Every year we come up with a clever tag line to promote the festival. Classics such as ‘The 5th year is wood’ & ‘Get Lucky! STIFF 7’ have served us well in the past but this year we wanted to take ourselves a bit more seriously. In the past seven years we have taken for granted that it was hard to find the types of films we feature in other places. There are quite a few film festivals in the area that are great at promoting their niches and we feel we have done justice to the true independent filmmaker.
STIFF was started after the founders made a feature film called ‘Swamper’. ‘Swamper’ was made by a group of friends without a lot money, industry connections, fancy equipment or access to established actors. The filmmakers also wanted to explore alternative subject matters such as drug use, graphic violence and the sex trade. I know the story goes that because the film was not accepted in SIFF the team decided to start their own film festival out of spite. The reality is that the other mainstream established film festivals were not interested in the film either. The filmmakers found other filmmakers creating films under similar circumstances and they were receiving the same lack of interest at the established festivals.
STIFF was started to embrace these films. True independent means the films are financed independently often from the filmmaker’s savings, credit cards, friends and family but also that the subject of the film is created independently without regards to fitting in to established genres or offending the mainstream audiences. These days with the proliferation of film festivals and the internet true independent films are much more available to the general public. Thousands of films are posted to the internet all throughout the year and can be watched in the comfort of your own home without charge.
This year we feel the need to give you more than just great True Independent Films. We still will be sifting through hundreds of submissions picking out the best examples. In addition we want to provide you with a real experience when you see a film at STIFF. An experience you just can’t get at home.
The first few years of STIFF the organizers were amazed that filmmakers from other parts of the country would pay their own way to travel to Seattle to attend STIFF and their screenings. In the last seven years we have hosted filmmakers from all over the US as well as Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia. This year we expect 70% of the films to be represented by Directors, Writers, Cinematographers, Producers and Actors. We conduct Q&A sessions after the screenings giving the audience the opportunity to engage the filmmakers in a way impossible when you watch from home. Most of the filmmakers spend several days at the festival giving our audience opportunities for more in depth conversations.
A lot of festivals have big name filmmakers in attendance but feel the need to keep the general public at a distance. STIFF is all about independent filmmakers networking and learning from each other and we invite the general public and fans of independent film to be part of the conversation. We offer no VIP access so everyone has a chance to mingle freely and meet the filmmakers whose films you admire. If you are the shy type and would like an introduction just let us know and we will be happy to make it happen. New this year is our late night happy hours. Every night (Except opening and closing night because you are invited to STIFF parties) the STIFF staff will invite you to join us for a late night happy hour at our favorite spots for bargain price food and drinks. Seattle is famous for its happy hours and we will show you some of the best. Our hope is that film talk will go on late into the night.
As our festival has grown Clint out founding Director insisted on keeping the all access passes at only $50.00. Even as we added days, additional venues, more films, bigger parties and special events Clint still kept the passes at $50.00. This year there is a lot of pressure from rising expenses and we have had to make a very tough decision. This year we will continue to offer the passes at $50.00 ($45 though our Kickstarter) but limit the quantity to only 100 so don’t wait until the last minute to get you pass.
9 Days of True Independent Film, Discussion, Networking, Parties, Food and More. May 4-12 2012
Experience !STIFF 8