The Seattle Film Summit is coming up in mid-November and boasts a whole host of exciting speakers and guests including legendary Blazing Saddles screenwriter, Norman Steinberg, Horrible Bosses producer, Mary Rohlich, Blackish executive producer, Brian Dobbins, and ICM Partners literary agent, Ava Greenfield. Here Mandy News sits down with the Seattle Film Summit founders to find out what attendees can expect from the weekend.
Tell us about the Seattle Film Summit, when you set it up and why you set it up?
Seattle Film Summit (SFS) started several years ago by Ben Andrews, a prominent actor, writer, director and producer in the Pacific Northwest. Ben recognised a need for content generators to convene in a resource-driven environment, especially with the growth of content generation and storytelling in the Northwest.
A revamped program and direction in 2017 led to a flagship event last December that was the first of its kind in the region. Ben and his partners, producer Lorraine Montez and LA studio screenwriter Jonathan H. Keasey, designed SFS as a port of call for filmmakers and other content creators living and working in the Pacific Northwest and Los Angeles.
The Summit’s 2017 event reflected a significant change in the organisation’s goals and focus. Simply put, the intrepid partners created a conduit to storytellers that didn’t previously exist in the region.
One LA panelist who attended the 2017 event noted that, “The amount of talent found from the creatives in the Pacific Northwest was staggering…From animated short films to hard-hitting dramas and even an ecological documentary, the creativity from those who attended the SFS was remarkable.”
The sold-out event changed the landscape for content creators and catapulted the organisation into new territory focused on creating a major entertainment conduit for the Pacific Northwest.
And what is your background? Are you all Seattlelites?
Jonathan H. Keasey is from the Seattle area. Ben was raised in the area, and Lorraine, while originally from New Mexico, has lived longer in the Seattle area than she did in her home state, so she may as well be a Seattleite.
What can people expect from Seattle Film Summit? Who attends? When does it from run from and until?
Content generators, storytellers, filmmakers and actors can enjoy panels focused on where to find investors, how to distribute a film, and what casting directors are looking for in auditions. Networking with panelists, casting directors, other filmmakers and decision-makers is an integral part of the two-day event.
Making an appearance at this year’s event is renowned screenwriter Norman Steinberg who penned Blazing Saddles. Also speaking will be Blackish executive producer Brian Dobbins. After their individual sessions, the two men will join a panel discussion on the current state of filmmaking and discuss what Blazing Saddles would look like if made today.
Also making its debut at SFS will be the new Bigfoot Northwest Script Challenge where $6,500 and unparalleled Hollywood access will be awarded to the next great voices in screenwriting. Winners will be announced at the event.
Some of the industry’s top film industry experts have signed on to be panelists and presenters at the event SFS 2018 Panelists.
∙ Chris Lockhart, Senior Story Editor – William Morris Endeavor
∙ Mary Rohlich, Producer – Horrible Bosses, Gleason
∙ Gary Glushon, Producer – 24 Hours to Live, Valerian, Straight out of Compton
∙ Ava Greenfield, Literary Agent – ICM Partners
∙ Norman Steinberg: Iconic screenwriter for Blazing Saddles.
All panelists can be viewed at: https://www.seattlefilmsummit.com
The event is Saturday and Sunday, November 17-18 at the new Interurban Hotel, 223 Andover Park E, Tukwila, Washington, 98188.
What are the important topics that you cover at the Seattle Film Summit?
This year’s program includes help for content generators and filmmakers with securing investors, finding distributors for completed films and a screenplay pitch session among other offerings. A casting director panel will also give advice to actors and talk about what makes for the best auditions.
The expanded programming offered by the Summit means storytellers and other content creators can connect with heavy-hitting decision-makers, content consumers, distributors, and panelists from Los Angeles. Pacific Northwest panelists associated with notable organisations such as The Film School and Northwest Screenwriters Guild also provide registrants more opportunities to network and secure work in the region.
What advice can you give to people attending the Seattle Film Summit to get the most out of it?
– Have fun!
– Attend both days if possible – there are different offerings and different professionals to hear, meet and talk with each day.
– Network, network, network.
– Practice your story pitches - practice makes perfect. You do your best pitch on the way home in the car. Practice ensures you will give your best pitch in front of people who can move your project forward or get excited about helping you support your endeavours.
– Remember that the networking opportunities are just as valuable as the panels and sessions. Come ready to not only talk about your project but listen to others about theirs. You never know when you might find a perfect creative match.
– Stay over at the hotel if possible. Networking occurs at all hours, and some of the best networking can be done over drinks after the pressure of an event day is over.
– Remember business cards.
– Dress in comfortable shoes.
– Have fun! (We know we said that above, but it bears repeating. Those who have fun are more effective and successful at getting where they want to go).
And for those out-of-towners, tell us a little bit about what it’s like in Seattle itself, both during the Summit and the rest of the year? Both for artists and just visitors.
Seattle is ranked 5th on Expedia’s “Super Cool US Cities". Washington is one of the few states where nearly every climate zone on earth can be reached within two hours. Tech, biotech, online and other innovative businesses are exploding, and with it, demand for entertainment.
Seattle is home to world-renowned chefs, sports-teams, arts, and music.
The 2018 Summit is being held a block away from one of the country’s largest malls – South Center Mall. Hotel Interurban is new and houses a robot butler that delivers room service to hotel guests amid a modern décor setting.
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