The 12th annual Seattle Transmedia International Film Festival (STIFF) is this weekend! The festival (formerly the Seattle True Independent Film Festival) is an “exhibition of independent, underground, experimental and zero budget films and transmedia projects” and will take place at a new venue this year – The Factory Luxe in Sodo.

Festival organizer Tim Vernor says embracing new digital forms of storytelling was a natural decision for STIFF. “Filmmakers are now working in more than one medium — you’ll have a web series, a digital comic, an interactive app, and then eventually they’ll make a feature film,” Vernor explains. “And not only are we seeing traditional filmmakers work in those mediums, but we’re also seeing people from those mediums translate over and start doing film.”

In addition to a super-affordable festival pass, STIFF is selling individual tickets to events so there’s no excuse to miss a thing! So this weekend, soak in some truly independent features, shorts, docs, animation, workshops, panel discussions, and more.

Below are five exciting highlights from STIFF’s 2016 festival that you won’t want to miss!

  • The FREE STIFF transmedia gallery will take place in a 600-square feet converted vault room from the 1950’s featuring an array of virtual reality, 360-degree video, interactive content, gaming and video art. Check out Turning Forest, a virtual reality fairy tale, and Natural Life, an experimental documentary about prisoners comprised of a single-channel video, a gallery installation and an interactive online archive. See all the offerings here.
  • An amazing variety of short films from all genres: sci-fi, fantasy, documentary, political, horror, comedy, drama, and more. STIFF shorts selections will be playing at various times all weekend, but be sure to check out Phil’s Camino plus Sensational Short Films on Sunday, July 31 to see some work from local Washington State filmmakers in action!
  • A large outdoor Projection Alley will offer networking and community workshops free to the public. STIFF is also hosting an augmented reality “lure” party with PokéStops and a gym for Pokémon Go, so you can experience this new trend for yourself!
  • The Seattle Documentary Association will be providing a FREE Masterclass with documentarian Christopher Rufo of, who has produced three films for PBS – Age of Champions, Roughing It, and Diamond in the Dunes. The workshop will focus on film distribution with a “large curriculum covering many topics.” Register here.
  • The world premiere of The Sisterhood of Shred, a feature-length documentary directed by Bothell resident Meg Valliant that follows a community of women BMX mountain bikers (in a very male-dominated sport) who sure know how to shred! More information is here.

Wait, there’s more! STIFF’s opening night red carpet Gala and fundraiser will be this Thursday, July 28, and will feature Screenagers, a documentary about teenagers in an era of screens and cell phone technology, and will also include an after party with cocktails courtesy of Heritage Distilling, a DJ and a silent auction. Get your tickets to the Gala here. So get out there this weekend and support independent film and emerging creative technologies at STIFF!