Northwest Film Forum (1515 12th Ave.) kicks off its 16th annual Local Sightings Film Festival this Friday—a cinematic celebration of new talents from throughout the Pacific Northwest. The weeklong festival, running Sept. 27 through Oct. 3, includes no less than six world premieres in its fantastic slate of feature films, documentaries and shorts, as well as events and discussions that bring audiences, artists and filmmakers together to discover the local ingenuity and creativity driving this region’s growing ascendency in independent filmmaking.
Local Sightings opens with a screening of Seattle filmmaker Brendan Flynn’s debut feature, “Walking Against the Wind,” a poignant tale of a family (yes, a mime’s family) struggling with hardship and loss, captured in striking black and white cinematography. The festival also closes with a black-and-white film, “You Make Me Feel So Young,” by Olympia-based writer-director Zach Weintraub, about a woman confronting her feelings about a failing relationship (partly filmed at the Northwest Film Forum itself).
These films’ similarities aside, this year’s programming could hardly be more varied. All the participants hail from the Northwest, from Oregon to Alaska. However, the subject matter ranges from the investigation of vicious attacks in a German farming town in Tacoma filmmaker Isaac Olsen’s foreign-language thriller “Ich Hunger,” to young Mormons in Hawaii in “Hawaiian Punch” (screening Sept. 29) by Nandan Rao, honored by Filmmaker Magazine as one of “25 Faces to Watch.”
Dedicated to fostering emerging talent, Local Sightings brings together the newest aspiring filmmakers with some of the best-established names in the industry. Media art nonprofit Reel Grrls, which turns the camera over to girls aged 9-19, will be screening stereotype-shattering short films, while one of Seattle’s brightest stars, writer-director Lynn Shelton (“Your Sister’s Sister,” “Touchy Feely”), will be speaking in the Northwest Film Form’s discussion series, “From Script to Screen,” on Sept. 30.
“It’s the discoveries that make programming this festival so exciting,” affirms program director Adam Sekuler. “I’m proud that we’re able to present astonishingly accomplished first-time filmmakers alongside directors of many years’ experience, all from the same region. The cross-pollination that happens as part of Local Sightings every year is one of the most important ways Northwest Film Forum incubates emerging film talent.”
For the full program and ticket or pass purchases, visit the Northwest Film Forum’s festival page.