By Scott A. Capestany – Editor-In-Chief
This years 2016 sixth annual Seattle Shorts Film Festival presented by Media Inc Magazine recently wrapped up after three solid days of impressive screenings, panels, parties and awards. With exciting plans for 2017 already now confirmed, this year marked the final year for the festival hosting their venue at the SIFF Film center. For 2017, plans to move the festival to the larger multi-screen SIFF UPTOWN theater already has Executive Director/Found Daniel Hoyas excited. “We’re so grateful to have completed a great six year run at SIFF Film center with a one of our busiest festivals to date this year.” Said Hoyas. Now moving our festival to the Uptown in 2017, we’ll be able to screen more films, host more events and screen more films in the future.”
Special VIP guests this year included FATIMA PTACEK, best known as the voice for Nickelodeon’s Dora The Explorer. Her brilliant performance in the 2014 film short ‘Curfew’ earned the film an Academy Award Oscar win for best short in 2012. The feature length adaptation ‘Before I disappear’ was this weekends opening night film which drew a fully packed house followed by a Q&A by both her and producer BRENDEN HUBBARD. “It was such a great experience attending Seattle Shorts Film Festival where I was able to connect with wonderful independent filmmakers and Washington-based actors who are so passionate about their craft.” Said Ptacek. “We bonded over our love of storytelling and shared lots of laughs. I really enjoyed visiting Seattle and my visit to the Seattle Space Needle was especially memorable.”
Founder and Executive Director DANIEL HOYOS, who has been the mastermind behind the evolution and growth of the festival over the years, sat down with Media Inc Magazine to share more about his endeavor.
Media Inc: Congratulations on another great year! How many submissions did you have this year that made up the final 48 films?
DH: This year we had around 1300 submissions from all over the world that also included over 35 filmmakers in attendance.
MI: Tell us more about your 2017 approval by The Seattle International Film Festival partnership you have moving your festival to the uptown theater next year.
DH: We have been strategically working with SIFF over the years in preparation to move our festival from the Film Center to the Uptown theater. Turns out 2017 will usher in a new looks and feel our festival. The move will expand our operational space to multiple theater screens and give filmmakers a wonderful theater venue to showcase their films in.
MI: Where can filmmakers submit for 2017?
DH: Filmmakers can submit via Without A Box, Film Freeway and also directly on our website. www.seattleshorts.org Filmmakers registered at an accredited college can submit for as little as $10 while other filmmakers submit throughout the year between $20-35 depending on the month they submit leading up to festival. We also pride ourselves on keeping our submission fees very low compared to other festivals encouraging more people to explore our festival. Submission can be made here begining NOW for 2017! SSFF 2017 Submissions
MI: Tell us how your programming selection process works.
DH: As submissions come in, we have a team of around 15 screeners throughout the year watch our films and suggest films to both myself and festival coordinator Marissa Huntley for final decision to be included. Our screening blocks this year allowed for us to showcase films from a diverse group of filmmakers from a variety of genres. These blocks included “Women In Film” (Women Directors/Leads), Musical Cinema” (Music Videos), Raising Awareness” (Global issues), “Made in Washington” (Locally produced films from WA State) and a few other blocks that featured films of highly impressive cinematic art.
MI: Tell about other activities filmmakers can expect while attending your film festival.
DH: This year we hosted a Saturday night Dance party for filmmakers, an opening night feature film that was based on the 2012 Academy Award Winning short ‘Curfew’ called ‘Before I disappear’ that included a Q&A with celebrity guest Fatima Ptacek and a few industry panels.
MI: What kind of awards and door prizes do filmmakers receive from the Seattle Shorts Film festival .
DH: All of our winners receive very unique and special ‘etched in glass’ award trophies. We were very grateful to partner with the Youth Actor Theater Camp this year in which we nominated four young bright actors Rachelle Henry, Belle Shouse, Hannah Ord, and Connor Muhl to be eligible for a tuition free scholarship to attend the Winter 7 day or Summer 11 day camps. Local Actress RACHELLE HENRY won the award this year. Filmmakers were given discounts or a variety of activities, transportation and food offerings close to the festival that included partnerships with LYFT (car rides) and our hotel sponsors THE MARQUEEN and MEDITERRANEAN INN.
One of the biggest highlights and moving events was the Youth Talent panel hosted by SAG-AFTRA Seattle Actress ASHLEY CORZINE. The panel featured both local Pacific Northwest Guests Rachelle Henry and CONNOR MUHL and special Hollywood guests Fatima Ptacek and star of ABC TV Series Blackish MARSAI MARTIN. Martin, only 12 years old, empowered the crowd and brought tears to many with her heart felt talk on equality and what it means to be an actor in the industry. “I want to be known as strong person, not just a little black girl in the business”, She said.
Award Winning Seattle Actor and filmmakers Rachelle Henry had this to say about the festival this year; “I had a wonderful time at Seattle Shorts Film Festival getting to support two films I’m in and asked to be on the Breaking Into The Business: Young Actors panel. I met some amazing filmmakers! It was so exciting to have “Creased” be chosen for the Grand Jury Award. A highlight for me personally. Most importantly honored and grateful to have been chosen to receive a scholarship to YATC! Special thanks to Shawn Ryan, John Ainsworth, Young Actors Theater Camp and Seattle Shorts Film Festival for this honor!”
Winners of the 2016 Seattle Shorts Film Festival: