Seattle's True Independent Film Festival
Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival (STIFF) was started in 2005 by a group of filmmakers whose feature film Swamper was rejected by the Seattle International Film Festival. STIFF was modeled after the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City UT as a way to champion local and true independent films that they felt were being left out of the local film program. The Stranger film critic, Andrew Wright described it as “like a belch in church (in the best possible way)” All films that screen at STIFF receive a one-of a kind award called a “STIFFY”. Past STIFFIES run the gamut from “Best Buddy Movie”, to “Hottest Zombie”. On average, STIFF receives close to 500 submissions per year and screens over 125 films as part of the ten day event.
STIFF takes place at multiple venues throughout Seattle and strives to screen movies at unique theaters that serve food, beer, wine and alcohol during the screening. The Jewel Box at The Rendezvous’ has been a STIFF venue since 2005, Central Cinema has been an annual venue since 2006 and other venues have included the Seattle Art Museum, Northwest Film Forum, The Showbox and Nuemos.
Music and comedy
The festival has grown in the past several years to include music and comedy with performances by such notable musicians as Moby and comics from the People’s Republic of Komedy.
The festival is currently managed by Timothy Vernor with Will Chase serving as Program Director
STIFF was the brainchild of Clint Berquist, who retired from the festival in 2010. Kevin Gilbert served as the first STIFF program director and retired after the 2007 festival concluded to focus on his acting career and Mixed Martial Arts. Program Director duties were taken over at that time by Brian Shelley who also retired in 2010.
From September 2006 - 2009, STIFF began hosting a monthly screening series at Central Cinema called STIFF Nights. The goal was to feature an up and coming True Independent film. STIFF Nights was currated by Spencer Fornaciari screened award-winning films such as Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell, Murder Party, Blood Car, SNUFF, High Score, and Nerdcore For Life.
HUMP! censorship flap
STIFF got into a censorship flap with a printer (Wright Business Graphics) when they refused to print their program on moral grounds that it had an advertisement for The Stranger's HUMP! contest. Renowned indie director, and STIFF alum Lynn Shelton has since directed a film about that contest called Humpday which was accepted into the Sundance film festival and many other festivals.
- STIFF Website http://www.trueindependent.org
- Seattle Star 2013 http://www.seattlestar.net/2013/05/stiff-consolidates-itself-for-another-year-of-independent-cinema/
- The Stranger 2013 http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/festive/Content?oid=16638613
- Seattle Times 2009 http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/movies/2009278704_stiff31.html
- Moby http://www.seattlepi.com/pop/366378_moby10q.html
- Like a Belch http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=37183
- Censorship Flap http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/05/they_saw_the_hump_3_ad_and_completely_fr
- Seattle Times 2007 http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/entertainment/2003714027_stiff21.html
- Seattle Times 2006 http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/movies/2003031518_stiff01.html
- STIFF Nights http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=67562