606 Fawcett Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402 Get Directions
253summit 2019

The 253 Film Summit

May 11, 2019

Hosted on the University of Washington Tacoma campus, 1922 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402


For filmmakers, media professionals, and creative entrepreneurs who want to learn, connect, and create.

Following the annual 253 Film Party screening, this summit is a unique, extended opportunity for local filmmakers, emerging professionals, students, and those who participated in the 253 Film Competition to get to know one another, pitch ideas and projects, and plug in to the growing industry of media professionals and creatives in the South Sound.

Join this free networking event, learn from industry professionals, get inspired, and get your next project off the ground.
253 Film Summit 2018
253 Film Summit 2018 Alma Mater tour

253 Film Summit 2018 Wa Filmworks 2

253 Film Summit Alma Mater 2018


Click below to register; only 80 spots available so claim yours now.


Megan Griffiths photo by_hayleyyoung
The 253 film Summit is delighted to host director Megan Griffiths as our special guest. 

We'll close out the conference with a Conversation with the Director hosted by local filmmaker and Grand Cinema board member Jamika Scott. Don't miss this incredible opportunity to hear from an acclaimed, northwest based writer/director! Learn more about Megan and all summit details below.


  • 10 - 10:15 AM - Registration, located outside The Studio in the Cherry Parkes building; enter at 1922 Pacific Ave
  • 10 AM - coffee and networking - Room 007, The Studio in the Cherry Parkes building
  • 10:15 AM - welcome - Room 007, The Studio in the Cherry Parkes building
  • 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM - Creative Distribution Strategies with the Sundance Institute - Room 106 in the Cherry Parkes building
  • 11:30 - 11:45 AM: Break, refreshments and networking, explore the Mini-Maker Faire
  • 11:45 AM - 12:30 PM - Now & Next with Washington Filmworks - Room 106 in the Cherry Parkes building
  • 12:30 - 1:30 PM - Lunch break with Washington Lawyers for the Arts + speed networking - either Room 007, The Studio in the Cherry Parkes building or outside
  • 1:30 - 3 PM - What Tacoma Creates Means for Film and Media Making - Room 106 in the Cherry Parkes building
  • 3:15 - 4:15 - Conversation with Director Megan Griffiths - Room 102, Carwein Auditorium in the Keystone Building
  • 4:15 - Summit conclusion and thank you - Room 102, Carwein Auditorium in the Keystone Building
  • 4:30 PM - Post-Summit Meetup - 7 Seas Brewery & Tap Room, 2101 Jefferson Ave

2019 Summit Presentation DESCRIPTIONS & DETAILS

Creative Distribution Strategies with the Sundance Institute's Creative Distribution Initiative

The independent film distribution and marketing landscape is constantly evolving. Sundance Institute's Creative Distribution Initiative (CDI) stands at the front lines of the industry, collecting data and analyzing trends to empower filmmakers with insights and best practices. 

Join Manager of Research & Education, Jess Fuselier, as she breaks down CDI's most current learnings and provides you with tools to optimize the distribution and marketing of your film. Jess will join us virtually and the workshop will be facilitated by summit organizer Katy Evans.

Now & Next with Washington Filmworks

Executive Director Amy Lillard from Washington Filmworks will share information about their groundbreaking new funding program called Local Lens, which makes Washington State the first production incentive in the country to reserve its funding for projects creatively driven by Washington residents.

She will also discuss the work of Washington Filmworks’ advisory board, the Film Leadership Council, and give a quick overview of the FREE services their office provides for local filmmakers, including a crew database, a location database and permit information!

Lunch with Washington Lawyers for the Arts + Speed Networking

Connect with other summit attendees through our back-by-popular-demand speed networking session, this time over lunch! 

Washington Lawyers for the Arts (WLA) will kick off our BYO lunch with an introduction to their work and support services. WLA a non-profit organization founded more than 40 years ago, provides legal resources to artists and arts organizations statewide. A WLA board member will discuss the group’s services, including legal clinics, where artists can get free 30-minute consultations with attorneys, and legal workshops for artists, with topics ranging from business formation and intellectual property to real estate agreements, tax issues, and contracts.
WLA will join our networking, and can answer questions you may have. Make friends, share projects, see how we can work together to strengthen the creative community in Tacoma.

What Tacoma Creates Means for Film and Media Making

Join City of Tacoma Arts Administrator Amy McBride, and local filmmakers as they discuss the details, impact, and opportunity of the recent Tacoma Creates Initiative, fishbowl style. 

What does this influx of citizen support via sales tax for cultural access mean to you? How can you connect with local organizations who may be seeking your expertise? Should Tacoma Creates be considered an economic opportunity for filmmakers and creative entrepreneurs? 

Filmmakers Jamika Scott, Carlos Ortiz, Sean Patrick Burke, and Jesi Vega will talk with Amy about the future of filmmaking, education, and creativity in Tacoma. Come with your questions!

Conversation with Director Megan Griffiths

Meet Megan Griffiths, Seattle based writer/director known for her films LUCKY THEM, EDEN, SADIE, and television directing for ROOM 104, GRAVES, ANIMAL KINGDOM and THE SOCIETY, among other works. Megan’s films have premiered at Toronto International Film Festival, South by Southwest, and the Sundance Film Festival. 

In a conversation facilitated by filmmaker and Grand Cinema board member Jamika Scott, we’ll learn how Megan has built her career and shared her work while maintaining a base of operations in Washington.

Post Summit Meetup

Celebrate the second annual 253 Film Summit with an informal opportunity to connect and relax with new friends. Location TBA.



Jess Fuselier is a community outreach, marketing and data specialist living in Los Angeles, California. As manager of research and education for Sundance Institute's Creative Distribution Initiative, Jess is working to cultivate meaningful insights rooted in data transparency, in order to create resources that impact the sustainability of the independent film community at large. Originally a Texan with an early career as a professional ballet dancer, she concentrated her love of people, technology and social purpose towards helping filmmakers target and engage their audience. She pioneered a community outreach program to connect film sets across the U.S. with the communities in which they operate and led efforts to support critical non profit community service providers. An experienced coder, she has worked for several early-stage companies in Austin, and co-founded Young Women Who Code, teaching elementary age girls the building blocks of STEM education.

Megan Griffiths is a writer/director working in film and television. She has directed shows for HBO (ROOM 104), EPIX (GRAVES), TNT (ANIMAL KINGDOM), and Netflix (THE SOCIETY). Prior to this, she wrote and directed the thriller THE NIGHT STALKER, starring Lou Diamond Phillips as serial killer Richard Ramirez. Her film LUCKY THEM starring Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church and Johnny Depp premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was distributed by IFC Films. Megan’s film EDEN, based on the true story of a young woman captured into the world of human trafficking, was a breakout at SXSW 2012, winning the Emergent Narrative Director Award, the Audience Award for Narrative Feature as well as a Special Jury Prize for lead actress Jamie Chung. Megan's feature THE OFF HOURS, distributed by Film Movement, premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Megan was the recipient of the 2012 Stranger Genius Award for Film, was named the 2013 City Arts Film Artist of the Year, and received the 2015 Seattle Mayor’s Award for Film. She is the vice president of the board of the Northwest Film Forum and is an active advocate for sustainable production.


Amy has over 20 years experience as an art professional. Working with the Tacoma Arts Commission, she manages three funding programs for organizations and artists; implements public art projects, develops innovative and collaborative programming and formulates effective policy. Amy came to Tacoma in 1998 after coordinating the arts program for Bellevue College’s extension program. She has presented nationally on issues of public art, temporary art installations, and civic democracy through Americans for the Arts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado-Boulder in French and Art History with a year of focused study at L’Universite de Bordeaux. Post-graduate work includes a stint in the sculpture department at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and a certificate in Fundraising Management from the University of Washington. Amy earned a Master’s degree with a focus on Urban Arts from the University of Washington-Tacoma in 2010. She founded Spaceworks Tacoma in 2009 in partnership with the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, sits on the IAS Advisory Board at UWT and Elements of Education.


Amy Lillard is the Executive Director of Washington Filmworks, the private non-profit organization that manages Washington State’s film and production incentive programs.  Serving in this capacity since 2006, Lillard has worked with over 122 projects as part of the production incentive program.  These projects have had over $386M of economic impact across Washington State and created over 21,000 jobs for Washington workers. Lillard started her career as an independent film publicist out of New York and Los Angeles designing the release campaigns for groundbreaking films such at "The Blair Witch Project," "American Psycho" and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels." Amy retired from publicity in 2000 and took a trip around the world. Two years and 42 countries later, she settled in Seattle where she has worked in various capacities including, director of publicity and promotion (SIFF 2003-04), festival director of the Reel Cinerama Film Festival (2003 and 2004), and producer of the Fly Filmmaking Challenge (2003-11). Amy lives in Magnolia with her husband and son. 


Sean Patrick Burke is an American movie producer, writer, AD, Director and script consultant. He grew up in Spokane, Washington. He works on indie films, major motion pictures and commercials. He recently produced a film titled, "As You Are", that had its domestic release in the American Drama competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2016. He just produced a psychological drama titled “Ayla” that is currently in post-production. He lives in Tacoma, Washington and is married to photographer Tiffany Burke. Together they have three children. They own and operate Two Twenty-Two Pictures and Tacoma Arts Community Center.

Born and raised in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma, Jamika Scott is an advocate, writer, and filmmaker. Her passion for words started in childhood, she would fill journals with short stories and poetry. It was in college a mentor introduced her to screenwriting and filmmaking and it has been a central part of her life since. As a founding member of the Tacoma Action Collective, she works toward building an equitable Tacoma as a community organizer, and often incorporates her love of film into her social justice work. You can connect with her on Twitter (@xsojournerx).

Jesi Hanley Vega has had a multi-faceted career in the arts. Trained in the theater as an actor and playwright, she worked for over a decade in documentaries and television, before finding her current path as a book editor and writing instructor who supports and inspires writers to make their stories heard. 

Originally from The Bronx, Jesi graduated from Vassar College and The University of Chicago, and is the single mom of two Tacoma public school students. Her mother helps a lot.


Born and raised in East Los Angeles, California, currently living, working, and playing in Tacoma, Washington, Carlos with Zeta-Maya Entertainment is an independent filmmaker, a voice for the Latino community, a family man, community leader, educator, and mentor. Carlos has written, produced, and directed several short films, TV commercials, music videos, and documentaries. He studied photography and liberal arts at East Los Angeles College, film at UC Berkeley, and videography at Clover Park Technical College. He is a marketing guru and the Co-founder and Chairman of LUNA, an education- based, charitable nonprofit helping underprivileged and under-represented youth pursue and attain a professional career. He is passionate about working with the whole community, improving the lives of his fellow Latinos and others, and creating opportunity for the underprivileged, especially our youth. He plans on being one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of cinema.



Check out photos from last years summit here: 2018 PHOTO LINK


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