Monthly Archives: June, 2017

Final Negotiations Underway—Contact Your Legislators NOW

June 28th, 2017 Posted by blog, get involved 0 comments on “Final Negotiations Underway—Contact Your Legislators NOW”

It’s down to the wire in Olympia, and word on the street is that legislators will have an operating budget signed, sealed and delivered by THIS FRIDAY. Now is the time that programs like the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program get considered.

With the clock ticking, we have one last opportunity to remind legislators that the film incentive and state film office will go away if this program is not included in the final budget. Your voice and your stories can help push the Film Bill across the finish line.

Write, call and email your elected officials NOW—there’s no time to waste!

Faces of Film: Amey René

June 28th, 2017 Posted by blog, Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Amey René”

Name: Amey René

City: The offices for Amey René casting are in the Lake City neighborhood of Seattle. I have the opportunity to work with two talented casting associates, Megan Rosenfeld (who lives in District 46) and Lisa Gaviglio (who lives in District 41.)

What do you do? Briefly describe your work?

I do casting for feature films, television, new media, and commercials with offices in both Seattle and Los Angeles. My team and I collaborate frequently with local Seattle filmmakers including Megan Griffiths, Lynn Shelton, Mel Eslyn, Jennessa West, and Lacey Leavitt. Our goal is to find fresh, new, talented faces, even outside the typical acting community. We are also proud to do casting for tons of commercials that shoot in Washington, everything from car ads to Washington Lotto to Seattle Seahawks (GO HAWKS!) related projects.

Why is Washington State a great place to film?

Washington is a great place to film because it is a big family of workers. Someone who is a PA on one film may be an actor on another, or even direct his or her own short film. Everyone knows everyone, making it feel like a small town rather than a statewide industry. We all work together to grow our individual careers, as well as the community.

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

This city and state is full of great talent. Some are already embedded in the film community, while others come from the stage. It’s exciting to bring amazing talent to producers and be able to say, “Yes, they live in Washington!” I love making the call to someone who is just starting out to tell them that they booked their first job.

We typically aren’t on set, unless we come for a visit. The majority of our work is done in pre-production where we work with producers, writers, and directors. You can’t start shooting without a human body in place to say the lines. We tend to be one of the first to read a script which makes us an integral part of forming the characters and the overall creative direction. We translate the director’s vision into a character that someone can embody. Our initial process is to come up with lists of actors who could fit the part. We also have auditions to find the right talent for the role. Our outreach is not just limited to agents but is influenced by theater, improv, or just someone on the street. We are always pushing unseen talent that could turn into new discoveries.

 

How has the incentive program played a part in your career growth?

One major feature my associates and I cast locally was Captain Fantastic. Without the incentive program in place, I’m not sure the production would have been able to shoot here. If you’ve seen the movie you know that the landscape of Washington State almost becomes another character. That movie went on to play at 2016 Sundance, Cannes and Seattle Film Festivals, and it was nominated for several awards including the Academy Award for Best Actor for Viggo Mortenson. My company was even nominated by the Casting Society of America for Casting.

What kind of financial benefits have you seen or experienced from the incentive in your greater community?

The Seattle film community is lead by several strong female voices, and without the incentive, their projects may not get made which is needed now more than ever. I can’t think of another film community that has as many Wonder Women.

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

Through Amey René Casting, I have been fortunate enough to provide full time employment for two people, part time work for many others, and an internship program that fosters our next crop of filmmakers. 

We pride ourselves on making the community more prepared by doing classes, giving feedback, preparing them not only for the current audition but the next one as well. Our talent needs to be ready for when the big jobs to come to us. Without incentive sponsored opportunities to flex the acting muscle, our talent is going to be stilted and not able to compete with larger markets that work all the time. 

Faces of Film: Avielle Heath

June 27th, 2017 Posted by Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Avielle Heath”

“Washington State has a lot to offer. Not only do we have diverse options for a variety of landscapes—from the Rockies, deserts, ocean and old growth forests—but we also have an ever-expanding arts community. Washingtonians are always helpful when it comes to finding locations to film, working with city permitting, building sets, tracking down specific props, or getting things custom made from local artists. It’s nice to live in a community that wants to see you succeed in any artistic adventure you can imagine.”

– Avielle Heath

Faces of Film: Scott Tebeau

June 27th, 2017 Posted by blog, Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Scott Tebeau”

Name: Scott Tebeau

City: Tacoma

Describe your work: I am a filmmaker. I got my start in special effects makeup and shortly thereafter expanded to screenwriting, producing, directing, shooting, and editing.

Years in the industry: 27

Why is Washington State a great place to film?

The diversity of ecological landscapes in Washington is astounding. The natural environment would meet the needs of almost any production. This is a great asset for local filmmakers that could also be leveraged to bring out-of-state productions to Washington.

Further, the creative culture of Washington is unlike any other. Musical and technological giants have made their homes here and greater support for the film industry could propagate a similarly world-class filmmaking community here as well.

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

Producing a film requires a broad range of skills and extensive collaboration. It is thrilling to meet the complex challenge of realizing a single artistic vision through the combined sweat and creative camaraderie of a dedicated crew.

How has the incentive program played a part in your career growth?

The presence and strength of the incentive program will determine the resources that are available to me (and all other local industry professionals) to produce content and hire in-state. This will be vitally important to me moving forward, as I am establishing a film company, Index Pictures, in collaboration with three Tacoma-based colleagues. We are currently developing our first project, a feature-length film. This is also the first Washington-based project that I am producing.

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

The Washington film industry has the potential to be much more economically fruitful than it currently is. For example, Georgia’s film and television industry, which is supported by a strong state-level tax incentive structure, infused $6 billion into the economy in FY 2015. An important first step toward expanding how film serves Washington is to keep existing support for film production and renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program (MPCP) in 2017. In the future, I would like to see better tax incentives and opportunities for growing independent film companies that use smaller grants to make high-impact films.

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

If the incentive program is not maintained, that could severely hamper my ability to produce local films. It may mean relocating to a state with a stronger incentive program.

Behind the Olympia Curtain – June 2017

June 27th, 2017 Posted by blog, get informed 0 comments on “Behind the Olympia Curtain – June 2017”

This year we wanted to pull back the political curtain and give our community a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes in Olympia. While it may sometimes seem like there’s not a lot of activity on our bills, there’s actually lots (and lots) of activity happening in district and at the state Capitol. Read on to get an insiders look at how we worked together this month to KEEP FILM IN WA!

Session Update

 

As you may have heard, the State Legislature, having failed to resolve its protracted budget negotiations during the first two special sessions, was called into a third special session by Governor Inslee last week. At this point, negotiators are facing some very real consequences: Unless the final budget is settled by this Friday June 30, Washington State will enter a partial government shutdown, which would mean a furlough for many state employees and the closing of state parks, among other things. 

The renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program (MPCP), currently set to sunset on Friday June 30, holds the status of Necessary to the Implementation of the Budget (NTIB), which means that it has continued to be in play throughout the special sessions and that we still have time to advocate for its renewal. We’ve collected a list of legislators who are acting as key budget negotiators during this session. Please contact them today, regardless of whether they represent your home district, and ask them to include a renewal of the MPCP in the final budget.  

Speaker Frank Chopp
(43, D)
Frank.Chopp@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7920

Representative Pat Sullivan (47, D)
Pat.Sullivan@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7858

Representative Kristine Lytton (40, D)
Kristine.Lytton@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7800

Representative Larry Springer (45, D)
Larry.Springer@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7822

Senator John Braun (20, R)
John.Braun@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7638

Senator Randi Becker (2, R)
Randi.Becker@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7602

Senator Kevin Ranker (40, D)
Kevin.Ranker@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7678

Senator Jamie Pedersen (43, D)
Jamie.Pedersen@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7628

Senator Sharon Brown (8, R)
Sharon.Brown@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7614

Press Coverage in June

As the campaign has pressed on into the extra innings of special session after special session, it’s energizing to see that the public support for the bill has not let up, and that publications from around Washington have continued to highlight our cause.

The Spokesman Review, which has covered our campaign extensively, recently published a piece which, drawing on insight from Representative Marcus Riccelli and WF Executive Director Amy Lillard, explains the current situation in Olympia and brings to readers’ attention to just how much is at stake if we lose the film incentive.

We were especially motivated to see the incredible lineup of talent that signed onto this open letter from Seattle’s Women in Film, addressed to Representative Kristine Lytton and published on the Stranger SLOG. These filmmakers have been instrumental in putting Washington Film on the map, and it was through the support of the MPCP that they were able to launch their careers. The support for the program voiced in this letter is meaningful and significant and exactly the message that legislators in Olympia need to hear.

And this article by Valerie Stimac reminds us that film can play the role of ambassador for our state’s tourism industry by highlighting Washington’s natural beauty. Anyone who’s seen Captain Fantastic knows how photogenic our state can be.

The Launch of Our Latest Infographic

An excerpt from our latest Keep Film in WA infographic

 

With all the discussion of the film incentive, people often forget that if the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program goes away… so does the official State Film Office. In our latest Keep Film in WA infographic, launched just this week, we wanted to draw attention to the vital institution at the heart of film production and educate readers on its importance.

The central role this office plays in production isn’t widely known beyond film community, but this infographic lays it all out. Click here to see the whole image, and please share it with legislators and remind them that if the MPCP is allowed to expire, this institution will go away, making Washington the only state in the nation without a Film Office.

Culmination of Faces of Film and Production Spotlight

As you reach out to key budget negotiators listed above, please don’t forget to draw from the content we’ve created throughout the past months. With dual campaigns Faces of Film and Production Spotlight, we’ve sought to highlight the people and places (respectively) that constitute Washington film.

A few of the talented Washingtonians featured in Faces of Film

 

In Faces of Film, we’ve been profiling individuals from our state’s film industry, getting to know a little bit about what they do and hearing about the role that the film incentive has played in their careers. Filmmakers, Stunt Coordinators, Makeup Artists, Locations Scouts, and others have all shared their stories and given a human face to this industry. These are our neighbors and friends, working people whose livelihoods are at stake if the MPCP is allowed to expire. A complete lineup of all our profiles can be found here.

Production Spotlight features a diverse array of projects from every corner of the state

 

One thing people seldom realize is that film production takes place in communities across the state, not just in hubs like Seattle and Spokane. To illustrate that fact, we set out to feature one production from every single one of Washington’s 49 legislative districts. Independent films, TV-shows, new media projects, and commercial productions have all been featured in Production Spotlight, and all 49 projects are available to browse on the Keep Film in WA website right here.

Keep the Film Office Open!

June 26th, 2017 Posted by blog 0 comments on “Keep the Film Office Open!”

With all the discussion of the film incentive, people often forget that if the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program goes away… so does the official State Film Office. In our latest Keep Film in WA infographic, not only do we highlight the direct dollars that the Film Office division brings to communities across the state ($7.2 million last year!), but we also give people a glimpse of all the production resources that live under the Film Office umbrella.

The State Film Office fulfills so many key functions throughout the filmmaking process, particularly early on. Productions will contact the State Film Office and explain what they’re looking for, and the Film Office will work to connect that production with all the necessary resources, here in Washington, aiming to meet the needs of both filmmakers and local communities in a way that is mutually beneficial.

Whether you’re looking to shoot a movie on a decommissioned Navy vessel or just trying to find a local camera operator, your first call is to the State Film Office. It operates and maintains databases of Washington State locations and crew, and because of this wealth of knowledge, it’s often the point of entry for productions looking to bring their production (and production dollars) to our state. Anyone who has worked on productions in Washington knows that the absence of this office would be deeply felt.

Call to Action:

The State Film Office is truly an unsung hero of our state’s film industry. Unless you’re a working member of the film community, you may not even know it exists, let alone understand the extent of its role in film production.

This infographic is a great educational piece about the State Film Office. Share it on social media to help spread the knowledge, and please take a moment to send it to your legislators to remind them what an important institution and invaluable public resource we stand to lose if the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, which provides for the existence of the State Film Office, is allowed to expire on June 30.

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.  

http://www.thestranger.com/slog/2017/06/22/25235161/guest-editorial-a-letter-from-seattles-women-in-film

Speaker Frank Chopp (43, D)
Frank.Chopp@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7920

Representative Pat Sullivan (47, D)
Pat.Sullivan@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7858

Representative Kristine Lytton (40, D)
Kristine.Lytton@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7800

Representative Larry Springer (45, D)
Larry.Springer@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7822

Senator John Braun (20, R)
John.Braun@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7638

Senator Randi Becker (2, R)
Randi.Becker@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7602

Senator Kevin Ranker (40, D)
Kevin.Ranker@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7678

Senator Jamie Pedersen (43, D)
Jamie.Pedersen@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7628

Senator Sharon Brown (8, R)
Sharon.Brown@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7614

 

 

Faces of Film: Alissa Desler

June 21st, 2017 Posted by Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Alissa Desler”

“As a writer and director I find myself returning again and again to central Washington, the dry, rolling, haunted landscapes of the Columbia River Basin. As a producer I found the experience of filming in central Washington remarkably rewarding. Locations were easily secured, talented and passionate cast and crew recruited, local law enforcement supportive, and Washington Filmworks highly informative.”

– Alissa Desler

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.