The Vashon Film Institute (VFI), a new non-profit organization dedicated to promoting independent filmmaking in the Pacific Northwest, has announced that it will host the inaugural Vashon Island Film Festival (VIFF) from August 12-14. at the Vashon Theatre.
The festival will screen 10 feature films and 10 short films that have recently distinguished themselves on the festival circuit, and will feature a variety of other film-centric events for festival patrons, including an opening gala and the evening of the Saturday evening, as well as some seminars and conferences given by invited personalities working in the film industry.
One hundred percent of all proceeds generated by VIFF will go to the Vashon Theatre, the island’s only and iconic cinema built in 1947 and family run.
“Our goal is to create a unique festival experience for the island and its neighboring communities, showcasing preeminent independent film content, while helping to preserve a local site of significant cultural and historical significance,” said the prolific producer. of films and president of VFI, Mark Mathias Sayre.
Sayre, who grew up on Vashon and has now returned to live here, is passionate about the importance of independent cinemas in general, and the Vashon Theater in particular.
“Independent theaters have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic, and most now need help from their community to keep their doors open,” he said. “The Vashon Theater is a historic and seminal institution that is largely responsible for my decision to pursue a career in film, so I feel a strong call to support it and I am confident that VIFF can be part of that solution. ”
The inaugural festival will feature films curated by Sayre and the VFI team, with a deliberately manageable schedule.
“Due to the fast-paced nature of organizing our first outing, we decided to schedule the festival ourselves,” says Sayre. “But it offers the benefit of quality control. We were able to identify – and research – a handful of varied and outstanding films that resonated with audiences on the festival circuit.
Sayre said he expects the festival to grow in the coming years.
“However, going forward, our plan is to institute a submission process with more formal qualification parameters, where we will focus on films that have not yet secured distribution and have not been supported. by major studios during the production process,” he said.
This curatorial bent will set VIFF apart from many other contemporary festivals, he said.
“We don’t want this experience to be unique, so we set the bar as high as possible,” he said. “We want VIFF to be the kind of festival where independent filmmakers seek to stage their world premieres.”
The film festival’s motto, he said, describes its purpose and objective – “Put the independent back into the film festival”.
While VFI intends to apply for grants and other funding opportunities available to nonprofit organizations to cover operating expenses, it also hopes to rely heavily on the support of local communities through donations. charities, sponsorships and volunteering.
“It takes a village, and I’m glad the village is Vashon,” Sayre adds. “Our little island in Puget Sound holds a special place in my heart, and a big part of that is its people’s ardent support for the arts. We sincerely hope that the community will embrace the festival and we are actively seeking contributors and collaborators in multiple ways. Anyone interested in participating can find more information on the VIFF website or stop me in the driveway of Thriftway for a quick chat.
VFI plans to announce the official VIFF lineup in the coming weeks, after which registration will open for festival badges. Three different tiers of badges will be available for purchase – a three-movie package, a six-movie package, and a 10-movie package for the most dedicated moviegoers.
Spectators can additionally buy tickets for a day of screening if they remain available for the screening.
Other events to be held at VIFF include its opening gala, where badge holders can mingle with filmmakers, a Saturday night party, featuring live music, street food, an outdoor cafe air and some seminars/conferences presented by industry professionals.
“As we achieve our goals at VIFF, we hope to expand the ancillary events offered at future festivals,” Sayre said. “As well as celebrating independent filmmaking, we hope VIFF can also educate and empower. In the best-case scenario, our program helps motivate the creation of more art.”
Founded by veteran independent film producer Mark Mathias Sayre, the Vashon Film Institute (VFI) is dedicated to promoting independent filmmaking in the Pacific Northwest, including the launch of two programs: the Vashon Island Film Festival and Vashon Scholars, a multi-week summer film. intensive education program it plans to host for young people on the island from 2023. The non-profit’s board of directors currently includes Maura Little, Isaac Mann and Peter Serko.
Follow the festival via its social networks or visit vashonislandfilmfestival.com to find out more.