NFFTY — the National Film Festival for Talented Youth — kicked off this past Thursday with a gala opening at Seattle’s Cinerama theater, followed by an after party high at the Columbia Tower Club, atop the 76 story high Columbia Center.
It was a fitting location, because NFFTY started small, but had big dreams. What was a one-day event back in 2007 has grown into a four-day event, this year featuring 227 films from 33 states and 24 different countries.
All but one film are shorts, and the filmmakers as young as 13 (the upper cut off age is 25). NFFTY’s aims are to encourage the next generation of filmmakers, and the festival gives you an excellent opportunity to sample from a variety of different works. Opening night featured the shorts “Take Flight,” in which a woman takes an unexpected and magical journey; “Looking Down,” a sad tale about a woman making a crucial decision in her life; “Hum,” reminiscent of “Wall-E,” with a robot who works in a restaurant getting some help from an unexpected friend; “Persephone Goes Home,” a humorous look at life back home after college; and “Vitals,” a documentary about an Israeli ambulance driver. All the films displayed a freshness and imagination that’s seemingly missing from big budget Hollywood features.
Films will screen at the Uptown Cinema through Sunday. As NFFTY’s program puts it, “Skip the Cineplex, the future of independent film is right here!” Tickets are available at the box office or online.