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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.

It Happened at the State Capital

May 11th, 2017 Posted by blog, get informed 0 comments on “It Happened at the State Capital”

In our ongoing effort to keep the pressure on Olympia to include the film incentive in the final budget, we’re excited to publicly debut this year’s legislative movie poster! Elvis fans may note a striking resemblance to the poster for one of Washington State’s early claims to silver screen fame, It Happened at the World’s Fair. The difference? The starring roles on our posters go to the prime sponsors of the film bill, Randi Becker (2, R) and Marcus Riccelli (3, D). Look closer and you’ll see the credits are populated with many names of the legislators who’ve shown support for the bill. In Olympia, like in the film industry, it takes the commitment of a team to see a project through to completion. 

Earlier this month, the Keep Film in WA campaign hand delivered one of these posters to each and every legislator in Olympia! With our professional lobbying efforts hammering home the importance of the film bill, we thought we would add something new to the conversation with our legislative movie poster.

CALL TO ACTION:

Help us by sharing this eye-grabber across social media, with friends and film supporters. And while you’re at it, please take a few minutes and share this image with your legislators and ask them to support the renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, set to expire on June 30 of this year (just over a month from now).

It has been made clear to our campaign that the only way the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program will get included in the final budget is if constituents reach out to their elected officials. Please use this poster as a vehicle to do so today!

Behind the Olympia Curtain – April 2017

April 25th, 2017 Posted by blog, get informed 0 comments on “Behind the Olympia Curtain – April 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!

The Keep Film in WA Campaign Hits the Road

Throughout April, The Keep Film in WA campaign traveled across the state, rallying film communities to keep the pressure on their elected officials in Olympia. Advocacy isn’t easy; it requires patience, persistence and energy, and it’s rare to find a community as energized and inspired as Washington’s film professionals. Thanks for all of your hard work – let’s keep at it TOGETHER!

Talking Virtual Reality in Bellingham

If the future of film is about the intersection of technology and storytelling, there is nowhere else in the United States more perfectly positioned to capitalize on this movement than Washington State. The rise of virtual reality (VR) is popping up all around Washington State and on April 11, Amy Lillard moderated a panel discussion on VR, presented by Bellingham Film and the Cascadia International Women’s Film Festival. The panelists included Bellingham artist Avielle Heath, and filmmaker Sandy Cioffi whose start-up collective Fearless 360° is exploring new media potential for immersive storytelling. Along the way, Amy got to talk to the crowd about the Keep Film in WA Campaign and how to get involved!

Pen to Paper in Spokane

Amy Lillard headed east to participate in the letter writing campaign and to give Spokane an Olympia update. Congrats to the group for delivering over 700 letters for House Finance and Senate Ways and Means Committee members and authoring the Declaration for Creativity.

Toasting the Start of Special Session in Seattle

With April 23 marking the official end of the regular legislative session, it’s fast becoming a tradition this time of year to raise a glass to the start of the special session, so on Thursday, April 20, that’s what we did, gathering Seattle’s film community at Saint John’s Bar & Eatery for a discussion of what it all means for the Film Bill and where we go from here. Amy Lillard warned of a tough road ahead, noting that over the coming months, much of the budget negotiation will take place behind closed doors, but that it will remain absolutely vital that we keep the pressure on elected officials. Check in to the Keep Film in WA blog for the latest calls to action.

Keep Zombies in WA 

Another exciting event this month was the launch of our Keep Zombies in WA infographic. One of the challenges we face is determining how best to communicate all the data that supports our campaign, so when it comes time to launch an infographic, we try to pack as much good stuff in as we can. You might have seen this one floating around your social media feeds a few weeks back, but in case you haven’t check it out in all its glory right here. We also shared it the old fashioned way; Krys Karns and Amy Lillard took the trip to Olympia, where they hand delivered one of these (in poster form) to every Representative and Senator. 

Addressing the Heritage Caucus 

On March 29, Amy Lillard spoke before the Heritage Caucus, a public meeting of legislators, state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and members of the public who are interested in heritage and culture, currently co-chaired by Sen. Jim Honeyford (R, 15) and Rep. Steve Tharinger (D, 24).  This opportunity gave Amy the opportunity to talk to key community members about the benefits of having a vibrant statewide film community.

Press Coverage in April

“When you have a TV show, people move and settle here in your city. It took years to rebuild this crew base, and we do not want to lose those people,” Washington Filmworks vice chair Juan Mas explained in an interview with Charles Mudede earlier this month. As part of the issue dedicated to Spokane, Mudede, the Stranger’s film editor, used his column inches to talk about the looming sunset date of Motion Picture Competitiveness Program. His piece provides a brief history of the program and discusses the damaging impact its departure might have on the state’s film industry. Read the entire piece online right here.

Faces of Film

Meanwhile, our Faces of Film campaign spotlighting Washington State film industry professionals is starting to fill out. Watch for it to continue to grow in the coming weeks, as we release more interviews with the people that make Washington film what it is. We’d love it if you participated as well! Share an image of yourself working your craft on social media. Include the hashtag #KeepFilmInWA and a short statement about why film is important in Washington State.

The 30-Day Special Session Has Begun

April 24th, 2017 Posted by blog, get informed, get involved 0 comments on “The 30-Day Special Session Has Begun”

On Friday, Governor Inslee announced what seemed to be inevitable – a special 30-day legislative session to continue the negotiations of the 2-year operating budget for the State of Washington (which officially opened today at 10am).

The end of regular session does not mean the end of the film bill. Our legislation is considered Necessary to the Implementation of the Budget (NTIB) and thus remains on the negotiating table and very much in play during the entirety of this special session.

The period of this special session is absolutely critical for the Keep Film in WA campaign, and during the coming weeks, the film professionals of Washington State must make sure their voices, stories, and advocacy for the film bill continue to be heard in Olympia.


Call to Action:

Please take this opportunity to write, email, call, (or even tweet at!) your legislators and ask them to ensure that the final budget includes an extension of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program.

If you’ve spoken with your legislators in the past, don’t feel shy about reaching out again to touch base and keep the dialogue alive. We have a deeply dedicated, informed, and involved film community here in Washington, but elected officials in Olympia need to hear from you to make it count.

Join Us in Seattle on Thursday!

April 19th, 2017 Posted by blog, get informed, get involved 0 comments on “Join Us in Seattle on Thursday!”

The current legislative session in Olympia is ending on April 23, so we thought it was a good time to update the community on the current status of the film bill—decidedly not dead—and raise a glass to the inevitable start of the 30 day special legislative session!

If that’s all already starting to sound too dry and wonky for you, don’t worry! We’ll break it all down and explain exactly what this means in practical terms for the “Keep Film in WA” campaign. 

There’s still a lot we can all do to help this bill get passed, so please join us on Thursday and find out how you can get involved! For those film fans not in Seattle, stay tuned to the Keep Film in WA blog for breaking news about events in Olympia.  


Seattle – Thursday, 4/20/17
Washington Filmworks Legislative Update

Join us as we toast the end of the end of regular legislative session (April 23) and celebrate the launch of the inevitable 30-day special session! Amy Lillard will give an update on our progress in Olympia and give our Seattle-based advocates a roadmap of how to get involved.

5 pm – 7 pm – Saint John’s Bar & Eatery
719 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122

Entertain, Engage, Educate!

April 17th, 2017 Posted by blog, get informed, get involved 0 comments on “Entertain, Engage, Educate!”

You don’t have to be following the news that closely to have heard that funding education is a big issue for our state this year. What may not be as obvious is the instrumental role our state’s creative community plays in the classroom. Interactive content, much of which is developed by Washington’s creative professionals, is an indispensable staple of today’s curriculum. Educators draw on this material to enhance student engagement, inspiring children and effecting quantifiable results in performance. 

A renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program does not just provide support for the film industry, it also ensures that a broad-based creative talent pool can take root in our state, and continue to develop content and technology with far-reaching applications, one of which is providing educational content that can reach every child across the state. 

Thanks again to the students and faculty of the Seattle Film Institute for their hard work on creating this public service announcement (PSA) for the “Keep Film in WA” campaign. It’s part of a series that they’ve produced for the campaign—if you missed last week’s video, Free Billy, check it out right here


Call to Action:
 
Share this PSA with your legislators and ask them to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program and maintain a vibrant local creative industry.  Remind them that the film bill has effects that extend far beyond the silver screen, that this program creates a foundation on which a statewide creative community can build and grow. 

Introducing: Free Billy!

April 13th, 2017 Posted by blog, get informed, get involved 0 comments on “Introducing: Free Billy!”

 

So does Billy ever come to the floor for a vote? Does he get passed and become a law?

Well, we don’t know yet. But while we wait for this cliffhanger to be over, enjoy Free Billy.

This delightful Public Service Announcement (PSA) is the first in a series produced by the Seattle Film Institute (SFI). Huge thanks to the students and faculty of SFI for bringing a much-needed dose of levity to the tense (and, yes, sometimes a little dry) proceedings in Olympia. A special thank you to SAG-AFTRA, as well, for their support in the production of this PSA.

Free Billy profiles the plight our real life Billy—HB 1527 in The House and SB 5502 in The Senate—which both remain in their respective finance committees. It has never been more important for us to make the case for this bill. Without its passage, the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program and the state film office will expire on June 30. As the regular legislative session draws to a close, the future of film in Washington State hangs in the balance. 


Call to Action:
 
Share this video with your friends on social media, especially with those whose lives and livelihoods are affected by this legislation.

And please send Free Billy to your elected officials and ask them to free the film bill—HB 1527 and SB 5502—from committee and make sure it is part of the final budget. Beyond being a great showcase of in-state talent, the PSA also reminds audiences about some important things about the production incentive program, reminding legislators that:

• For every $1 spent by the film incentive program, approved productions generated an estimated $10 of economic activity in the statewide economy.

• Washington State’s film incentive is smart – and designed so that no money gets paid out of the program until after the jobs are created for local workers and after production has spent money with local businesses.

• And approved productions have spent money in every legislative district!

Keep an eye out for more PSAs from our partners at the Seattle Film Institute, which we’ll be releasing here and across social media in the coming weeks.

Keep Zombies in WA!

April 5th, 2017 Posted by blog, get informed, get involved 0 comments on “Keep Zombies in WA!”

Washington Filmworks recently announced that Z Nation will return to shoot Season 4 here in Washington, and that is great news for the state’s film community and its economy. 

Securing an episodic series like Z Nation has always been a priority for Washington Filmworks. The presence of a such a production in our state encourages investment in infrastructure and provides long-term, sustainable work for Washington film industry professionals. 

The map below shows how this series has reached communities across the state. Each pinpoint represents a shooting location, a business where Z Nation production spending took place, or the hometown of a cast and or crew member from the show. 

 

CALL TO ACTION:

The infographic below is stacked with information about the real-world impact that Z Nation has had on our state, ranging from testimonials of small business owners to hard data on production spending. It’s an effective illustration of the widespread positive economic impact that film and television production has in cities and towns across the state. Share this infographic on social media, with the film community, film supporters, and especially with those of your friends who can only absorb data after its been adequately girded by zombies.

And most importantly, please take a few minutes and share this infographic with your legislators and ask them to support the renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, set to expire on June 30 of this year. Remind them that it is because of this program that Z Nation has been able to keep production spending flowing into a variety of Washington businesses and communities across the state. 

Join Us in Bellingham, Spokane, or Seattle!

April 5th, 2017 Posted by blog, get informed, get involved 0 comments on “Join Us in Bellingham, Spokane, or Seattle!”

Washington Filmworks Executive Director Amy Lillard is hitting the road next week to participate in a handful of community events around the state. Come mix and mingle and learn how you can get involved with the campaign to Keep Film in WA.


Bellingham – Tuesday, 4/11/17
Virtual Reality Panel & Mixer 
Hosted by Bellingham Film and 
Cascadia International Women’s Festival

Amy Lillard moderates a conversation with Mischa Jakupcak of Mechanical Dreams, Bellingham filmmaker Avielle Heath, and Sandy Cioffi of Fearless 360° about an ascendant storytelling medium of our time: virtual reality. There will be demos, so you can experience some of the VR work that has been created already.

6pm – 9pm – Pickford Film Center
1318 Bay St, Bellingham, WA 98225

Spokane – Thursday, 4/13/17  
2017 Get Involved Open Meeting
Hosted by Spokane Film Project

Celebrating the return of Z Nation to Washington for its fourth season is at the top of the ticket tonight, but there will be plenty of time for Spokane Film Project to give a general preview of their plans for 2017 and for Amy Lillard to update attendees on the current status of the bill. 

6pm – 8pm – Hamilton Studio
1427 W Dean Ave, Spokane, WA 99201

Seattle – Thursday, 4/20/17
Washington Filmworks Legislative Update

Join us as we toast the end of the end of regular legislative session (April 23) and celebrate the launch of the inevitable 30-day special session! Amy Lillard will give an update on our progress in Olympia and give our Seattle-based advocates a roadmap of how to get involved. 

5 pm – 7 pm – Saint John’s Bar & Eatery
719 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122

Behind the Olympia Curtain – March 2017

March 28th, 2017 Posted by blog, get informed 0 comments on “Behind the Olympia Curtain – March 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!

Let the Negotiations Begin!

 

Over the past two weeks, the Senate and House released their proposed two-year operating budget for the state. The proposals released from each chamber reflect the priorities of each party, with the Republicans having majority in the Senate and the Democrats having control of the House. Once the House passes its proposal, the negotiations for a final budget will begin in earnest.

What does that mean for HB 1527 and SB 5502? The fight continues!

The Keep Film in WA campaign did not expect or anticipate that our bills would be included in either budget. As Representative Marcus Riccelli (3, D) suggested on Film Day, our bills are considered NTIB (Necessary to Implement the Budget) and are alive until the very end of session. Tax incentive programs are generally an end game negotiation, so it just means that we have to keep the pressure on!

Film Day 2017

On March 13, for the third year running, we rallied hundreds of filmmakers from across the state to make the trek from their various hometowns to Olympia, where they convened under the Capitol dome for a full day of lobbying. For hours, constituents met with legislators in their own offices across the Capitol grounds to make the case for maintaining the film incentive.

It’s rare that an industry shows as much enthusiasm and dedication for representing their own interests as the Washington film community has, and though our professional lobbying efforts are incredibly important, there’s no substitute for the kind of grassroots support we saw on Film Day this year. 

In addition to the lobbying efforts, Film Day 2017 also included virtual reality and augmented reality demonstrations, giving legislators and attendees alike a glimpse at today’s ascendant storytelling media and clearly demonstrating the need for Washington State to stay on the cutting edge of the industry. And of course, no Film Day would be complete without zombies, as you can see in King 5 Film Day special, embedded above. 

For an exhaustive rundown on the day’s events, including a whole ton of pictures, read our full report right here

Town Hall Events in March 


Attending your legislators’ in-district Town Hall event remains one of the most effective (and easiest!) ways to lobby. When making one’s case to an elected official, there’s really no substitute for an informed and in-person appeal, especially when it’s backed up with your own personal story.

Thanks for those that attended your local events – and a special shout out to those constituents in the 3, 6, 22, 36, and 43 legislative districts who followed up with the Keep Film in WA campaign to tell us what their local elected officials had to say about the Film Bill.

If you have any information about Town Hall events scheduled in your district, please email us so we can help spread the word—info@keepfilminwa.com

Keep Film in WA in the Community

During the campaign the Keep Film in WA staff spends time in the community talking to film professionals about how they can be involved. This month, Washington Filmworks Executive Director was invite to rally the troops at a few local events including Filmapalooza and Share Grid’s Launch event.

Think of Filmapalooza as a sort of 48-Hour Film Project World Cup, where winners from all the previous year’s contests around the world compete against one another, in a long weekend of screenings, parties, and networking.

 

Keep Film in WA is also happy to welcome ShareGrid to Seattle! ShareGrid is a service that brings the sharing economy to the film industry, providing a platform for filmmakers to rent out their idle film and photography equipment-cameras, lenses, risers, lights, and yes, even drones. With a built-in insurance policy, the arrangement can be a win-win for both the owner and the renter. 

In April, Amy Lillard will be participating in events in both Bellingham and Spokane – come and visit!

The World Premiere of Our Washington-Produced Public Service Announcements

In March, we also began releasing this season’s Keep Film in WA’s public service announcements. We’re launching them one at a time (so no, you cannot binge-watch all of them right now, sorry) and so far only the first has gone live, The Spokane Film Project’s Fil-Bill, which takes a closer look at where all that in-state film production money actually ends up. It’s an edifying microeconomics primer for both legislator and layman. Give it a watch, if you haven’t already, and watch for more PSAs in the coming weeks. The next PSAs we will be posting were produced by the students at the Seattle Film Institute, so stay tuned!
As we debut these videos, please share them with your peers and your legislators. Not only do they do a good job illustrating and breaking down key details about the film incentive, they’re also all great examples of Washington State talent.