We just recently posted our call for submissions for STIFF 2008. I am really excited for this year's festival. Pete suggested that we start doing a blog as we start to kick the meetings off to give people a bit more visibility into the 4th annual Seattle's True Independent Film Festival and I like the idea of opening things up a bit. There are a few changes to the team this year. Kevin Gilbert stepped down as the program director to focus on acting and I really miss his bald head, but I know that Brian Shelley will be able to successfully take the reigns. I am hoping that Brian and the rest of the screening team will post their thoughts on some of their favorite movies as they start to work their way through the submission process. At times, being a screener can feel like being locked in a closet with a box of cigars, but when you happen to find that movie with nothing on the cover but the name written in black sharpie and it turns out to blow your mind, the feeling is like nothing you can imagine.
In case you haven't heard about STIFF before, here are some of the things that I think makes our festival really unique. If you are a filmmaker, we'd love to see your movie. If you are a musician or a comedian, we'd love to hear from you too.
STIFF focuses on True Independent Films. We don't cater to films with celebrities or Hollywood indies.
We specialize in long shorts. Each of our shorts programs is anchored by a short with a runtime that many other fests have a hard time programming (25-45 minute range).
Our venues are truly unique. Each features state of the art projection, and most offer table service with gourmet food, micro brews and cocktail service.
Our goal is to have each submission judged in its entireity by a minimum of three screeners. STIFF is put on by filmmakers who have taken their own films through the festival process and we strive to make it a festival that we would like to submit our own films to.
Each film wins its own unique STIFFY.
We are working with partners to offer unique prizes that we feel are better than ca$h awards. Breakthrough Distribution is sponsoring the Breakthrough Award which includes 2000 professionally authored DVD's and a possible retail distribution deal. A leading national video rental chain will also be offering a one hour meeting with an acquisitions executive to the winner of the Grand Jury prize (winner will need to cover their own travel).
STIFF Licks adds a ten day music (indie rock, punk, hip-hop) and stand-up comedy festival to the films, turning STIFF into a complete independent entertainment experience.
We keep the price of our badges low to ensure good attendance. We have a very loyal audience that continues to grow each year. The festival and filmmakers get excellent press every year - STIFF was mentioned in CNN's Indie Guide along with SXSW, and indie staples like Richard Linklater and Mos Def.
Most of all, STIFF is about having fun. Don't take my word for it though, check out some clips from last year's fest: