Northwest Film Forum 


Northwest Film Forum is a leader in exploring and celebrating the art of film. We are open 360 days a year, screening films, offering classes in film production and film history, and supporting emerging voices locally, nationally and internationally. We aim for transformative experiences, engaging the general public and artists alike in deeper exploration of film as an art form.

Mission Statement
Our mission is to discover and champion the work of visionary filmmakers, and to engage the general public and artists alike in deeper exploration of the art of film.
Donate Now
Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Avenue 
(206) 329-2629 

Lyall Bush 
Executive Director 


Northwest Film Forum Programs

The award-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins observed that “Northwest Film Forum is a model for sustaining regional cinema and it is to be cherished."

Founded in 1995, Northwest Film Forum is Seattle’s most comprehensive nonprofit center for the film arts. Every year we screen over 200 independent, international, classic, documentary, and avant-garde films that include festivals, director retrospectives, themed series, original performances, and commissioned work. We offer 100 classes each year, from basic and advanced filmmaking to film history surveys and summer camps for young people. Perhaps most importantly, we support artists directly through grants, commissioned work, and invitations to visit with their films. 

Our partnerships help us create dynamic new programs and bring in new audiences. We have worked with the Redcat Theater in L.A., with Anthology Film Archives in New York, Seattle Met magazine and Velocity Dance Center to share or make vital programs. We tours films and festivals around the country, too. Among our 1,000 members are several hundred filmmakers. 

We are known for producing original performances and celebrations; among them are:
  • Local Sightings Film Festival, an annual showcase of 80 Pacific Northwest films.
  • Children’s Film Festival Seattle (100 films from 30 countries)
  • Live at the Film Forum, which offers dynamic new work from performers such as Marya Sea Kaminski, Jack Hitt, and Lauren Weedman)

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

In 2011 we launched a new program called Northwest Film Fund, awarding $11,000 that year to a single film. In 2012 we awarded nearly $20,000 to three films, along with a package of services totally $40,000 in value that included legal consultation, and post-production work. KCTS Channel 9, moreover, offered a broadcast contract to one film. The Fund was recently offered a grant of $25,000 with the challenge of tripling the amount of the gift. In close to 18 years, the Film Forum has supported over 700 Northwest films with equipment grants and facilities donations. We are committed to nurturing the most innovative cinematic storytellers in the region.   

Our list of needs includes a youth program manager position, finances to fully convert our theaters from 35mm projection to digital cinema projection, which is changing the face of film exhibition around the world, and technology upgrades to our four classroom spaces. 


Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) plays a central role in the community promoting, presenting and creating the film arts.

Proven Success
Northwest Film Forum seeks to transform a viewing experience into live discussion and reflection. They focus on sharing films to foster an awareness and understanding of cinema as an art form and engaging audiences in conversations. They attract a younger crowd typically between the ages of 18-30 years old.

NWFF empowers local filmmakers by bringing quality programming to the community and by giving filmmakers access to the facilities and equipment necessary to create films. They had 4 artists bring films to Sundance last year.

In 2009 the Film Forum adopted a three-year strategic plan that integrates their film screenings, classes and artist support.

Income for Fiscal Year 2009 (October 2008- September 2009) was down 30%. In July they conducted a major fundraising drive and raised $47,000 of the $70,000 shortfall. They are on target to eliminate last year’s debt and end this fiscal year with a $20,000 reserve fund.

They work collaboratively with others in the film and arts community and are respected for their quality and unique programming and their array of services to support film artists.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

9/10/2012 $5,000.00support general operating expenses.
9/10/2010 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
10/5/2006 $15,000.00support general operating expenses.


Similar Organizations

Give broadly to Arts & Culture
If broadening access and engagement with the arts, increasing arts education in public schools, and creating and preserving arts space is important to you, then make a difference by giving to the Grantmaking Program.
Questions or comments about this organization?
Contact us to learn more.