Monthly Archives: June, 2017

Women in Film Speak Out

June 22nd, 2017 Posted by blog 0 comments on “Women in Film Speak Out”

Today The Stranger published a letter from some of Washington State’s most successful female filmmakers that was addressed to House Finance Chair Kristine Lytton (40, D). Because the film industry has not been able to meet face-to-face with Representative Lytton this legislative session, the letter is a very powerful and public plea to save the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program (MPCP). The letter reminds Representative Lytton that the MPCP has great support on both sides of the aisle and that organizations such as the Washington State Labor Council and the Association of Washington Businesses support its renewal.  

The bill to renew the MPCP is stuck in the House Finance Committee (despite the fact that more than half of the committee members are sponsors of the bill). The clock is ticking and we must work together to remind key budget negotiators that this bill has wide and unwavering support.  

Take this letter and share it with your elected officials and the following key budget negotiators. Ask them to include the MPCP in the final budget. The future of film in this state depends on it.

Speaker Frank Chopp (43, D)
(360) 786-7920

Representative Pat Sullivan (47, D)
(360) 786-7858

Representative Kristine Lytton (40, D)
(360) 786-7800

Representative Larry Springer (45, D)
(360) 786-7822

Senator John Braun (20, R)
(360) 786-7638

Senator Randi Becker (2, R)
(360) 786-7602

Senator Kevin Ranker (40, D)
(360) 786-7678

Senator Jamie Pedersen (43, D)
(360) 786-7628

Senator Sharon Brown (8, R)
(360) 786-7614



Olympia Enters Third Special Session

June 21st, 2017 Posted by blog 0 comments on “Olympia Enters Third Special Session”

Today marks the end of the second 30-day special session and (not surprisingly) Governor Inslee called the start of the third special session immediately. This article from The Everett Herald sheds some light on the state of the negotiations for the 2-year operating budget.

With the end of the fiscal year looming on June 30, the pressure is truly on. If the budget remains unresolved by that date, now less than 10 days away, Washington will experience a partial government shutdown with sweeping effects across the state.

As before, the legislation to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program (MPCP) is considered Necessary to the Implementation of the Budget (NTIB) and thus remains on the negotiating table and in play during this special session.

Call to Action:

Please write, email, or call your legislators and ask them to ensure that the final budget includes an extension of the MPCP. Remind them that if the MPCP is allowed to expire on June 30, Washington will lose the state film incentive, putting the our film industry at a deep disadvantage when bidding for future productions. The expiration of the MPCP would also mean the end of the State Film Office, making Washington the only state in the nation without one. We cannot allow this to happen.

If you’ve spoken with your legislators in the past, please reach out again and renew the dialogue. It is absolutely critical for the Keep Film in WA campaign that the film professionals of Washington State let their advocacy for the MPCP be heard in Olympia.

District 25: Mysteries at the Castle

June 21st, 2017 Posted by Production Spotlight 0 comments on “District 25: Mysteries at the Castle”

There’s no shortage of incredible locations in Washington State including the Meeker Mansion in Puyallup, which recently hosted the Travel Channel’s show Mysteries at the Castle.  This is what the News Tribune had to say about hoisting the show locally:

The program, which takes viewers behind the scenes of historic and opulent estates, will showcase the lavishly outfitted and carefully preserved Victorian architecture of Meeker’s Mansion. This downtown property is one of Puyallup’s oldest homes.

The Travel Channel’s interest in the mansion was in regard to Meeker’s extraordinary commitment to preserve the Oregon Trail late in his life, said Nick Fracarro, associate producer for the Mysteries at the Castle series.

District 47: Recoil 3

June 16th, 2017 Posted by Production Spotlight 0 comments on “District 47: Recoil 3”

Recoil 3 made a guest appearance in Washington State using the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe’s land as a backdrop. Recoil 3 is just one of the hundreds of projects the film office works works with each year. Film office projects are generally smaller, more nimble productions than the blockbusters that come through the production incentive program, but they have an incredible impact on our local economy (spending $7.2million in communities across the state last year.) These projects are also incredible calling cards for Washington State and can be seen in cities around the world. Not only can you watch Recoil 3 online, but the project also took center stage on the Jumbotron in Times Square. Great photo – great project!

District 46: World’s Greatest Dad

June 15th, 2017 Posted by Production Spotlight 0 comments on “District 46: World’s Greatest Dad”

World’s Greatest Dad provided me with gainful employment and an opportunity to witness the protocols on a larger-budget production, which gave me a competitive edge and a deeper sense of confidence on future projects.”

– Megan Griffiths, Filmmaker

IATSE Local 488 Celebrates 25 Years

June 15th, 2017 Posted by blog 0 comments on “IATSE Local 488 Celebrates 25 Years”

The Keep Film in WA campaign is proud to offer its congratulations to IATSE Local 488 on celebrating its 25th year representing the hard-working men and women behind the scenes.

IATSE represents the vast majority of film and video technicians working in television, movie, and commercial production, and Local 488’s membership currently includes over 650 people working in 18 different crafts. This milestone year kicked off in April, at a signature event held in Portland, Oregon. You can read about the activities of the day right here.

On the occasion of this momentous event, the Keep Film in WA campaign is reminded of the unwavering support that has been provided by all our local unions during the course of this campaign, including IATSE Local 488 and Local 600, Teamsters Local 174, and SAG-AFTRA.

Partnering with the Keep Film in WA Campaign, our local unions have supported the advocacy effort by….

  • Financially supporting Film Day in Olympia
  • Delivering a Letter of Support to elected officials
  • Facilitating a union lobby day in Olympia
  • Passing an official resolution in support of the renewal of Washington Filmworks at the 2016 WA State Labor Council convention 

Having the backing of the working people of Washington’s film industry has been essential throughout this campaign, and we look forward to our continued partnership with local unions as we all work together to Keep Film in WA!

Faces of Film: George Riddell

June 14th, 2017 Posted by Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: George Riddell”

“The quality of our work is only as good as the quality of the people who create it. Washington can proudly boast of a talented pool of production crew and actors who make the work great. But these people can’t be taken for granted.

A robust film industry in Washington means they can live here, because they can work here. But I have watched helplessly for the past several years as good people have left for so-called greener pastures—Oregon, California, Georgia—because there isn’t enough work for them in Washington. If the film incentive is allowed to sunset, even more talented actors and film professionals are certain to leave Washington.

My business relies on many talented members of the Washington motion picture industry, and the loss of more talent would threaten the future of my business and others like it.”

– George Riddell

Faces of Film: Tony Becerra

June 14th, 2017 Posted by blog, Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Tony Becerra”

Name: Tony Becerra

City: Seattle

Describe your work: I’m an Assistant Director, in charge of scheduling, breaking down scripts and running set. 

Why is Washington State a great place to film?

I’ve filmed hundreds of commercials in every kind of weather and terrain, all in our state. It’s doubled for New York, Utah, South Korea, and it only takes a short drive to either have desert, snow, mountains, or sea as your backdrop, and advertisers know this, and our state stays busy year round.

What do you enjoy most about the work that you do? About being on set? 

My job is logistics and information, to help bring large crews together to create the best project we can, and working at home, with people I trust and enjoy working with, is one of the highlights.

How has the incentive played a role in your career growth?  

With the incentive I’ve been able to raise a family, join my union, gain health insurance and work with amazing incoming productions that I wouldn’t normally, if I lived elsewhere. 

What would you like legislators to know about the incentive renewal?

The incentive allows us to stay competitive, allows work to grow and new crews to be trained. It stops runaway productions to Canada and keeps our best and brightest crew working to build more infrastructure in state, to support larger jobs. Losing that means losing our edge. 

What would happen with your film career and life if it were to go away?

Myself and other union workers couldn’t stay in state to support our families. We’d have to go out of state and look elsewhere for work. Businesses suffer, whether it’s felt now or down the road, the loss of incoming productions hurt everyone’s bottom line.

Faces of Film: Rik Deskin

June 9th, 2017 Posted by Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Rik Deskin”

“I began working in this community in 1994. I have seen the acting community diminished due to lack of work opportunities. I have also seen a new influx of actors over the past decade that have settled into Washington thanks to our film incentive. The film incentive is vital to Washington State Actors. Without it, we will be forced to look for work in other states. I would much rather work here where my family and friends live.”

– Rik Deskin

A Letter in Support of the State Film Office

June 7th, 2017 Posted by blog 0 comments on “A Letter in Support of the State Film Office”

Often when people think about the work of Washington Filmworks (WF), the incentive program is what first comes to mind, but what they may not realize is that WF also is the official state film office.  Last year, the film office received 318 calls from directors, producers and studio executives looking for information about how and where to film in Washington State.  37% of these calls were converted to business right here at home, generating an esimated total of $7.2 million of direct spend in communities across the state.  

George Riddell, from the Seattle-based BigHouse Production, writes a compelling letter about the importance of not only saving the production incentive program but the film office as well.  Read below for his open letter, previously published on the BigHouse Production website and reproduced here with the permission of the author. 

George Riddell of BigHouse Production

Did you know that Washington lawmakers may be legislating the state film office out of existence? Unlike in previous years, failure to pass the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program bill this year will force the program to sunset on June 30, 2017. This will not only end the current film production incentive, but it will force the closure of the vitally important Washington State Film Office and the layoff of all paid employees. This issue is not just important to the state’s motion picture industry. Anybody who works in advertising, corporate marketing, public relations, local media, or anybody with an interest in maintaining a healthy creative ecosystem in Washington should be alarmed.

You probably weren’t aware of this aspect of an ongoing issue that the state’s filmmakers have been working on for years. Until now, the push by the state’s motion picture industry has been focused on preserving and growing our state’s film production incentive—and it still definitely is. But this year, the issue has changed. That’s because the current program is scheduled to end on June 30. That’s when the original legislation that established the program is scheduled to sunset.

The film industry’s multi-year effort has been led by Washington Filmworks, the nonprofit organization that manages the state’s incentive program. Washington Filmworks also serves as the Washington State Film Office, a function that exists to support any and all motion picture projects—in-state and out-of-state, regardless of their interest in, or qualifications for the film incentive. The State Film Office fields hundreds of inquiries from producers, filmmakers, advertising agencies, and others about everything from locations to film permit application processes in the state. They also collaborate with over 100 film liaisons and film offices across the state, in places such as, such as Seattle, Spokane, Shoreline, Wenatchee, Bellingham and Burien (yes, there is a film office in Burien).

Perhaps the most important function of the State Film Office is “pitching” the state as an ideal setting for motion picture or commercial filming projects. This takes place at trade shows and film festivals around the world, and over the phone almost every day. Last year alone, the State Film Office received 318 filming inquires which generated $7.2 million of direct spending in communities across the state. These are projects that might have filmed elsewhere. But they decided on Washington because of the State Film Office. 

These projects result in local jobs and economic stimulus in every region of Washington. Eliminating the State Film Office will decimate vital resources, including the location database – repository for tens of thousands of digital images of film locations from across Washington. Curation of this database is another critical function of the State Film Office. In-state and out-of-state productions make frequent use of the images and information in the location database. Additionally, the office provides guidance and information to film producers about permit requirements in various jurisdictions, as well as details about the state’s production service providers such as caterers, crew members, equipment rental companies etc.

Small But Mighty Film Incentive

Washington’s incentive is small by the standards set in other states (and provinces). Washington’s annual $3.5 million cap on attracting feature film and TV series projects is dwarfed by gargantuan funds in Georgia, New York, New Mexico, California and British Columbia that each easily exceeds $100 million per year. Even Oregon’s $14 million incentive fund is substantial enough to sustain three TV series and multiple feature film productions each year. But even at just $3.5 million a year, the incentive program is an important tool to land new business.

Washington’s $3.5 million fund provides enough money to incentivize the producers of the hit Syfy series “Z-Nation,” a post-apocalyptic zombie drama now in its third year on the network. “Z-Nation,” which is seen around the world is filmed in Spokane and has generated over $8 million in direct spending to more than 100 local businesses, including vehicle and equipment rental companies, insurance businesses, caterers and restaurants, hotels and numerous Eastern Washington retailers. Washington-based cast and crew members for the show (including zombie extras) have earned nearly $12 million in wages, at an average hourly rate of $35.05.

Washington Filmworks has delivered a model film incentive program here that has proven to return $10 for every $1 invested over the past 10 years of its existence. So Washington’s film incentive brings tremendous value to the state and our motion picture industry – employing in-state cast and crew and stimulating our economy. And as Washington Filmworks and the state’s film industry have been saying for years, this incentive deserves to be extended AND expanded.

But, we should also recognize the looming threat to the Washington Film Office. This is a vital resource for the industry it serves, and few people (including legislators) understand that this entity is at risk of being eliminated by the failure to pass the current legislation (HB1527 and SB 5502).

Calls and emails to state legislators can be helpful ways to inform them about your concerns. Use this link to find your legislative district and the contact information for your Washington State RepresentativesThen let them know you support passage of HB 1527 and SB 5502 – the Washington Motion Picture Competitiveness Program.

Call to Action:

Please contact your legislators today and remind them that if the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program (MPCP) is allowed to expire on June 30—just a few weeks away—then, in addition to losing the film incentive, Washington will also become the only state in the nation without a state film office. Please urge your legislators to prevent this from happening, by including an extension of the MPCP in the final budget.