National Film Festival for Talented Youth

National Film Festival for Talented Youth

The National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY- pronounced nifty), held annually in Seattle, Washington, showcases work by filmmakers 22 and under from across the U.S. and the world. It was created in 2007 with the goal of becoming the most influential youth-oriented film festival in North America. The festival includes film screenings, filmmaking workshops and panels, concerts by youth bands, and a gala opening night.[1]

NFFTY provides young filmmakers a full feature, multi-day festival experience with state-of-the-art venues, access to industry professionals, and broad public exposure. NFFTY brings very young (elementary age) through college age filmmakers together for cross mentoring and networking with industry professionals. It provides access for youth-made films to a diverse, all-ages audience.

NFFTY 2008 included 73 film screenings, 9 industry panels and workshops over a three day period. There were 1,800 attendees.[2] At least one film screened at the event, “March Point”, received wider distribution through PBS.[3]

NFFTY 2009 increased its screenings from 73 to 113, including international entries for the first time. More than 4,000 people attended.

NFFTY 2010 added an extra day to the festival due to the increase in submissions and attendees. Nearly 7,000 people attended.

NFFTY 2011 took place April 28 - May 1 and, with submissions from more than 20 countries and 40 US states, this year's festival screened 225 films, before an audience of about 10,000.




The National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) and its non-profit parent organization, The Talented Youth, were founded by Jesse Harris, Jocelyn R.C., and Kyle Seago. Harris wrote and directed the feature film "Living Life" when he was 17, which obtained theatrical and television distribution. This resulted in young filmmakers around the globe seeking his advice including R.C., who expressed her interest in helping to form a creative youth organization. Harris and R.C. teamed up with Seago, establishing the non-profit and holding a one night “Kick Off” festival April 26, 2007.[4]


NFFTY was expanded to a three day festival. NFFTY Earth, a campaign to promote the power of film to bring positive changes to the environment and support social justice and encourage peace and partnership with other countries, was added to festival programming. Year round young artist and community education activities were added through the program NFFTY 365.[5]


NFFTY continued as a three day festival, increasing its screenings from 73 to 113, including international entries for the first time. As part of its NFFTY Earth Campaign, NFFTY 2009 was certified as a carbon neutral event by A NFFTY Earth Benefit CD was produced, featuring 13 new songs from contemporary youth bands.


The organization agreed to add an additional day to the festival schedule, due to the higher than expected volume of entries. The 2010 festival featured 190 films from 33 states and 16 countries, and with over 6,000 people in attendance. A 48-hour film contest and industry speed networking were added as events.


With more than 700 film submissions (almost double the number from the previous year), the festival screened 225 entries from more than 20 countries and 40 US states. Once again Nike sponsored a 48-hour student filmmaking competition, and the keynote panel, moderated by Nicholas de Wolff, featured "Social Network" Producer Dana Brunetti, Web series pioneer Hayden Black, Studio marketing leader Valerie van Galder, Microsoft head of Global Community Affairs Tim Dubel, and documentary filmmaker Stan Emert. Oscar-winning filmmaker, Martin Strange-Hansen led a masterclass workshop in story structure.

Staff and Leadership

Executive Director

  • Jesse Harris

Managing Director

  • Lindsey Johnson

Outreach & Program Coordinator

  • Tara Zumpano

PR Contact

  • Elizabeth Rosenberg


  • Louis Weissman - Editorial
  • Blair Lachlan Scott - Editorial
  • Joseph Weiler - Editorial

Board of Directors

  • Donna J. Brown – President – Architect
  • John Kim - Vice-President – Product Management and Marketing at Pelago
  • Bud Harrington – Secretary - Principal, Harrington Video Productions
  • Kathy Reichgerdt – Treasurer – Principal, Venture Advisory Services
  • Jesse Harris – Co-Founder and Executive Director
  • Peter Ong Lim – Writer/Producer, POL Productions
  • Audrey R. Fan – Executive Producer
  • Moni Law – Attorney
  • Laura Carriker – Filmmaker

Advisory Board

  • Nicholas de Wolff - Chair - Co-founder Producers Guild of America New Media Council
  • John Maatta - Vice Chair - Chief Operating Officer, The CW Network
  • Jeff Davidson - Film Producer, and former COO, Honeyshed
  • Amy Lillard Dee – Executive Director, Washington FilmWorks
  • Arnaud Duteil - Producer
  • Tim Gibbons - Executive Producer, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, HBO
  • Rebecca Rigal - Arts & Culture Ambassador at GOOD Worldwide, LLC
  • Sandra J. Ruch – Filmmaker; Advisor to US Department of State, American Documentary Showcase; and former Executive Director of the International Documentary Association
  • Taylor Segrest - Writer/Producer, Cinelixir Productions
  • Sabrina Wind - Executive Producer, "Desperate Housewives", ABC
  • Leah Keith - Film and Television Producer

External links


  1. ^ "Young Filmmaker Festival Coming to Seattle March 28–30". NFFTY. March 1, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-08. [dead link]
  2. ^ "NFFTY 2008 Festival". NFFTY. Retrieved 2008-12-05. [dead link]
  3. ^ Svete, Irene (April 18, 2008). "Tomorrow’s Spielbergs get a film festival of their own". The Christian Science Monitor. 
  4. ^ Chansanchai, Athima (March 27, 2008). "'Nifty' youth film fest sees phenomenal growth". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  5. ^ "Other Programs". NFFTY. Retrieved 2008-12-05. [dead link]

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