital was abuzz with OMPA members and other industry workers who met with Senators, Representatives and the Speaker of the House.

Salem Industry Day. Photo courtesy of Nebcat Photography

Salem Industry Day. Photo courtesy of Nebcat Photography

Legislators also had the opportunity to visit the Gallery where the Oregon Film Office and OMPA arranged for interactive displays to demonstrate the quality and depth of opportunities available in the industry. Legislators sat down with The Librarians star Christian Kane for a one-on-one interview, and Grimm’s Danny Bruno visited legislators’ offices and conducted impromptu on-camera interviews.

Janice Shokrian, Executive Director of the OMPA, cheered the Senate’s support of the industry. “We are cautiously optimistic as our legislators see the film incentive as a sound return on Oregon’s investment,” she said. “The economic impact has a broad reach that positively impacts many vendors and local businesses.”

Parts of this article are reprinted with permission from OMPA.

Now Hiring: Filmmaker-in-Residence

Steve & Kate’s Camp is looking for a filmmaker-in-residence for the summer.

Here is a brief description of the job:

You will be on set for an approximate 11-week shoot, producing, directing, and maybe even co-starring in videos destined for viral greatness… at least, in the homes of our campers. You are not limited by format or genre. Comedy, action, documentary — you do it all. You have an eye for catching the film-worthy moments of everyday life and want to help inspire our future filmmakers (aka our campers).

Dates: June 20-August 19, 2016 (at both the Seattle and Bellevue locations) with some training before the camp session

The work is full-time for the duration of the season.

Click this link to apply:

Please complete the application under the heading “Summer Jobs” and indicate that you’d like to be the filmmaker.

The Source for Northwest Media News and Information

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