Filmmaker Toolkits – DEVELOPMENT

Aug 18 - Aug 25, 2021
4 Workshops


The Development Toolkit helps demystify many of the most brain-twisting pre-production processes that loom large on the path to the (arguably) more thrilling parts of filmmaking.


Each Filmmaker Toolkit series is comprised of four separately ticketed consultation sessions.

  • Single-session registration: $125*

Series passes are available for access to all four sessions!

  • Series pass: $400*


Each session has one keynote speaker, with their own Zoom meeting date and time. Sessions begin with a ~15-minute presentation by the keynote speaker, followed by questions and free-form discussion among the speaker and the group.


* A limited number of scholarship seats are available in each session. Email vivian ({[at}]) nwfilmforum ({[dot}]) org with inquiries!

Featured Speakers

Script development with Lindy West, drawing up a fundraising plan with Jennessa West, deciphering legalese with Matthew Dresden, and working with agents and managers with Jen Au.

Aug. 19 at 7:30pm PT – Demystifying Representation: Agents, Managers & More from Jen Au

Jen Au

Jen Au

Literary Manager

Jen Au is a literary manager and producer representing creators in all genres and across many mediums. She began her career working at an independent production company followed by time at The Firm and CAA, and was previously a literary manager at Caliber Media and Untitled Entertainment. She is a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Jen is a firm believer in the magic and power of storytelling, and in the responsibility we have to the stories we help to create and share.

Aug. 25 at 6:30pm PT – Production Legal Tips from Matthew Dresden

Matthew Dresden

Matthew Dresden

NWFF Board Member & Lawyer
FB: matthew.dresden

Matthew Dresden is an entertainment attorney based in Seattle. He provides finance, development, production, and distribution legal services for filmmakers and other creative artists, and has worked on behalf of film studios, cable channels, production companies, video game developers, magazines, restaurants, wineries, international design firms, product manufacturers, outsourcing companies, and computer hardware and software companies. He also advises a wide range of businesses on their corporate and transactional matters, with an emphasis on media and entertainment, international intellectual property, and cross-border work. Matthew is widely viewed as an expert in Chinese intellectual property law, and is regularly quoted in publications from the New York Times to The Economist to Variety.

Before attending law school, Matthew worked in Hollywood for eight years as an independent filmmaker, starting as a production executive for Roger Corman’s Concorde-New Horizons Pictures. Before that, he was a computer science graduate student at Stanford University. He has also worked as a journalist, a transportation planner, a food critic, and a website designer.

In addition to serving as Northwest Film Forum’s Treasurer, Matthew is currently District 7N Governor for the Washington State Bar Association. He is also an adjunct professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, where he teaches a clinic on legal issues for independent filmmakers. Previously, he served for 8 years on the board of the Washington State Bar Association’s International Practice Section, including a term as chair.

Matthew was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He spends his free time watching movies, hiking, cooking spicy food, and relaxing with his wife and daughter.

Aug. 23 at 10am PT – Developing Your Fundraising Plan with Jennessa West

Jennessa West

Jennessa West

Producer, Thin Skin
FB: jennessaw IG: jennessa_west

Jennessa West is the founder of Pressing Pictures – a production company dedicated to creating diverse commercial and narrative works. West started her career working in long form episodic television in Los Angeles for companies as Warner Brothers Television, FX and CBS Productions. Jennessa’s recent producing credits include Megan Griffith’s feature film SADIE which premiered in competition at SXSW 2018 with distribution through Amazon. SJ Chiro’s coming-of-age film LANE 1974 with Katherine Moenning, which premiered at SXSW in 2017 and received two grand jury prizes from acclaimed festivals and distribution through The Orchard. She produced MY LAST YEAR WITH THE NUNS with fellow producer Michael Seiwerath which premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival in 2014 with distribution through Fandor. Jennessa’s latest feature, THIN SKIN, is making its way around the festival circuit and will premiere in September 2021.

Aug. 18 at 7:30pm PT – Developing Your Script with Lindy West

Lindy West

Lindy West

Writer & Producer: Shrill, Thin Skin
FB: thelindywest

Lindy West is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and the author of Shit, Actually: The The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema, as well as the New York Times bestselling memoir Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman and the essay collection The Witches Are Coming.

Her work has also appeared in This American Life, The Guardian, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Vulture, Jezebel, and others. She is the co-founder of the reproductive rights destigmatization campaign #ShoutYourAbortion.

Lindy is a writer and executive producer on Shrill, the Hulu comedy adapted from her memoir. She co-wrote and produced the independent feature film Thin Skin.

Photo credit: Jenny Jimenez / Hatchette Books

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Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Ave,

Seattle, WA 98122

206 329 2629

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