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Since 2006, the Mayor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film has been made 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. The award recipient is chosen unanimously by a group of five industry representatives.


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, 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.

2010 Simon James & David Sabee

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.

2009 Lynn Shelton

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.

2008 Michael Seiwerath

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.

2007 James Longley

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.

2006 Don Jensen

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.