SIFF News, Week Four

Filmmakers Forum.

DIGITAL. It's a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. With Mike Figgis' split-screen, digitally shot TimeCode getting rave reviews and local companies such as AtomFilms streaming short movies on the Internet, digital film is becoming an increasingly viable medium for independent filmmakers. Local writer and director William Azaroff, whose upcoming feature The Engagement Party was shot digitally, asserts that the new medium isn't just a cost-saving measure, but may actually be a creative asset. Azaroff shares some how-to advice at SIFF's "Shooting Digital" Filmmakers Forum (6/9, 10am), along with director Alex Nohe, who also went digital for his SIFF doc Burning Man—The Burning Sensation. 26th ANNUAL SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

May 18-June 11 Friday, dubbed "new media day," also includes panels on sales (noon, with publicist Kathleen McInnis), storytelling (2pm, with D.FILM Digital Film Festival founder Bart Cheever), and technology (4pm, with Azaroff). Aspiring auteurs hungry for behind-the-scenes industry knowledge can attend Saturday's forums titled "Distributors and Critics" (10am) and "Performing Artists: Character Actors and Emerging Stars" (noon), which features actress Michelle Phillips (Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel) and others discussing the often unglamorous workdays of a screen star. "Cinema in Transition" concludes the day at 2pm with SIFF directors Karyn Kusama (Girlfight) and Zhang Yang (Shower and Spicy Love Soup) expected to attend. However, this advice doesn't come cheap. Each panel costs $10 (or $100 for the entire series), "a waste of money" says one past participant, "very informative," says another. Local Super-8 filmmaker I.H. Kuniyuki recommends the panels featuring actual directors discussing their actual films. They're "the best bang for the buck," she says. As for the panels on funding and distribution, Kuniyuki gives the best advice of all: "Why pay for it? Just do it."

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