July 20th marked the last day of the 2017 Washington State Legislature’s 30-day special session. With elected officials returning home to their districts, this edition of Behind the Olympia Curtain marks the last update from the Keep Film in WA campaign for the 2017 Legislative Session.
A 10-Year Renewal
After years of effort in Olympia and around the state, the Keep Film in WA campaign finally secured an unequivocal and momentous victory early this month, when the House and Senate passed a tax preference package that included a 10-year extension for the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program (MPCP). Whether the renewal of the MPCP would be included in the final operating budget, and, if it was, the duration of the renewal, both remained up in the air as late as June 30.
The legislation that finally emerged late that night, which provides for the continued existence of the State Film Incentive and State Film Office through 2027, represents a solid foundation to build on in the years to come.
Bill Signing in Olympia
On Friday July 7, members of the film community from across Washington piled into Governor Inslee’s office for the signing of the bill. Even after the official announcement on June 30 that the 10-year renewal would be included in the budget, there remained a measure of relief that could only be granted by the Governor’s pen.
For more photos from Olympia, please see our blog post about the event.
Celebrating in Seattle and Spokane
Still basking in the afterglow of the hard-fought victory, we’ve been hitting the road to commemorate the renewal with friends around the state. On Thursday July 20, we convened with the Seattle film community at Saint John’s on Capitol Hill. Just a couple months earlier we’d all been in this same room, raising a glass despite the uncertainty of the coming first special session. Now, with the three special sessions behind us and our legislation in the books, the added sense of relief was palpable.
After our Seattle event, we travelled to Spokane, where the always enthusiastic community welcomed special guest Representative Marcus Riccelli (3, D), a prime sponsor and tireless advocate of the renewal bill.
Also in the room was former State Senator Lisa Brown, one member of the legislative leadership team that helped launch the program during the 2006 legislative session.
For more photos from our events in Spokane and Seattle, check out our Facebook album.
See You Soon, Bellingham!
On August 8, Washington Filmworks Executive Director Amy Lillard will be a guest at Bellingham Film’s bimonthly mixer. Amy will be discussing the passage of the renewal and give a preview of where we go from here. We’d love to see you there!
Bellingham Film August Mixer & Panel Discussion: Costume Design
Pickford Film Center
1318 Bay Street, Bellingham
Tuesday, August 8, 6 pm – 9 pm
RSVP on Facebook
Sending Our Thanks
Now that our 2017 legislative campaign is firmly behind us, it’s a great time to follow up with elected officials. If you were in touch with your Senator or Representatives during this long legislative session, don’t forget to reach out to them with a message of thanks and let them know how much their support is appreciated by the Washington State film community.