As the saying goes, “Behind every successful man, there is a woman.” However in the world of film, it appears that behind 2011’s 250 top-grossing films, only a shocking 5% are women directors. This issue sheds light on the much-debated topic about the presence (or rather, lack of) women in film. However, some might argue that women do have a place in Hollywood by citing Kathryn Bigelow’s big win at the Oscars. During the 2009 Oscars, Kathryn Bigelow shook the film industry by winning the award for Best Director, making her the first woman in history to achieve the top honor. Although her win paved the way for women filmmakers around the world, female film creators are still struggling to keep this glimmering flame of hope ablaze especially with the numbers proving otherwise. Yet, setting an example for Hollywood as the future of film, NFFTY is currently made up of 30% female directors.
Randy Cohen, vice president of research and policy for Americans for the Arts, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit, recently shared insights from his group’s study of arts trends nationwide. His message to business leaders emphasized the importance of investing in the arts as an industry, rather than treating arts as a luxury during times of prosperity and avoiding arts when the economy struggles. Increasing public and private support by using economic impact studies to leverage investment can help. But not every good idea needs to cost millions of dollars. “The city of Seattle sees itself as a music town, and it has a Music-On-Hold program. When you call a government office and get put on hold, you listen to music by Seattle musicians. They change it every quarter. It’s so popular the mayor does the voice-overs, and they sell the music on a website. Sometimes, it just takes coordination of existing resources,” says Cohen.
NORTHWEST FILM FORUM
Since 2005, Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) has been distributing films using its institutional muscle and expertise to shepherd independent works into the marketplace. NWFF will host a low-cost class on November 18 for local filmmakers to learn more about promoting and marketing their films to the largest possible audience. The workshop reviews today’s changing theatrical film exhibition landscape and realistic options to self-distribute successfully.
FILM + MUSIC + INTERACTIVE HAPPY HOUR
Our October 3 Happy Hour is designed to help members of the local film, music, and interactive industries meet and share ideas with current elected officials, as well as those running to represent Seattle at the local, state, and national levels. Don’t miss your chance to meet with policy makers who can directly influence the growth of our state’s creative industries. The event will take place from 5:00 to 7:00pm at Spitfire in Belltown. The special presentation will begin at 6:30pm in the private black box theater in Spitfire. The event is free! Please join us in the converging world of original music, independent films, interactive platforms and emerging technologies! For more information, visit www.fmihappyhour.com. See you there!
CITY OF SEATTLE
The Seattle Offices of Film + Music and Economic Development are accepting applications through August 17 for a combined communications internship. Interns participate in a variety of activities for OFM & OED, including marketing, communication, and outreach tasks supporting the City’s economic development mission. The program runs for six months, from March 26th – September 30th. Most successful participants have a background in economics/political science, communications, and film/music/interactive media. Visit our site for all the details.
Seattle has a long and diverse history of grassroots campaigns, and the feature Grassroots, shot right here in town, tells the story of one such campaign. Directed by Stephen Gyllenhall, the film is based on the book Zioncheck for President, a true account of the quirky 2001 Seattle City Council race between Grant Cogswell and Richard McIver. Grassroots played recently at the SIFF closing night gala, but if you didn’t catch it then, you’ll have a chance to see it at the Harvard Exit when it opens on Friday, June 22 – a day Mayor McGinn has proclaimed “Grassroots Day” in Seattle. Stephen Gyllenhall is planning to attend all showings from Friday to Sunday. The production of Grassroots was made possible by the Washington State Film Incentives program.
CAPITOL HILL BLOCK PARTY
Local filmmakers and amateur directors are invited to submit a video between 30 seconds and 2 minutes in length, incorporating the idea of Seattle Culture (bonus points for any use of the Space Needle), to the Totally Stacked! Video Contest. Entries may include all types of videos, but must be submitted by July 2 to be considered. The contest is organized by The Stranger, Capitol Hill Block Party, and SIFF – and participants will be eligible for a number of prizes, including SIFF passes, Capitol Hill Block Party tickets, and more.
Megan Griffiths’ Eden swept the awards at the 38th Seattle International Film Festival, which held its ceremony Sunday morning at the Seattle Space Needle. Eden star Jamie Chung won the Best Actress Golden Space Needle Award, while the film also received the Lena Sharpe Award for Persistence of Vision presented by Women in Film/Seattle, as well as the Reel NW Award presented by KCTS 9. Click here to see a complete list of winners.
Each year, SIFF tests the skills of Seattle’s up and coming cinematic talent in an intense race to the big screen with the Fly Filmmaking Challenge. This year, SIFF and presenting partner KCTS 9’s Reel NW offered a dozen pitches focused on the Seattle Center’s “Next 50” celebration for the 50th Anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair, for which Seattle Center was created. Directors picked from a selection of “Next 50” themed scripts, and then had seven days to collaborate with the writers on the final production of the film. The filmmakers shot for three days on the Seattle Center campus, leaving only five days to edit. Catch the last screening of The Fly Filmmaking Challange at 9 pm tonight, June 6, at the Harvard Exit on Capitol Hill.