Founder of Northwest Heat Music Video Festival, Robert Bojorquez saw the need for an event that would bring collaborators and musicians together. So he created a festival which brought together music and the most collaborative of art forms, film.
What is the your film festival’s mission?
The Northwest Heat Music Video Festival was founded to encourage more collaboration between the film and music communities of Washington State. Both communities are alive and thriving and the more they work together, the better chance they have to make connections and create even more content. To pull from Northwest Heat’s site “The Northwest Heat Music Video Festival was founded in 2014 with a simple mission: to showcase the talents of both musicians and filmmakers in the Pacific Northwest, where the communities of both are alive and kicking (out the jams). The Northwestern United States is home to every kind of landscape: musically, culturally, and naturally; filmmakers recognize the way these art forms interact and realize them in the form of music videos. Northwest Heat is designed to celebrate the art of feeling and energy.”
How did your film festival come into being?
I founded Northwest Heat after graduating from Western Washington University, where I was active in both the film and music communities, running KVIK (the film office in the Associated Students) and hosting a specialty show on 89.3 KUGS-FM. I had seen young filmmakers, young musicians and bands struggle getting others to collaborate on creative projects and I figured an outlet and goal for getting the two communities to crossover, would be the perfect solution to those problems. We’re still only in our second year, but the feedback and reception in 2014 was strong, so I saw the need to continue to grow the festival and keep it going!
What is something people look forward to every year at your film festival?
We have a pretty unique opening night; the Festival itself is a combination of live bands playing and screening music videos. It’s really high energy and people really dug it last year. Working with What’s Up Magazine in Bellingham was a great experience and I’m excited to put together another night of rocking bands that really know how to get the audience amped for the music and the spirit of creativity in both songs and music videos.
What do you want audiences to take away from your film festival?
I want audiences to see the integrity and hard work that independent musicians and independent filmmakers alike pour into creating interesting, emotive, and exciting content. Not only that, but they’re doing it in the most beautiful state in the country with the most interesting landscapes, weather and people. Northwest Heat is a far cry from an international film festival, but in time I hope it will grow into something huge and even more unique in both the music and film industries and that it can be seen as a “What’s What” of what’s getting people’s blood flowing in Washington.
What are you looking forward to most at your next festival?
I love getting to meet the people who’ve created the submissions we receive. Last year I got to put faces to the names on the forms we received and see the thanks and excitement for being recognized for their hard work in the studio, on location, or even behind the computer. Meeting more people who are working their buns off to make a living as an artist, in what’s daily becoming a more and more saturated and competitive industry, is absolutely rewarding and even though the festival is a little bit of a whirlwind pulling it together, it’s still amazing to see the care and energy in everyone who comes out.
What role does your film festival play in supporting the greater Seattle area’s film community?
I think a lot of creatives work on music videos today in the hopes of “going viral,” and we end up just seeing their hard work through a screen on a desk or in someone’s hand at a party. While that’s all well and good, there’s still something about being at a show with a band right in your face, or looking up and seeing killer cinematography on a screen bigger than 24 inches that drops that lump in your stomach and makes you wanna jump and shout and kick out your energy. That’s what Northwest Heat wants to accomplish – music and film are both incredibly physical media that deserve those partaking to get up out of their seat, dance, and just lose themselves to the energy and the power of creativity. The Festival also gives those working on music videos something to do with them besides just launching them into the void of the Internet in the hopes that people see it; we want people to come out and support the arts by showing up and getting into it, and Northwest Heat wants to build a reputation of drawing people out for a good show.
What does the Seattle film community mean to you?
I would say we’re definitely entering a dawn of the Seattle film industry, with the hopes of the state film incentive increasing and more film work coming to Washington, and it’s an incredible place to be. I grew up making silly videos with friends and a Handicam in backyards in Spokane and a career making movies was definitely a pipe dream, but one I thought was worth working towards. I was fortunate enough to attend a college that had enough resources to really cut my teeth on what it takes to pull film productions together, but not everyone has that.
Seattle’s network of filmmakers is so supportive of each others’ work and just wants everyone to have a good time and make some cool stuff. What more can you ask from an industry? I think in a world that’s so often driven by the bottom line, this a quality worth cherishing, and it’s the advantage Seattle has over a lot of other film communities which in comparison, seem really cut-throat, cynical and downright tough, especially when you’re starting from the bottom. I’m thankful to say that Seattle is a community that I feel cares about the livelihood of our state, its people, and the stories that live between the two and I’d hazard to say its the best community in the world.
Check out Northwest Heat’s site, where you can find submission guidelines, event locations, past videos and donation opportunities.
The Audience Awards is film’s social network connecting audiences to films, filmmakers, film schools and film festivals. The Audience Awards hosts short film competitions where the audience chooses the best films.