The Future of Film is Here

​National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) Hits Seattle This Weekend, a preview by Kali Swenson

It's finally that time of year again—the time to showcase young film directors from around the world. NFFTY is a stand out among film festivals for precisely the reason stated in its title; it's "for talented youth." Don't be thinking amateur, though. The directors, all under age 24, of NFFTY's selections have the creativity, skills, and vision to put them on par with the best. These are high quality, well-produced, and impressively directed films with beautiful cinematography and compelling acting.

Spanning the weekend of April 23 through 26, NFFTY features all types of film, from comedy and drama to horror, animation, and documentary. All featured films are shorts gathered into themed groups—like Northwest Life, Edge of Your Seat, and Musical Masterpiece—for screenings. So attending one showing at NFFTY actually means seeing several films!

The Opening Night Gala kicks off the festival on Thursday, April 23, at Cinerama with five films and a giant party. Stars of the opening night line up include Two and a Quarter Minutes, Open 24 Hours, and Copy That.

Two and a Quarter Minutes
It only take a little over two minutes of 15-year-old Josh Ovalle's film Two and a Quarter Minutes to start tearing up at its narrator's take on life—and losing it. Its underwater, slow motion, landscape-panning, and rotating shots make for some feels too, but mostly the pretty kind.

Open 24 Hours
Being faced with a hitman would be a nightmare for most people, but Open 24 Hours by Henry Chaisson flips expectations and instead shows a nightmare situation for a hitman. There's a tension that never loosens up, even when punctuated with absurd humor. It's hard to tell who's creepier, the hitman or his middle-of-nowhere gas station foes.

Copy That
When we think of our interactions with technology in the future, a copy machine isn't exactly what's imagined. But step aside, Siri—the copy machine in Copy That is more helpful and intuitive than you could ever be. This film from Kingsley Hoskins, Barbara McCormick Thomas, and Ed Vijayavargiya is cute and laugh-out-loud funny.

Friday specials include a workshop with Danish screenwriter Rasmus Heisterberg and the Works in Progress event. Saturday shows no signs of slowing down with unique screening sets—like Poetry in Motion, Reel Animation, and Real World: Documentaries—and the screening of the only feature-length film of the festival, Sleepwalkers, from a group of 22- to 24-year-olds in New York. It all leads up to the Femme Finale and Awards Show on Sunday night.

NFFTY awesomely chose to close out the festival with films by females directors, hence Femme Finale. And, of course, those closing films are impressive. Most notable are How Do You Like My Hair?, The Provider, and Frost.

How Do You Like My Hair?
A young Norwegian woman, presumably director Emilie Blichfeldt as herself, tells the story of a night out that left her feeling both empowered and uncomfortable—aka feeling like a woman. She sets up her story with this line: "I wanted to force myself to accept my body the way it actually looks."

The Provider
This short documentary addresses the tightening up of abortion-restricting laws throughout the country, particularly in Texas, and profiles one woman who is doing what she can to defy them.

The stage of Frost is as vast as the Mojave Desert, literally, and its dancers look like sand creatures. The movement comes not only from the dancers, but from the panning of the desert landscape behind them, making the 5-minute performance seem like a vast journey.

Dozens more of the festival's short films are equally sure to blow you away. Check out NFFTY this weekend, and you may just see the future of film.

April 23 - 26

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