ByDesign Festival 2020 is Going ONLINE!!

March 16, 2020

Northwest Film Forum’s physical space is closed temporarily in light of public health concerns and COVID-19, but ART offers hope, and it must endure, especially in times of difficulty. Despite the closure, we believe it is important to design adaptable solutions to continue building community, fostering dialogue, offering education, and furthering our increasingly vital mission. ByDesign’s streaming program will be posted at as we move all possible festival programming onto a virtual platform.

If for some reason you are unhappy with our efforts, you can get a refund on your ticket through Brown Paper Tickets (email with your confirmation number within 2 weeks) OR you can take this opportunity to support Northwest Film Forum by turning that money into a donation (no further action required).

Please see our up-to-date announcements here: or make a contribution at

Should you have any other questions, please e-mail our Executive Director Vivian Hua at

Much love and appreciation,




A letter from ByDesign founder Peter Lucas, for the occasion of the 20th ByDesign Festival:

From the very beginning, the annual ByDesign festival was intended as a question more than an answer. What may have seemed at first to be a little niche program, was in fact one of the boldest and most enduring programming experiments of Northwest Film Forum–then, a small, relatively young artist-run organization that had just begun to think really creatively about cinema as nexus for arts, culture, and community.

Though ByDesign was framed most simply as an exploration of design in and through films, it has always been more broadly about connecting people and ideas, celebrating the history and currents of multidisciplinary endeavors, and nudging audiences to look a little differently at the inherent qualities of all created experiences.

The first film shown at ByDesign’s inaugural program was Design Q&A–part of a special screening of films made by multidisciplinary husband-and-wife team, Charles and Ray Eames. In that 1972 short, Charles Eames gives eloquent, sometimes humorously brief answers to a series of questions posed by French curator Madame L’Amic about the nature and practice of design. His poetic pragmatism about arrangement of elements, acceptance of constraints, acknowledgment of influences, and the potential usefulness of pleasure might as well be about any and all creative practices, or life in general. The film’s final question, “What is the future of design?” is brilliantly left to linger unanswered.

Over the next dozen or so years of ByDesign’s wildly eclectic programming–including countless amazing films, audiovisual installations and performances, guest speakers, discussions, and workshops–I often thought of its first packed screening and the palpable sense of collective wonder in that particular moment when “the future” was graciously given over to the imaginations of audience members. And as principal curator and organizer of ByDesign during those years, I was guided by the wisdom of allowing the question to be open. In this sense, the festival was “designed” to be vehemently undefined.

I’m overjoyed that ByDesign has continued to unfold over two decades, and I’m very proud of my part in setting this ongoing collaborative experiment in motion. ByDesign has been a unique and ever-changing playground of experiences and inquiries for the entirety of this century! I thank and congratulate all of the many collaborators who have contributed to its evolution, including all participants of this year’s 20th anniversary program.

— Peter Lucas
ByDesign Founder and Curator, 2000–2013

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1515 12th Ave,

Seattle, WA 98122

206 329 2629

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