by Shazreh Malik and Mahroo Keshavarz
It was the perfect Saturday for a pub crawl on this rare and welcome sunny weekend in Seattle. Organizers, supporters, and filmmakers, all were in high spirits at the kickoff event for this year’s Seattle True Independent Film Festival (STIFF). The number of attendees expanded as they moved from bar to bar, and moods further lifted as the drinks kept pouring. A true meet and greet event, the 9th Annual STIFF Pub Crawl featured a casual, fun, and friendly environment at chosen spots within the University District.
Dedicated to promoting and showcasing independent zero-budget films, the festival has come a long way since its inception in 2005. In 2010, the organization was running under a loss of $10,000. Now in 2013, it is going into the festival with a surplus of $15,000 – all with the help of increasing sales and sponsorships. And it’s not just that. More and more independent filmmakers are joining the force. STIFF organizers have received 640 submissions this year, a high jump from the 495 in 2012.
The Pub Crawl is an opportunity for the filmmakers, organizers and contributors to get together, celebrate the festival’s 9th year and network. For filmmakers, it’s also a last chance shot to get one more pitch in before the organizers announce their final programming. Mahroo had the privilege of sitting down and speaking with a few of the filmmakers to find out a little more and you can also see a few clips of some films on STIFF’s blog.
Look at my Buffalo by Janet Christensen-O’Brien
This 5 minute film short was directed by Janet Christenson-O’Brien and is about various encounters by various people who all have the story of a buffalo in common. This is a film about paying attention to every minute of the present moment and not missing any connections, as you are connecting. Janet Christenson-O’Brien is also part of a TV show called “Public Interest Issues Show” where she will be having footage and segments of the STIFF festival.
No One Knows produced by Daniel Hoyos
No One Knows is a 9 minute short. It’s a subtle film about the standard American family and the secrets that are in the home, that others from the outside do not think exist. It sheds light on the trauma of child abuse and brings awareness to issues that are otherwise ignored. No One Knows was filmed over a 3 day weekend in Oklahoma, directed by Bunee Tomlinson and has 4 major actors in it, in particular, Sam Isler, a 14 year old who is now filmed a new pilot for NBC and Caleb Barwick who is now on the weekly show “Army Wives.” You can also check out their facebook page for more info.
Indepenetration hosted by Emmett Montgomery
Two creators, Clinton Moore and Ty Huffer began collecting a series of short films that were considered the “outcasts” of STIFF and assembled the films into a 2 hour segment that is hosted by comedian Emmett Montgomery at the Grand Illusion Theater Friday May 11 at 10pm. The short films have a wide range of variety and are considered dark comedy, adult-theme friendly, and the kind of “grotesque” humor that we all love.
Let’s come forward and support these creative and talented filmmakers. They may not have the backing of the mainstream film industry, but are offering us quality viewing in a fun-filled environment. The festival will be held from May 3 to May 11, featuring film screenings, stand-up acts, and an awards ceremony, at The Grand Illusion Cinema and the Wing-It Productions Theatre in Seattle.