One year on, an update from Northwest Film Forum


About one year ago, on July 30, 2009, Northwest Film Forum sent out an urgent appeal to all of our members and supporters, asking for them to help us get out of a $70,000 financial hole we had found ourselves in. One year later, we are pleased to send this press release about our current state.

We still need all the support we can get, and are still not yet at the capacity we were at before our fiscal crisis, but we are pleased to say we are firmly back on our feet, and look forward to staying strong and continuing to expand.

Keep the good news coming!  Become a member now, or donate online.


For Immediate Release
July 8, 2010
Contact: Ryan Davis, Communications Director, NWFF

Northwest Film Forum Receives Prestigious Grant Funding, Plans to Strengthen and Expand Programs

The film arts center accepts critical financial boosts from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the NEA, and other philanthropic institutions. The Film Forum looks forward to entering its 15th year with renewed excitement and potential.

Seattle – Northwest Film Forum is pleased to announce it has received important gifts from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The organization will use the donations to strengthen existing programs and underwrite new initiatives. The Film Forum, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this fall, continues to offer exciting quarterly schedules of screenings and classes in addition to supporting filmmakers throughout the year. The organization plans to expand these programs in the future.

Northwest Film Forum is one of just two Northwest organizations to receive funding from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. The Academy’s Institutional Grants program, which granted $500,000 to 73 film arts organizations in the country, awarded the Film Forum a $5,000 grant to help underwrite the visit of filmmakers such as Miguel Gomes this September. Gomes captured attention with his daring execution of Our Beloved Month of August, which was selected to play the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes.

The National Endowment for the Arts, moreover, increased the Film Forum’s funding more than double, to $35,000, in support of director retrospectives, premieres, films for children, and several thematic programs, including the annual Local Sightings Film Festival. This critical financial boost comes approximately one year after the difficult financial year of 2009, when the organization faced a budget shortfall. In the intervening months the organization has experienced a steady incline in attendance and class registration as well as increased attention from funders and individual donors.

Local funders have been important to the Film Forum’s recovery as well, including the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, 4Culture, Artsfund, Washington State Arts Commission, and Humanities Washington. Major funding for the film art center’s year-long direct work with filmmakers comes from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

Executive Director Lyall Bush remarks, “A year ago we made it our goal to integrate our film screenings with our classes and our artist support. The word is out that our independent and international feature and documentary films are the best ways to find new voices in cinema, but what a lot of people donít know is how fine our classes are. And we are re-imagining how we support filmmakers, too. We are planning for more integration, too, and we feel proud that these new initiatives are resonating with funders.”

A year ago, Northwest Film Forum launched an ambitious new program called Live at the Film Forum, a showcase of new work commissioned from local artists that aims to expand cinema beyond the screen. Performances include dance, theater and music in combination with film. In addition, the Film Forum also began to offer film history classes under the title, Required Viewing, with classes in New Hollywood and French cinema of the ’90s. Film screenings continue to bring in large audiences: in the winter the organization experienced a wildly successful run of Frederick Wisemanís La Danse as well as a sold-out 55th anniversary screening of Rebel Without a Cause hosted by screenwriter Stewart Stern.

Last July, the Film Forum announced a budget shortfall, going into its last quarter, of $70,000, a result of the global economic downturn. The organization launched a successful fundraising campaign, raising $47,000 through over 600 individual gifts, most under $50. The new donations, in combination with solid programming, show that the organization is stable and ready to grow.

Board President Jennifer Roth observes, “In spite of the weak economy it’s clear that the city has a lot of love for Northwest Film Forum. Last summer we were humbled by the outpouring of support, and we continue to appreciate the sustained support from national and regional arts funders. Our enthusiasm for what we do has not wavered, and we are excited to move ahead with the ambitious programs the city has come to expect from us.

The Film Forum, which was founded in 1995 by independent filmmakers Deborah Girdwood and Jamie Hook, will celebrate its 15th anniversary this fall. Planned events include a week of programming that commemorates the achievements of the organization, including a retrospective of Northwest work that was produced with the support of Northwest Film Forum.

About Northwest Film Forum

Northwest Film Forum is Seattle’s premiere film arts organization, screening over 200 independently made and classic films annually, offering a year-round schedule of filmmaking classes (including summer camps for youth), and supporting filmmakers at all stages of their careers. More information is available at


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