Press Release


September 7, 2018

Media Contacts:

Kauilani Robinson, Visit Seattle
(206) 461-5839 |

Chantelle Lusebrink, Visit Seattle
(206) 461-5862 |

Independent Seattle Filmmaker Claire Buss Premieres Short Film at 2018 LA Film Festival Awards

Visit Seattle funded Story Award short film, “I’m Sorry Happy Birthday”

SEATTLE – As part of this year’s festivities at the highly anticipated LA Film Festival (September 20-28, 2018) independent Seattle filmmaker Claire Buss will debut her hilarious, new short film, “I’m Sorry Happy Birthday,” which playfully showcases everyday life in Seattle’s neighborhoods through whimsical vignettes that border on the fantastical – complete with a little bit of Pacific Northwest quirkiness. The LA Film Festival is produced by Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that also produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Industry icons and Hollywood stars alike will have the opportunity to see Buss’ film thanks to the Seattle Story Award from Visit Seattle as part of its Dear Seattle short film series. It will premiere out of competition before the LA Film Festival Closing Night Film, which is the World Premiere of David Raymond’s Nomis starring Henry Cavill, Sir Ben Kingsley, Nathan Fillion, Minka Kelly, Alexandra Daddario and Stanley Tucci. Closing Night takes place on Friday, September 28 at the ArcLight Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome.

“I am overjoyed to receive the Seattle Story Award and to have this opportunity to create a film about Seattle that’s sweet and strange and unique,” Buss said. “I’m very fortunate to work with a talented group of friends and collaborators who have made this city a worthwhile place to live and make art.”

LA Film Festival passes and tickets are on sale now at For those unable to attend the festival, you’ll be able to catch the short film on along with the already released short films in the series.

This is the second Story Award film funded by the city’s official destination marketing organization as part of a larger sponsorship with Film Independent. The Seattle Story Award is given to a filmmaker who exhibits innovation, diversity and uniqueness of vision while having a history of transforming perspectives through rich stories. The recipient uses the Story Award to create a short film inspired by Seattle’s deep textures and independent spirit.

“At its heart, Seattle is a creative city. There’s something about the way nature and economy, ingenuity and passion intersect here – it’s a community that fosters artists, authors, artisans and filmmakers,” Visit Seattle Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Ali Daniels said. “By pushing boundaries, our talented young filmmakers continue to make a tremendous impact by sharing our city’s story in a unique way with the rest of the world.”

In March, Visit Seattle, with their agency of record, PB&, became the first and only destination to partner with Film Independent on the Story Award collaboration packaged around a larger sponsorship of an award category at the Film Independent Spirit Awards and at the LA Film Festival. Since implementing the entertainment-based content strategy, PB& has been integral in providing the knowledge, expertise and innovation to make Visit Seattle successful and a standout leader among its peers.

At the Film Independent Spirit Awards, Seattle Story Award recipient and Emmy-nominated visual storyteller, Matty Brown, premiered a teaser of his short film titled “Dreamcatcher”— a kaleidoscope of textures and experiences that have shaped one woman’s life and memories in the Emerald City.

“I had a really inspired time creating ‘Dreamcatcher’ surrounded by people who wanted to make something beautiful to show off our very unique city of Seattle,” Brown said. “It was one of the highlights of my creative life to meet and connect with an amazing group of artists at the Spirit Awards and network to push my stories further by writing a feature film.”

Additionally, Visit Seattle took on a yearlong partnership with SundanceTV to debut a series of short films collectively titled Dear Seattle created by notable filmmakers Dave Grohl, Josh Taft, Megan Griffiths, JJ Augustavo, and Matty Brown. Buss’ film completes the Dear Seattle series.

“Entertainment-based content is a truly rich and powerful way to tell stories,” Daniels said. “In creating this partnership and the Story Award program, we purposefully set out to provide a platform for artists to share their voice, and the Seattle story, on a larger stage.”

About Visit Seattle:
Visit Seattle, is a private, nonprofit marketing organization, has served as Seattle/King County’s official destination marketing organization (DMO) for more than 50 years. The goal of these marketing efforts is to enhance the employment opportunities and economic prosperity of the region.

About PB&:
PB& is a strategically driven ‘SWAT Team’ that uses creativity to solve problems, unlock business potential and add value to people’s lives.

About LA Film Festival:
The LA Film Festival is a key part of the exhibition arm of the nonprofit arts organization Film Independent. Showcasing new American and international cinema that embraces diversity, innovation and unique perspectives, the Festival produces one-of-a-kind events featuring critically acclaimed filmmakers, industry professionals and award-winning talent from Los Angeles and around the world. Visit the

About Film Independent:
Film Independent is a nonprofit arts organization that champions creative independence in visual storytelling and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry.






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