Mayor's Award for Achievement in Film

The Mayor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film is presented each year to an individual or entity which has raised the profile of the City of Seattle and its film industry through an outstanding film-related achievement, or major contribution to the growth, advancement, and reputation of Seattle as a filmmaking city.


Virginia Bogert

2023 Recipient

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Virginia Bogert has directed, written, edited and produced award-winning media for three decades. From features, shorts, music videos, and commercials, to corporate, documentaries and television, her company Laughing Dog Pictures focuses on human rights and the Arts.

As Director of Film & Media at MoPop, Virginia developed 30 national and international video programs. Virginia founded the Post Alley Film Festival, which provides a forum for Seattle to view and discuss groundbreaking, glass breaking short films from around the world, and served as longtime President of Women in Film Seattle and current President Emerita. Virginia was also part of the 2020 Film Task Force which developed the foundation for the Seattle Commission.

Virginia’s many credits include documentaries for PBS: Pike Place Market: Soul of a City, which garnered six Emmys and a Telly; Healing a Soldier's Heart; and Fields of Plenty, which won a 1st prize Telly. Bogert has created documentaries for National Endowment for the Arts (American Masterworks) and her PSA, Spoonman for the United Nations, was distributed worldwide, also winning a 1st prize Telly. Virginia’s romantic comedy The Delivery, a SIFF Fly Film, won Best Short at Port Townsend Film Festival. Tootie Pie, her dramatic short, premiered at Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), screened at Langston Hughes Black Film Festival, and is broadcast on PBS.

Tom Skerritt

2022 Recipient

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Tom Skerritt has a career in film and television that spans more than 50 years. He is a two-time Golden Globe nominee, Emmy Award winner and was recently awarded the 2022 Mary Pickford Award from the Independent Press Academy. For more than fifty years, Tom Skerritt has captivated audiences worldwide through iconic roles in films like M.A.S.H., The Turning Point, Up in Smoke, The Dead Zone, Top Gun, Steel Magnolias, A River Runs Through It, Singles, The Rookie, Contact, Smoke Signals, and Ridley Scott’s Alien. Skerritt was recognized with the Primetime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series” for his work in the 1993-97 CBS series Picket Fences. In 2021, Tom was nominated for a Satellite™ Award in the category “Actor in a Motion Picture Drama” for his work as Ben Givens in East of the Mountains, directed by Seattle’s SJ Chiro.

While traveling the world for his on-screen work, Tom kept his roots in Seattle supporting Seattle’s film and veteran communities. Tom co-founded The Film School in Seattle with screenwriter Stuart Stern, to provide students with the foundational education and expertise to work in creative environments within business and the arts. In 2012, Tom — an air force veteran — co-developed the RED BADGE PROJECT with former Army Captain Evan Bailey to support war veterans’ journey to reconstruct their individual sense of purpose, understanding of self-worth and place in community, as they discover and give voice to their unique stories. Prior to COVID, Tom and his wife Julie Tokashiki developed EVERGREEN, a pacific northwest lifestyle media content channel, that shares content of local filmmakers to nearly 10 million viewers.

Vivian Hua and Northwest Film Forum

2021 Recipient

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Vivian Hua (華婷婷) is a writer, filmmaker, organizer, and Executive Director of Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) since October 2018. She brings to her leadership at NWFF a passion for researching efforts to preserve cultural space, centering work in equity and inclusivity, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures.

As a nonprofit film and arts center and comprehensive visual media organization, NWFF presents hundreds of films, festivals, community events, multidisciplinary performance and public discussions each year as well as educational workshops and services for film and media makers. This January, NWFF brought Seattle's independent filmmaking to the national level through a partnership with the Sundance Film Festival.

Through Vivian's leadership, NWFF developed critical online programs and webinars to expand the organization's mission of supporting filmmaking and filmmakers this past year. Vivian also led the development of a series of recovery and reopening online panels, webinars and affinity groups prioritizing Black, Indigenous, people of color and LGBTQ filmmakers. 

Nesib "CB" Shamah

2019 Recipient

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Nesib "CB" Shamah is an Emmy nominated producer and director best known for the music documentary, Welcome to Doe Bay, SJ Chiro's Lane 1974, and the science fiction short film Haskell.

CB attended the Seattle Film Institute before producing and directing over 25 live music productions and the music web series Destination Unknown while leading the renovation of the historic Columbia City Theater music venue.

CB has contributed to the Seattle film and music landscape for years, from his work on community advisory boards, to financing and executive producer status for many local film projects. As a current board member of both the Satterberg Foundation and the Northwest Film Forum, CB is a leader in the local fight for social justice by telling unique stories and helping to support colleagues and artists bring their visions to life on big and small screens.

Tracy Rector, 2018 Mayor's Film Award recipient, Seattle

Tracy Rector

2018 Recipient

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Tracy Rector is a mixed race (Choctaw/Seminole) filmmaker, curator, community organizer, and co-founder of Longhouse Media. She has directed and produced over 400 short films including the award-winning Teachings of the Tree People, March Point, Clearwater, and Ch'aak' S'aagi, and is currently in production of her fifth feature documentary. Her work has been featured on Independent Lens, Cannes Film Festival, ImagineNative, National Geo­graphic, Toronto International Film Festival, the Seattle Art Museum, and in the Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indian.

Tracy's Longhouse Media focuses on galvanizing the indigenous and local community through film production. Tracy is a 2016 Stranger Genius, has received the National Association for Media Literacy award for outstanding contributions made in the field of media education, is a Firelight Media Fellow, WGBH Producer Fellow, Sundance Institute Lab Fellow, Tribeca All Access Grantee, and is the recipient of the Horace Mann Award for her work in utilizing media for social justice.

Lacey Leavitt

Lacey Leavitt

2017 Recipient

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Lacey Leavitt has been an award-winning Seattle producer, director, and independent film industry leader for over a decade. Lacey is a tireless advocate of the northwest film industry, is responsible for attracting and producing multiple independent feature and short films in the Seattle region, and is a trailblazer in Seattle's emerging VR/AR content industry.

Lacey is the co-founder and CEO of the cinematic content studio Mechanical Dreams, which harnesses both emerging and traditional technologies to create a powerful and diverse array of stories. Mechanical Dreams' work includes virtual reality film Eagle Bone (Tracy Rector 2016) and SXSW Best Short Documentary winner Little Potato (Wes Hurley 2017).

Lacey's feature film producing credits include Megan Griffiths' Sadie (in post-production),The Off Hours (Sundance 2011), and Lucky Them (TIFF 2013), Lynn Shelton's Laggies (Sundance 2015) and Touchy Feely (Sundance 2013), Colin Trevorrow's Safety Not Guaranteed (Sundance 2012), Todd Rohal's The Catechism Cataclysm (Sundance 2015), and The Automatic Hate (SXSW 2015). She co-directed and produced the award-winning roller derby documentary Blood on the Flat Track (SIFF 2007) and directed the short films D.C.I. (SIFF Fly Film 2012) and Escape (Orcas Island Film Festival 2015). Lacey is on the board of Seattle's immersive Café Nordo Theater and is an alumni of the University of Washington and Sundance Creative Producing Lab.

Amy Lillard and Washington Filmworks

2016 Recipient

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Washington Filmworks is a Seattle-based nonprofit that manages Washington State's film commission and production incentive programs, and whose mission is to create economic development opportunities by building and enhancing the competitiveness, profile, and sustainability of Washington State's film industry.

Led by Executive Director Amy Lillard, since 2006, Washington Filmworks has funded over 115 projects including 41 feature films, 6 television projects, and 54 commercial productions, resulting in over $299 million in economic impact to Washington State and $170 million to the Seattle region.

Washington Filmworks offers comprehensive production support and financial incentives to filmmakers, promotes and markets the State as a premier global filming destination, and advocates for the creative economy at the federal, state, and local levels. Through funding and programs like the Innovation Lab and Commercialize Seattle, Washington Filmworks invests in the individuals who make up the film industry.


Megan Griffiths - 2015 Mayor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film Recipient

Megan Griffiths

2015 Recipient

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Megan Griffiths has been a director, writer, and producer in the Seattle film community for over a decade. Her most recent film Lucky Them (starring Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church, Oliver Platt and Johnny Depp) was filmed in Seattle and premiered at the 2013 Toronto Int'l Film Festival. Her previous film,Eden (starring Jamie Chung, Matt O'Leary and Beau Bridges), was set in the southwest but filmed entirely in Washington, and premiered at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival in Austin where it won the narrative Audience Award and the Emergent Female Director Award. In addition to her film production work, Megan's devotion to fostering and bringing new film production has raised the profile of Seattle and the region's film industry through her advocacy and cultivation of new film business, and her leadership in the renewal and growth of Washington State's Film Competitiveness Program.

Ron Leamon - 2014 Mayor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film Recipient

Ron Leamon

2014 Recipient

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Ron Leamon has designed films, television series, and commercial productions for over 30 years. His extensive work has highlighted Seattle and the Northwest, and he is tireless advocate of the Northwest film industry. In 1998, he organized the first-ever film lobbying event, he is the President and Chair of political action committee Washington FilmPAC, is an active member of IATSE 488 and the Costume Designers Guild 892, and he serves on the board of the University of Washington School of Drama. He has helped attract new business, and he continues to mentor and support young and up-and-coming talent.

Paul Matthaeus - 2013 Mayor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film Recipient

Paul Matthaeus

2013 Recipient

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After spending 15 years in the ad agency business, Paul Matthaeus founded Digital Kitchen ® (DK) in 1995 with the mission to apply entertainment principles to brands- and in turn- branding principles to entertainment. After studying photography, filmmaking, design and advertising- all at Washington State institutions- Matthaeus aimed to advance broader experimentation and creativity in full-motion electronic media (digital filmmaking), with the goal of heightening audience engagement and brand affinity. Not only has DK grown into a creative force that traverses entertainment and advertising- winning many accolades along the way- Matthaeus has developed the careers of countless digital artists and filmmakers, through DK's home office in Seattle and satellites across the nation.

Benjamin Kasulke - 2012 Mayor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film Recipient

Benjamin Kasulke

2012 Recipient

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Benjamin Kasulke is an award winning Director of Photography based in Seattle, and the cinematographer for the 2012 SIFF Opening Night Film, Your Sister's Sister. Kasulke has lensed over a dozen local feature-length and short films including Lynn Shelton's Humpday (2009 Sundance Special Jury Prize Winner), and Megan Griffith's The Off Hours, where he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography. In addition to his impressive body of cinematography, Kasulke also mentors burgeoning filmmakers through his work at SIFF and the Northwest Film Forum.

Jennifer Roth - 2011 Mayor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film Recipient

Jennifer Roth

2011 Recipient

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Jennifer Roth, a twenty year veteran of the film industry, has cultivated a vibrant career in producing acclaimed films and championing Seattle as a significant filmmaking city. Most recently, Roth has re-teamed with director Darren Aronofsky to executive produce the critical and commercial hit feature Black Swan, which was nominated for five awards - including Best Picture - at the 2011 Academy Awards. Additionally, Roth has served as Board President of the Northwest Film Forum since 2008.

Simon James and David Sabee - 2010 Mayor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film Recipient

Simon James and David Sabee

2010 Recipient

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Thanks in great part to Simon James and David Sabee, Seattle has been so successful at landing film-scoring contracts that composers now rank our city third in the world for scoring, behind only Los Angeles and London. From winning academy awards to adding great music in box-office hits, their leadership and talent continues to make Seattle a great filmmaking city.

Lynn Shelton - 2009 Mayor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film Recipient

Lynn Shelton

2009 Recipient

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Lynn Shelton grew up in Seattle studying acting, painting, poetry, and photography before attending the MFA program in Photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Shelton spent a decade learning the ins and outs of cinema before writing and directing her first feature-length film, We Go Way Back. After premiering at SLAMDANCE 2006 where it received the Grand Jury Award for Best Cinematography, Shelton has gone on to direct award winning, critically acclaimed feature films and television shows including Humpday, $5Cover Seattle, Mad Men, and Your Sister's Sister.

Michael Seiwerath - 2008 Mayor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film Recipient

Michael Seiwerath

2008 Recipient

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Michael Seiwerath worked in the independent film industry in Seattle for more than a decade as both a curator and film producer. From 1996 to 2008 was the artistic director of the Northwest Film Forum (NWFF). In 2005, Seiwerath was the recipient of a Stranger Genius Award. His leadership at the NWFF helped the organization establish its reputation as the premier film exhibition space in Seattle and the hearth of artistic filmmaking in the Pacific Northwest.

James Longley - 2007 Mayor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film Recipient

James Longley

2007 Recipient

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James Longley is Seattle's groundbreaking documentary filmmaker. His latest production, Iraq in Fragments, was nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature in 2007 and won three jury awards at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. Prior to making his first feature documentary titled Gaza Strip in 2001, Longley worked as a film projectionist in Washington, English language teacher in Siberia, newspaper copy editor in Moscow, and web designer in New York City.

Don Jensen - 2006 Mayor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film Recipient

Don Jensen

2006 Recipient

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Don Jensen is the President of Alpha Cine Labs and co-founder of Washington Entertainment Industry Players Association (WEIPA) with a long and successful history in the Seattle film community. Don sits on the Board of Directors of IFP/Seattle and Washington Filmworks, is a sponsor of the Northwest Film Forum Awards, and Entertainment Industry representative on Seattle Mayor's Economic Opportunity Task Force.

Film and Music

Markham McIntyre, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 5752, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94708, Seattle, WA, 98124-4708
Phone: (206) 684-8993

The Office of Film and Music is devoted to promoting Seattle's film and music industries. The Seattle Film and Music Office is a streamlined resource for all of your film and music needs.