By Stefanie Malone Managing Director, NFFTY
Photos by Mark Malijan
This April, the next generation of the world’s best filmmakers will come to Seattle to showcase their work at NFFTY 2015. NFFTY (National Film Festival for Talented Youth) is in its ninth year running and has continued to make an undeniable impression on both the lives of the young filmmakers accepted into the festival, and on the film community that joins in the electric experience of hearing the voice of this generation.
NFFTY is the world’s largest and most influential film festival for emerging directors, showcasing work by filmmakers 24 and younger from around the globe. Opening Night kicks off on April 23 at the newly remodeled Cinerama Theater, with the remainder of the festival at the SIFF Cinema Uptown from April 24-26.
With more film screenings and filmmaking panels than ever before, NFFTY 2015 is a great example of why this festival has been called the “Sundance for young filmmakers.” A few of the things that set this year’s festival apart from last year are the Closing Night screening, “Femme Finale,” and the Masterclass panel with Danish screenwriter Rasmus Heisterberg.
The Femme Finale screening on Closing Night (Sunday, April 26) will feature films from a lineup of all female filmmakers. Among them is the powerful short documentary The Provider from filmmakers Leah Galant and Maya Cueva. This film follows the work of Dr. Shannon Carr, who works to provide safe and legal abortion services to women across the U.S., while encountering various forms of opposition. How Do You Like My Hair? is another standout screening at Femme Finale, from filmmaker Emilie Blichfeldt. This introspective short is a coming-of-age story about a girl determined to accept herself as she is and to find beauty outside the norm. Femme Finale is part of an ongoing initiative, which kicked off at last year’s festival, to highlight and support female filmmakers in order to address the issue of gender equality in the film industry.
In his Masterclass panel, Danish screenwriter Rasmus Heisterberg (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, A Royal Affair) will discuss the intricate journey that starts with the conception of an idea and leads to the creation of a story. He’ll lay out how to find the right path for an idea so that characters, plots and themes can develop organically throughout the writing process, so that scenes, sequences and eventually a whole script emerge.
Festival programmers anticipate this year’s festival will hit an all-time high for submissions received and films screened. Last year, the 2014 festival received a record-breaking 800 submissions from all over the world. A total of 214 films screened, representing 30 U.S. states and 15 countries. Attendees totaled more than 12,000 and films covered all topics and genres, from compelling and provocative to hilarious to uplifting.
Many NFFTY alumni have gone on to highly successful careers, including Kevin Klauber, the editor of the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom. Another ‘08 alum, Erica Sterne, is currently the director of post production at The Weinstein Company. Elena Gaby’s Paper State won Best Student Documentary at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet the future leaders of the film industry, and the chance to be able to say, “I knew them when…”!
The full festival schedule is available at www.nffty.org. Festival passes and individual tickets are now on sale.
Stefanie Malone is Executive Director of NFFTY. She is formerly an award-winning producer who has worked with a long history of creating content and programs for PBS. She’s a fan of documentaries and the Marx Brothers.