Free Classes, Events, and Resources


Open Lab

What is Open Lab Night and whom does it serve?

Open Lab Night at Northwest Film Forum is free, open to everyone, and provides access to professional editing equipment and software in the NWFF Edit Lab, including Adobe Creative Cloud, Final Cut Pro x, and Davinci Resolve. Our goal is to connect artists and filmmakers in our community to the resources they need to create. Open Lab Night is staffed by a volunteer local filmmaker who can help you get set up, offer advice on projects, and help connect you to other resources.  Our Edit Lab has 6 iMac workstations, DVD drives, and headphones. Bring your project on a hard drive and come join in the fun!


Dates & Times:

Open Lab is most Tuesday nights, from 6-8pm. See below for specific dates.


1-3  6-8pm

1-10  6-8pm

1-17  6-8pm

1-24  6-8pm

1-31  6-8pm


Is Open Lab Night Accessible?

The NWFF Edit Lab and restrooms are wheelchair accessible.


Is there tech or staff support available?

A volunteer will greet you, provide login information, and share the wifi info. Volunteer staff are there to provide additional help and troubleshooting should you need, but will vary depending on experience level.


How can I use the Edit Lab at other times?

NWFF members may use the Edit Lab M-F, 10am-6pm for $5/hour.


What software is on the Edit Lab computers

Adobe Creative Cloud (Premiere Pro, After Effects, etc.), Final Cut Pro x, Davinci Resolve, Final Cut Express, ProTools, and more.


Can I save my work on Edit Lab computers?

No. Please bring an external hard drive or save your projects to the cloud. Computers in the lab are cleaned frequently and you will lose your project if you do not back it up externally.


Can I eat while I work?

Nope. Please respect our space by keeping it clean! You are welcome to eat in the lobby.


How can I help support NWFF and programs like the Open Lab Night?
Make a gift to our annual fund drive here!


Help Desk

 The Artist Services Help Desk

The Artist Services Help Desk at the Northwest Film Forum gives you access to a local filmmaker to work with you through an obstacle you may have with your film or video project. 

  • Script feedback
  • Talk through storyboards
  • Workshop a scene
  • Identify equipment needs
  • Review budget
  • Explore grants
  • and more! 

Help Desk will be open with a local filmmaker to answer your questions and help connect you to resources every Thursday from 3:30pm to 7pm. Feel free to walk in but priority will be given to those who schedule in advance. To schedule a session click here.

If you have questions email [email protected]


How to Choose Creative Projects - Saki Mafundikwa

April 30th (Sunday) 3:00-4:30pm

Instructor: Saki Mafunkikwa
Free - Registration Required!

Local filmmaker Saki Mafundikwa will share about his journey as an artist, and how he chooses projects. He says “I have a specific way of choosing my projects, and it's never about money.” Saki is a designer, design educator, filmmaker, farmer and the founder and director of the Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts (ZIVA) in Harare. His book Afrikan Alphabets: the Story of Writing in Afrika, is the first book on Afrikan typography. His film, Shungu: The Resilience of a People premiered at IDFA 2009. He was a speaker at TED2013. He has recently relocated to Seattle. Join us for this inspiring session, then grab some food and come back for the screening of his award-winning documentary feature, "Shungu: The Resilience of a People".

Click here to sign up for this class


The Challenges of Making a Personal Documentary

April 28th (Friday) 6:00-7:00pm

Instructors: Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker
Free - Registration Required!

Visiting Filmmakers Filmmakers Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker will host an in-depth discussion of the process of making a personal documentary and the challenges/pitfalls of putting yourself in your own movie. Anyone interested in making a personal documentary can learn how to avoid potential pitfalls and find inspiration to overcome the fears that are part of that creative journey.

Join us at 8pm for the screening of their film, Karl Marx City - described as a “Must-see...A biographical portrait and a work of sociopolitical archaeology, Karl Marx City is an essayistic, quietly moving look at another lost world...the movie draws you in quickly with its intelligence, its restrained emotions and its jaw-dropping period material, which includes some wildly creepy Stasi surveillance imagery.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Click here to sign up for this class


Meet Up for a Cause: Filmmakers and Grassroots Groups

April 27th (Thursday) 7:00pm - 9:00pm 

Co-presented with Seattle Documentary Association.

Now more than ever, film is a powerful tool for amplifying voices, inciting empathy, and shedding light on social issues. As visual storytellers, filmmakers have invaluable skills to offer to the community. Grassroots groups that champion progressive causes lead the way in creating and inspiring positive change. At this meet-up, filmmakers and community groups can link up for video projects that highlight important social change work. In the first meet-up of this event in January, over 100 filmmakers and change-makers were able to connect and learn ways to make more successful projects for causes. 

6pm: happy hour in the lobby
7pm: Screening & Discussion of successful projects
7:30-8:30pm: Breakout Groups - Share what you know with someone who needs to know!
-Video and Audio Tips: Grassroots groups, bring your gear, even if it's a phone, and get tips from a filmmaker on how to get the best footage with the tools you have. >>In the NWFF Workshop Room
-Editing & Asset Management: Partner with an editor to learn some new techniques for working with media you've already collected. >> In the NWFF Edit Lab
-For Filmmakers: Get and share advice for creating great partnerships and managing smooth projects >>In Cinema 1
8:30-9pm: Networking and resource sharing
Click here to register for this event - Free! Choose your breakout session preference during registration.
Followup resources and information from the first event:

Event feedback survey - Tell us what would help you at future events!

 - This google group reaches over 2000 local filmmakers, actors, and creators. Anyone can post requests for help and film/video project proposals. Guidelines are provided to protect user information, so please read carefully.

Open Lab - Free access to our edit lab with 6 iMac computers, professional editing software and internet. Most Tuesdays, 6-8pm. Grant access is also available for mission aligned projects as space is available.

Space Access - This service makes multiple rooms in our Capitol Hill venue available at no cost every Thursday.

Help Desk - The Artist Services Help Desk at the Northwest Film Forum gives you access to a local filmmaker to work with you through an obstacle you may have with your film or video project.

Our cinemas are also available to rent for events at reduced rates for nonprofits. 




Checking the Gate: Blanket Fort Films Symposiums


Seattle Cinematographer Series

November 14th (Monday) 6:30pm - 8:30pm 
Instructors: Professional Seattle Cinematographers (See Below)
Tuition: **Members Only** Free

In this 6-month series, spend an evening each month with a working Seattle cinematographer as they share their craft.

Lectures will include cinematographers breaking down their favorite scenes, reverse-engineering the aesthetics for a scene of their own, discussing the the tools they use to achieve their film looks, exploring their process and work flow, reviewing their own history from an emerging filmmaker to a professional and spending time answering your questions about cinematography.

June 20th - Jacob Rosen
July 18th - Ryan Purcell
August 15th - Sebastian Scandiuzzi
Sept 19th - June Zandona
November 14th - Jonathan Houser



Crowdfunding to Build Independence

 November 29th (Tuesday) 7:00-9:00pm

Free! Registration required - Click here to reserve your seat.

Join us for this special workshop presented by Seed&Spark.

* * * * 

Crowdfunding to Build Independence is workshop designed to help you leverage the tools for great crowdfunding to build a direct relationship with your audience that will last your entire career.

The only proven path to independence as an artist is a direct connection to your audience. Crowdfunding has become a fundamental piece of most financing plans for independent film. But most filmmakers miss the opportunity to leverage the power of crowdfunding for one film into an audience-building opportunity that can last an entire career – and provide the groundwork for effective distribution. In order to leverage this opportunity, it requires a new way of coming to work, and that’s what you’ll learn here.

We’ve taught this class at over 100 film festivals, schools and organizations around the country, and gathered learning from the thousands of filmmakers we’ve met and hundreds of campaigns we’ve supported. Fun Fact: Filmmakers who have attended these classes have a Seed&Spark crowdfunding campaign success rate of 100%!


Julie Keck takes care of media and communication strategy at Seed&Spark. She joined the team with 10 years of filmmaking and 5 of crowdfunding under her belt. Julie has run or consulted on crowdfunding projects that have raised over $300k total, and she’s spoken about social media for creatives, sustainable filmmaking, and audience engagement at SXSW, the University of Notre Dame, the Chicago International Film Festival, and more. Julie is also co-author of Social Media Charm School, a social media guide for filmmakers, available now for free on the Seed&Spark site. Play with her on Twitter as @KingIsAFink


Lindy Boustedt is an award‐winning filmmaker and co‐owner of First Sight Productions, where she writes, edits, directs and produces narrative features and shorts with her husband Kris. Lindy has produced dozens of films, including three features, and created media for nonprofit fundraisers and corporate promotions. Most recently she was project manager for Seattle University’s Film & Family Homelessness Project, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which produced American Refugees, four short animated films about family homelessness in Washington state. 




For Seattle Filmmakers: Explore Opportunities with Sesame Workshop

5pm – 6:30pm, January 28, 2017

After 46 years in existence, Sesame Workshop is continuing to find new ways to help kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder. Join Director of Creative Development Jordan Geary as he takes filmmakers through the ins and outs of how Sesame finds new filmmaking talent, the unique process of producing content with Sesame Workshop, and new opportunities the company is utilizing for creators of short and longform content to show their work to the world. Presentation will be followed by a brief portfolio review of their work.
Workshop if Full!
Location - Northwest Film Forum - 1515 12th Ave



Open Screening

Every first Monday of the Month

*Canceled Sept. 5th for Labor Day

6:30pm - 7:00pm Filmmaker Happy Hour
7:00pm - 8:30pm Screenings

Are you a local filmmaker looking to share your work? Seeking feedback on your film? Want to see what other people are currently working on? Come join us for our monthly opening screening! Hang out with new and established filmmakers and experience films being made right here in our community.

Films are shown on a first-come, first-served basis. Individual screen time is a 10 minute maximum, with the option for 10 minutes of feedback or discussion. Please read other tech details below.

File Requirements:
Under 1GB
Under 10 mins
Quicktime h.264
Playable with VLC media player (test your own files in advance)
Clearly labeled on a USB thumb drive (will be returned)
Film file in an easily accessed folder (/NWFF)



Open Script Read

Free event!
Happy Hour: 6:30pm
Readings: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Last Monday of the month (skipping December)

Monday, Nov 28 at 06:30PM

Join Northwest Film Forum for a monthly Open Script Read! Local screenwriters and filmmakers may submit 10 pages of their original work in order to hear a live table read, with an ensemble of professional actors, and get feedback from both actors and other participants.

Northwest Film Forum's Open Script Read will accept submissions up to 5 days before each reading. Each submission should be no more than 10 pages of a screenplay or teleplay. Please write a couple of lines about the project—is it a feature film, short film, TV or web series? What it the total length of the script?

We suggest submitting the first 10 pages of your script, but if you very specifically want the actors to read a different scene from your script, just make sure that you do not exceed 10 pages and that you write a few introductory lines that will provide context for the actors.Open Script Read is. . .open.

Each month, we'll begin with a happy hour from 6:30-7pm, giving actors and filmmakers a chance to meet in an informal setting. At 7pm, we'll gather around a table and do 4 script reading and feedback sessions - approximately 30 minutes each. Screenwriter and filmmaker Daryle Conners will moderate the session and provide structure for the feedback.If you would like to submit a script, please send a Word or Final Draft document to [email protected]                        

We will schedule the reading sessions based on a first-come, first-served basis and will publish a list of the featured writers/scripts at least 48 hours before the event. Four scripts will be featured at each Open Script Read.