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Mayor Jenny Durkan Announces 2021 Mayor’s Award for Achievement in Film

Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Vivian Hua and Northwest Film Forum as the recipient of the 15th Annual Mayor’s Award for Achievement in Film. The Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film recognizes an individual or entity for exceptional work that has significantly contributed to the growth, advancement and reputation of Seattle as a filmmaking city. The award was presented by Mayor Durkan at the Seattle International Film Festival Virtual Opening Night Gala on April 8. 

“I am proud to present the 2021 Mayor’s Award for Achievement in Film to Vivian Hua, for her extraordinary leadership with the Northwest Film Forum,” said Mayor Durkan. “As executive director of Northwest Film Forum, Vivian brings to her role a passion for preserving cultural space, centering work in equity and inclusivity, and finding ways to disrupt oppressive structures. COVID has significantly disrupted our film industry, however, despite an extremely difficult year, the drive, creativity and innovation of the industry has not been stopped.” 

“We are grateful for Vivian’s creativity and investment in the community through her work with the Northwest Film Festival. Our film industry contributes to our culture as a city, creates space for storytelling on an individual and community level, and provides economic opportunity for workers within our creative sectors,” said Pamela Banks, Interim Director of the Seattle Office of Economic Development. 

“The Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film has been given to many folks I respect in the local Seattle filmmaking community, and I am pleased for Northwest Film Forum to be represented among them yet again,” said Hua. “Here’s to a future where the City of Seattle will continue to show their strong support for our film industry, especially with regards to creating a more equitable space, so that filmmakers of all kinds can feel supported in sharing their authentic tales.” 

Vivian Hua (華婷婷) is a writer, filmmaker, organizer, and Executive Director of Northwest Film Forum since October 2018.  She has been the editor-in-chief of the socially conscious arts publication REDEFINE since 2004, and much of her work unifies her interest in the metaphysical with her belief that art can positively transform the self and society. NWFF has been Seattle’s film center since 1995, known previously as Wiggly World Studios. NWFF envisions a world where all people have the power to express themselves and connect with each other through visual storytelling and culture. As a nonprofit film and arts center located on Capitol Hill, NWFF presents hundreds of films, festivals, community events, multidisciplinary performance and public discussions each year.     

NWFF has provided a “clubhouse” of collaborative, funding and resource opportunities and has worked with Seattle directors such as Lynn Shelton, Meghan Griffiths, David Russo, and more. NWFF celebrates and offers a platform to Seattle’s emerging filmmakers with the annual Local Sightings Film Festival. NWFF is a comprehensive member-based visual media organization, offering educational workshops and services for film and media makers at all stages of their development, including access to space, gear, fiscal sponsorship and an edit lab.  

Through Vivian’s leadership, NWFF has developed critical online programs and webinars to expand the organization’s mission of supporting filmmaking and filmmakers this past year. Vivian also led the development of a series of recovery and reopening online panels, webinars and affinity groups prioritizing Black, Indigenous, people of color and LGBTQ filmmakers. Some examples include the BIPOC Filmmaker Happy Hour series, the Collective Power Fund grantmaking through the Warhol Foundation, Remove the Gap productions and the Lynn Shelton Of a Certain Age grant. NWFF supports local film festivals including Seattle Asian American Film Festival, Children’s Film Festival, Seattle Turkish Film Festival, among others, by providing resources and online screening platforms. This January, NWFF brought Seattle’s independent filmmaking to the national level through a partnership with the Sundance Film Festival. 

For over 75 years, Seattle has made its mark on the film scene as the production center for landmark films, compelling television series and successful commercial campaigns. OED offers a low cost, one-stop shop, streamlined service for permitting City of Seattle property for film productions. The office also acts as advocates for the film industry and the positive impacts production has on the local economy. 

Learn more about the award and previous winners.   

Vivian Hua wearing a purple top outdoors.
Vivian Hua. Credit: Leo Carmona.