Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) is a non-profit film arts organization established in Seattle in 1995. NWFF operates a two-screen movie theater year-round in Seattle, but also offers workshops, equipment rentals, and filmmaking grants and sponsorships in support of local cinema. NWFF also provides a prominent showcase for local filmmakers every fall with "Local Sightings," a week-long festival for the best of Northwestern film and video.
NWFF was founded in 1995 by filmmakers Jamie Hook and Deborah Girdwood as WigglyWorld Studios. Working on a film of their own, Hook and Girdwood decided to donate the equipment and facilities purchased for that project to a "filmmaker's collective" that could benefit the entire city. The organization hoped to promote the creation of independent film in Seattle.
NWFF instituted the nationally-known "Start-to-Finish" grant, in which all stages of a project's production are assisted, from fundraising to filming to exhibition. Launched in 1997 with filmmaker Gregg Lachow's feature film, Money Buys Happiness, this program has been noted in such publications as Filmmaker Magazine and Indiewire. Recent grant recipient Robinson Devor's Police Beat premiered as one of only sixteen films in Dramatic Competition at Sundance in 2005.
NWFF grew first with the 1996 purchase of Seattle art-house movie theater The Grand Illusion Cinema, and later with the 1998 founding of the multi-function Little Theatre. In 2004, NWFF consolidated operations in one location, in Seattle's Pike-Pine neighborhood.
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