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Monday, November 10, 2008

The New Interim Director at Northwest Film Forum…

posted by on November 10 at 16:32 PM

…is Lyall Bush, the former Executive Director at the Richard Hugo House.

More information as it comes, full presser after the jump.

SEATTLE – Northwest Film Forum (NWFF), Seattle’s nonprofit center for film arts, welcomes Lyall Bush as its interim executive director. Officially assuming his role on November 10, 2008, Bush joins the organization with a new spirit and energy that will build on the legacy left by Michael Seiwerath and continue to drive NWFF to greater community and artistic goals.

Bush comes from a nonprofit background and has worked in the area of film for over a decade. He organized film festivals when he worked for Humanities Washington and as written about film for a wide variety of publications. Bush’s involvement at Northwest Film Forum began several years ago when he was vice-president of the board; over the years he has also moderated panel discussions and given talks on filmmakers.

“NWFF is thrilled to welcome Lyall as our interim executive director,” said president of the board Jennifer Roth. “He brings exciting new energy to the organization as well as valuable experience in strategic planning and the capacity for creating a strong vision for the organization.” Bush is assuming the role of previous executive director Michael Seiwerath, who announced plans to leave NWFF earlier this year.

“Northwest Film Forum is built on a strong foundation of passionate people working for a great cause,” said Bush. “I will be working for a great board of directors and a smart and dedicated staff. Michael’s work to bring Northwest Film Forum to where it is today, spearheading tremendous growth throughout his term, makes my work moving forward that much easier. I plan to continue that momentum while bringing my own experience and sense of organizational vision.” Most recently Bush served as the executive director of Richard Hugo House, where he raised the organization’s visibility in the city and energized the board and staff around his new vision for programs and development. In 2003 NWFF entered into a new era with its expansion into a well-equipped 8,000 square foot space in Capitol Hill. Bush plans to help NWFF become a leading nonprofit for the film arts in the region.

Traditionally, the role of executive director includes leading the organization’s flagship program, Start-to-Finish, which partners with a local artist to produce a feature length film. NWFF provides funding for the project, allowing local film artists and directors to bring their work to a much larger arena.

The most recent film, Robinson Devor’s Police Beat, premiered in Dramatic Competition at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, and has played to great acclaim at festivals worldwide.

NWFF operates the region’s first and only non-profit center for the film arts. Community members can view films 360 days a year. NWFF prides itself on attracting a wide variety of audience members from long-time cinephiles, to children and families, artists, students and more.

The current space, located at 1515 12th Ave (between Pike and Pine), is Seattle’s first proper cinematheque. It houses two theaters, facilities and equipment for filmmakers, and a dedicated space for workshops and filmmaker offices.

NWFF is unique in that it focuses not only on bringing great films to the community, but on fostering and championing local film artists. NWFF presents educational programs with a curriculum by filmmakers and for filmmakers; provides access to filmmaking equipment; and grants funds directly to working film artists.

There are now several homegrown producers, cinematographers, writers, and other crewmembers that are working steadily, here and abroad, due to the connections made and experience achieved through Northwest Film Forum.

About Northwest Film Forum
Northwest Film Forum boasts nearly 1,000 members, several unique film festivals, and showings of hundreds of American and international films a year. Movie screenings, film production and education aren’t the only focus of this organization - NWFF brings together a community of individuals dedicated to great film in Seattle and beyond. You can learn more at the organization’s Web site,

RSS icon Comments



Posted by Aislinn | November 10, 2008 4:47 PM

When I read this headline, I actually ran out of my office and screamed in the parking lot.

This son of a bitch is ruining everything I love about Seattle.

Posted by kasa | November 10, 2008 4:49 PM


I saw Lyall Bush interview Stephin Merritt (Magnetic Fields) at the Hugo House. Granted, Stephin is not an easy guy to chat with, but even with that said, Bush was completely inept at interviewing him.

It was painful to watch - (one thing that stands out in my memory: Bush asked what book would you bring to a deserted island?' after Stephin answered, he asked "what food would you bring to a deserted island?" Stephin answered... and then... He asked "what movie would you bring to a deserted island?" And Merritt and the audience gasped in exasperation.

I am not impressed with him at all.

I am not at all impressed with him.

Posted by MEC | November 10, 2008 5:02 PM

Um, what?!?!

“Northwest Film Forum is built on a strong foundation of passionate people working for a great cause,” said Bush. “I will be working for a great board of directors and a smart and dedicated staff. Michael’s work to bring Northwest Film Forum to where it is today, spearheading tremendous growth throughout his term, makes my work moving forward that much easier. I plan to continue that momentum while bringing my own experience and sense of organizational vision.”

Sense of organizational vision? Please. Everyone who worked with Bush at RHH (and, yes, unfortunately, I did) can testify to the fact that the man has absolutely NO idea how to run a non-profit organization, and his cultural vision is incredibly narrow. Let's hope that the good folks at NWFF are even smarter and more dedicated than Bush says they are, and that they quickly come to their senses and kick him to the curb -- PRONTO. Otherwise, sorry, dear NWFF employees. Prepare to deal with an endless cycle of abysmal internal communication, unkept promises, and outright LYING and manipulation from your new boss.

Posted by crankypants | November 10, 2008 5:24 PM

Might I remind you that Mr. Bush was a runner up for the Genius award not so long ago?

Posted by apttitle | November 10, 2008 5:26 PM

I mentioned before how sick I feel when I hear Stranger Genius Award winner or runner up. I don't know this guy, but reading the comments confirms my feeling that some of these people are overglorified.

Posted by CommonKnowledge | November 10, 2008 5:44 PM

@4. If you're going to bitch and moan about your former employer, are you really going to post anonymously? Coward.

Posted by Big Ol' Jerk | November 10, 2008 5:50 PM

Yay, Lyall is a great addition to the NWFF. This lynch mob mentality is kind of silly and based on a couple of negative people who have specific issues that really should be addressed individually and not in an anonymous public forum where its easy to get petty and personal. No scandal, sorry.

Posted by Diana | November 10, 2008 6:19 PM

Diana, if you only knew...

Posted by Anonymous | November 10, 2008 6:26 PM

I doubt anything will change over there. The staff seem to have kept it afloat during the waning days of Seiwrath. I doubt he can do much damage. They have impeccable programming and there would certainly be an uproar if that changed.

Posted by apttitle | November 10, 2008 6:45 PM

Hey, anonymous smack-talkers and and assasins (@1, @2, @4, @9), you are some cowardly pieces of shit. I've been rather involved with the org Bush is coming from and the one he is going to. This guy made a sleepy institution vital (Hugo House) and will hopefully do the same thing for another nonprofit that has a solid base but is feeling a little directionless and between-things nowadays.

Really, folks, when you get personal, or make critiques you expect to have taken seriously, you can't do it behind an alias. You people are lower than low, and will never accomplish anything in your lives.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | November 10, 2008 7:38 PM

@2--You really ought to check this place out. It's got some really nice parks, tons of lovely farmer's markets, comfortable weather, clean air, tasty tap water and an all-around accepting crowd of people. Cool, huh?

Posted by Garth | November 10, 2008 8:05 PM

Anonymous: Why don't you come over and tell me about it?

Posted by Diana | November 10, 2008 9:08 PM

@11: Uh, my comment wasn't anonymous; who I am is no secret in these parts. Also, it wasn't anything negative about the man, just saying that local arts institutions are incestuous. Maybe you should be a little more careful about who you call "cowardly pieces of shit."

Posted by Aislinn | November 10, 2008 11:28 PM

hey Aislinn what makes you think you weren't in either of the the other categories of smack-talkers and assassins?

As for the incestuous nature of local arts institutions, check out the previous hire at this place;

Sometimes the best people for the job just happen to be in your own backyard. Other times they come from the other end of the country. Either way, I really don't think at the ripe old age of 24 that you're qualified to make any statement about who should be running a non-profit, arts or otherwise.

Posted by Apttitle | November 11, 2008 12:16 AM

I said absolutely nothing about whether or not he should be running a non-profit. I said ONE word, which passed no judgment on any institution or person involved, and which, in this context, meant the same thing as saying, "It's a small world." You're going to get defensive about that? Seriously?

While we're busy overreacting about things, I'll just point out that Mr. Cogswell referred to both "anonymous smack talkers and assasins" as "cowardly pieces of shit." They weren't separate categories. I still said nothing to warrant being called any of those things.

Posted by Aislinn | November 11, 2008 1:18 AM

Attention, anonymous critics of Bush: precisely which policies of his at Hugo House did you object to, and why? What should Hugo House be that it wasn't under him? Let's leave the ad hominem nonsense out and focus on the issues.

Posted by Tim Appelo | November 11, 2008 10:22 AM

To Garth and Tim-

First of all, I'm posting anonymously because it's the internet and that's how it works, and I'm still a powerless peon in both organizations. Secondly, my general interactions with Lyall were via a certain program for about three years, and regular committee meetings for the last year. Now, his handling of said program was fucking inept and damn near destroyed it, so perhaps I'm biased. However, I can certainly tell you that he has some of the worst management skills I have every had the pleasure of experiencing, and while he was at the Hugo House, he managed to drastically cut or eliminate every single outreach program they have. Call me crazy for not being too impressed with a nonprofit that seemed to exist solely to offer $300 writing classes for bored yuppies and a quarterly reading series, which is what it was under Bush. And based on everything I ever heard the man say about the House, he had no realistic vision for it's future. Also, he can't write for beans and he's incredibly full of himself, but that's just personal preference I suppose.

Posted by Kasa | November 11, 2008 4:39 PM

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