Last month the staff of Washington Filmworks took some time to enjoy a night of film, great company, and delicious food at Sprout, a locally sourced dinner in Seattle that funds creative projects with a vote. Attendees pay an entrance fee for ballot and a delicious meal made by a local guest chef. Diners vote on a variety of proposed projects and at the end of dinner, the one with the most votes is awarded the funds collected at the door.
One of the great things about the model is that artists don’t have to win the money to profit from the experience. Presenting artists mingle with guests and explain their projects. Display tables help to give the audience context and provide an opportunity to chat with artists one on one. By the end of the night an artist has shown clips and presented to a room filled with patrons of the arts.
This was the 9th Sprout, but the first to focus exclusively on film and video artists. “We wanted to shake up our format, and experiment with what it would be like if we narrowed it down to just one medium,” said Sprout Advisory Board Member, Stephen Jeong. “We’ve consistently had a strong response from the film community, and decided to do an entire evening devoted to artists working in film and video. We feel this experiment was a success, and it allowed to us to reach out to a specific segment of the artist population, and to also introduce our audience to the variety of artists working in this medium.“
Over the course of the evening we heard from several fantastic presenters about six unique projects. Filmmaker Ian Bell took home the $1500 grant for his project, Wounaan Land Rights Conflict, a film he is working on with Cameron Ellis about struggles between an indigenous group of people in Panama and loggers on their lands. 2013 has been a busy year for Ian; he is also affiliated with to two projects that recently received funding from the inaugural Film Cycle of the Filmworks Innovation Lab. Congratulations!
Sprout is based on a model used by other dinners around the country. Interested in creating a similar event in your community? Find out more at www.sundaysoup.org.
Thanks to Sprout for having us. All photos are courtesy of Aaron Piazza.