Monthly Archives: June, 2017

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. 

Faces of Film: Mischa Jakupcak

June 1st, 2017 Posted by blog, Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Mischa Jakupcak”

Name: Mischa Jakupcak

City: Seattle

What do you do? Filmmaker and production company co-founder, working in the field of cinematic virtual reality.

Why is Washington State a great place to film?

I have worked in film for over 12 years, always in the Northwest. Having lived on both sides of the state, first in Seattle, then for several years in Spokane and now back in Seattle, I can vouch for the talent and caliber of the film and television communities across the state.

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

There is no other industry that requires such deep collaboration from such a diverse array of people. From lighting technicians, sound mixers, makeup and wardrobe designers, actors and crew. No other art mixes photography, music, writing, acting and business in the same way. I thrive on set, love juggling several logistical and technical challenges, and being a part of what I think is the best art form around.

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

I started working before the incentive existed, and at that time, I had to take film jobs in Montana and Portland to stay busy enough. Over the years, I’ve worked on over 30 films, 10 of which were supported by the film incentive. If you added the budgets of the incentive-supported films I’ve worked on, I’d conservatively estimate the total at $28 million. That’s a lot. I also co-founded a cinematic virtual reality (VR) company called Mechanical Dreams, which produced seven short VR pieces, including Tracy Rector’s Ch’aak’ S’aagi, the first indigenous directed VR piece to be made in the United States and one of five VR pieces selected to show at Toronto International Film Festival, and Little Potato, a short documentary directed by Wes Hurley and Nathan Miller which just won Grand Jury Prize at SxSW 2017.

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

As the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) industries bloom, Washington State has a huge opportunity to become a world leader in the new tech markets. VR/AR resides at the intersection of so many mammoth industries including healthcare, education, commerce/advertising, not to mention entertainment in video games and films. Because Google, Microsoft, Valve, Facebook and Amazon all have a physical presence in the state, there is no reason that the workforce from the film industry shouldn’t triple and quadruple in the coming years to accommodate the needs for new media and its giant demand for content. Now is the moment to act and prepare to be a part of the future of storytelling. Renewing and expanding the film incentive is one solid first step towards realizing our potential to be world leaders in new media, while also improving our local economy and creating jobs at home.

What would happen to your film career or future work prospects if it were to go away?

I have already had to start developing international contacts to produce content in Canada, China and Korea. If the incentive goes away, in order to continue working in film, television and VR, I will undoubtedly need to leave Seattle much more frequently. And that’s a shame because I have a daughter, a husband and an entire network of colleagues on either side of that state that I would prefer to be doing business with. When the incentive is active, there is no question that we as producers are able to bring more projects to the state. When it has been inactive, those productions go to other states or Vancouver, BC.


Photo Credit: Kimberly Hardy


Faces of Film: Lisa Coronado

June 1st, 2017 Posted by blog, Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Lisa Coronado”

Name: Lisa Coronado

City: West Seattle

Describe your work: I am an actress.  I occasionally will write/produce my own work. 

How long have you been in this industry? I started acting in high school theater and have been professionally acting for almost 10 years. 

Why is Washington State a great place to film?

Oh man, having grown up here I think I’m a little biased on why I love to film in Washington. But from a filmmaker’s standpoint, Washington offers a wide array of landscapes.  Spokane alone was able to provide the Syfy’s Z Nation a backdrop of the whole United States as the characters ‘traveled’ across the country.  With our rugged coast to the West, our stunning mountains in the center and our desert like lands in the East, Washington has it all.  Add onto that professional crew members and actors who are hungry for work and are so very talented. 

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

Washington’s incentive program brought Z Nation to our state.  It was such a crazy and exciting time for us actors and crew.  And when I booked a recurring role, I just couldn’t believe it.  I never thought I could make a living at this.  With Z Nation I was able to get health insurance for myself and my family.  I think I’m more proud of that than anything!  The Washington Film Incentive Program is directly a part of that.  It has had a huge impact on my work and my life. And while I’m not allowed to go into specifics, I was also able to shoot on Twin Peaks, (also a WF project) in 2015.  Working with David Lynch was a huge career highlight.  He’s just brilliant and so kind. 

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

I think for our legislators, I want them to know that I’m a working class person.  I am not Hollywood royalty.  I am not wealthy.  I’m trying to make a living doing what I love, and I want to do it here.  I’m rooted in Washington.  My kids go to school here.  My husband runs a business here.  I could have moved to Los Angeles, but I’m stubborn, and if there’s any way to keep working here, then I’m going to go after it, but I can’t do it alone.  The Film Incentive Program has to be here, or we will get passed up by production companies who can go to Canada or Portland, where there are robust incentives.  We have to be competitive with them.  If the incentive goes away, then so does the likelihood of me being able to sustain a career here, and I would have to explore other options, including a move to L.A., and I know I’m not the only actor in that position. 

Faces of Film: Rebecca Cook

June 1st, 2017 Posted by blog, Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Rebecca Cook”

Name: Rebecca Cook

City: Spokane

Describe your work: Professionally, I worked in wardrobe for 8 years and am starting my third year as an assistant accountant on Z Nation. I’m also an actress, a voice over (VO) actor, and I direct and produce short films. I also teach VO and basic film classes. I am an Executive Board Member of IATSE Local 488, a board member of Spokane Film Project, and am the Spokane Community Coordinator for WA Filmworks.

How long have you been in this industry? I’ve been working in film for 11 years (theatre for 20 years).

Why is Washington State a great place to film?

Washington State is a great place to film because of our talented crew base, our diverse (untapped) locations, our film friendly city policies, our four seasons, and our film incentive! I also like that I can live at home and do my work, instead of having to go on location across the country.

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

My favorite part of the film industry is the people. We work in close, intense conditions, and in Spokane we get to work with the same crew frequently, so it feels like family. I also have to admit that I will forever be drawn to the magic of bringing stories to life. It’s so invigorating to get a script and envision how to bring it all to life! I love the problem solving that happens on set when you’re in a pinch.

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

The incentive is the reason I have a career in film. Before the incentive, I was working multiple jobs in theatre and VO and anything else I could find so I could have meaningful work in my career field, but since the incentive was born, I’ve been able to have full time work with benefits. I bought a house and paid off a car. It’s also brought quality filmmakers to the area, so I’ve been lucky to work with and learn from some pretty amazing pros over the years. I’ve grown so much as an artist by working alongside experienced and innovative filmmakers.

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

Financially, I own a home. My car is paid off. I have health insurance and a pension. I’m able to fund some of my own projects because I make a good living wage. I’m also able to spend time between projects teaching classes, speaking to high school and college students, and nurturing less experienced filmmakers in our community.

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

I want legislators to know how vital this program is to our community. It brings in revenue and jobs in unique and diverse ways. It brings out some of the great undiscovered talents of our people. It gives people a special kind of pride to see our city or state on a screen – whether big or little. It’s more than just the big bucks it generates, it’s also a source of our civic pride. 

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

If this program goes away, then I have two options – change the career path I’ve carved out or move. I have no interest in doing either one, but when we lost the incentive for a year previously, I didn’t have work for a year and a half. I simply could not afford to go through that again and I am certainly not alone.