An informative Q&A session with SSFF director Daniel Hoyos
What sets Seattle Shorts Film Festival apart from other film festivals?
The Seattle Shorts Film Festival focuses on showcases the best shorts in the world while, giving filmmakers the opportunity to network with other filmmakers and celebrity guests. The festival also focuses on screening films in a one of kind unique 93-seat theater (SIFF Film Center) that let’s filmmakers, and attendee’s interact with each other on a more personal level. The Seattle Shorts receives over 1,000 submissions annually from the U.K. to Hollywood, and we’re the only film festival in Seattle where a local actress like Rachelle Henry can screen in the same block with someone like Allie Grant from Suburgatory.
What can attendees expect from this year's event?
For 2016 we’re introducing our very first industry panel tilted “Navigating the Film Festival Circuit” which, will give aspiring filmmakers and the general public a wealth of knowledge about how best to prepare their next short film for the thousands of festivals out there. We’re also excited to announce the panel will feature past Seattle Shorts alumni directors including Kendra Ann Sherrill, Wonder Russell, Bunee Tomlinson, Joseph Marconi, and Karen Glienke. The Seattle Shorts Film Festival will also be hosting an all-night dance at the Seattle Center Next 50 Saturday November 12th, 2016.
Is there something in particular that you look for in submissions? Or are there multiple factors?
Each year the festival receives over 1,000 submissions, and due to our limited programming space along with the numerous fantastic films that we view the selections get more difficult each year. When selecting shorts films we always try to think about what the Seattle audience would like to see on the big screen, and what’s something that would be different and unique. The main point is short films are very special because they tell a whole storyline in a short span of time, and all the films we screen in November you can only catch once at the Seattle Shorts Film Festival.
Do you have an interesting memory of a previous festival?
In 2014 I took over from the pervious director not really knowing what to expect in terms of attendance, but we sold-out the whole festival. In fact we had so many people inside the SIFF Film Center, people could barely move around because, the attendance was so high for a one-day film festival. Now we expended to a full weekend of programming. Also my first year we invited actress Venus DeMilo Thomas, whom you might remember from Nickelodeon’s Salute Your Shorts just having her mingle with filmmakers was a really cool experience.
How is your festival received locally in Seattle?
We have a very close working relationship with SIFF, which owns the theater we screen at each year and also runs the Seattle International Film Festival. The local attendances love having us be a part of their community, and the local filmmakers love to tell all their friends about us. This year we signed on a new hotel sponsor
The Mediterranean Inn located just a few blocks away from the theater, which is another way we’re helping strengthen our relationship in the Queen Anne Neighborhood.
Where do you see or would like to see your Festival in 5 years?
My ultimate goal for the Seattle Shorts Film Festival is to continue to grow our audience, and someday move to the Uptown Theater, which is SIFF’s bigger theater. Also someday I would love the Seattle Shorts Film Festival to be an Oscar qualifying film festival.
Can you give Indie Filmmakers some advice on producing their first film?
When producing your first short film the number one thing to keep in mind is the budget, and making sure you don’t go over the amount you set for the production. Nothing is more embarrassing for a first time filmmaker than not being able to pay your cast, and crew because you ran out of money.