Archive | January 2012

A Big Win For Everyone Involved

While Washington Filmworks lobbies to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, a 2011 feature film from that very program is charming critics and audiences at Sundance 2012.  Shot in Washington last spring, Safety Not Guaranteed is the story of a magazine intern investigating a mysterious classified ad that seeks a time travel companion.  The Hollywood Reporter called this funny movie with a compelling theme “a big win for everyone involved.”

Safety Not Guaranteed is undoubtedly a big win for Washington. Each time someone watches this movie they’ll see “made in Washington” at the end of the credits along with a Washington Filmworks logo.  Films shot in Washington represent highly valuable screen time for our state, especially in light of the fact that the legislature cut funding for the state tourism office during the 2011 legislative session.

Producer Stephanie Langhoff had fantastic things to say about filming Safety Not Guaranteed here.  “I can’t speak highly enough of my experience shooting in Washington state.  The incentive was the main draw initially and then when I met and worked with our crew, I have to say that would be an equal draw in the future.  Our cast and crew consisted almost entirely of locals and they couldn’t have been more capable, professional, or kind.  The locations were perfect and the hotels, restaurants and the city of Seattle in general were joys to experience.”

Langhoff’s words illustrate a scenario we hear time and again.  The Motion Picture Competitiveness Program is the initial hook that brings a production to Washington, but it is the experience of filming here that brings producers back.  Both parts of this equation are vital to a producer’s decision making process.

If you were a cast or crew member on Safety Not Guaranteed and support the renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, please write your legislators.  Tell them about the success of this project.  Let them know that the incentive was an essential part of bringing this production to Washington and keeping you employed.

Get informed.  Get involved.  Get renewed.

Safety Not Guaranteed: Sundance Film Review – The Hollywood Reporter

Time-Travel Comedy Safety Not Guaranteed Turns Internet Meme Into Romance – Wired

Sundance 2012: ‘Safety’ offers time-travel heart, laughs  – LA Times

Sundance Review: ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ – MSN

Seattle at Sundance: ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ – Seattle Times

Olympia Calls for Job Creation, Now

2012 opening day speeches gave some insight into the priorities of our State legislators in Olympia.  Washington Filmworks was particularly eager to hear from House Speaker, Rep. Frank Chopp (D-Seattle, 43rd Legislative District).  As you may recall, Speaker Chopp was instrumental in blocking the renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program in 2011 (SB 5539).  Once SB 5539 reached the House of Representatives, Speaker Chopp linked it to a housing and homelessness bill that needed more votes.  Since the housing and homelessness bill lacked sufficient votes to pass, the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program was never brought to the floor for a vote either.

In his opening day remarks for the 2012 legislative session, Speaker Chopp laid out several priorities for 2012.  Among them:

  • Immediate job creation
  • Support for industry development and innovation
  • Creating family wage jobs

It is interesting to note that the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program is a model of these priorities.  Since 2007, Washington Filmworks has created more than 4,800 direct film production jobs for cast and crew.  Our state’s film industry serves as a springboard for other creative industries that represent new areas of job growth and economic development for the future of Washington State.  In addition, Washington Filmworks projects often represent the best paying jobs for film industry professionals; we continue to be the ONLY film incentive program nationwide that requires a production to pay health and retirement benefits for industry workers.

Many of the cast and crew who work on incentive productions are proud to call Seattle home.  Speaker Chopp is an elected official representing the 43rd Legislative District, which includes the neighborhoods of Downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, Eastlake, Wallingford, Freemont, Ravenna and Madison Park.  If you live in the 43rd District and support the renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, it is vital that you write Speaker ChoppRemind him that our industry is primed to help achieve his priorities for 2012.

Get informed.  Get involved.  Get renewed.

Senate Bill No. 5539 – It’s Not Dead

Several people have inquired as to the status of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program.  It is imperative to note that the legislation that supports the renewal of the program, Senate Bill No. 5539, is not dead.  You will recall that an extension of the program passed the Senate with a sizable margin in 2011, but failed to make it to the floor of the House for a vote in the waning hours of last year’s legislative session.

At the end of a legislative session, bills that do not get voted on go back to their point of origin.  In the case of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, that would be the Senate.  SB 5539 is now in the Senate Rules Committee, as a result, action on renewal will take place first in the Senate.  We are told to look for movement within the next week or two.

Since we will expect a vote first in the Washington State Senate, we strongly encourage you to write your Senators in support of the program.

Get informed.  Get involved.  Get renewed.

We’ve Expanded Our Lobbying Team

Washington Filmworks is pleased to announce that lobbyist Cody Arledge has signed-on to help in our efforts to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program.  Cody has strong relationships with House Democrats in Olympia and will focus much of his energy meeting with these legislators.  He joins Board Chair Becky Bogard and lobbyist Jim Hedrick, who have been with the program since its inception.

Welcome on board, Cody!

Cody Arledge Bio.

Cody Arledge has lobbied the Washington State Legislature for many years where he ensures that candidates and politicians understand the needs and priorities of Washington’s working families. Nine- year-old Cody planted his first yard sign for Cecil Andrus, governor of Idaho; from that day on, he remained steadfastly dedicated to progressive politics and public policy. At age 19, Cody left Idaho to attend paramedic school in Tacoma and began a twenty-year career as a firefighter, paramedic and union leader. Cody served as Governmental Relations Director for the Washington State Council of Firefighters, worked for the Washington State House Democratic Caucus, attended Evergreen State College, currently serves as Legislative Director for Sheet Metal Workers Local 66 and has helped countless political and community campaigns. Cody’s love of politics and progressive causes is surpassed only by his pride for his handsome, teenage son, Wyatt. He is also excited to share news of his recent engagement to his partner, Rebecca.

Incentives in Oregon vs. Washington

Whether you love them or loathe them, 40 states have film incentive programs and those with no incentives lose productions, resident cast, and crew to locales that better support the film community.  While Washington is home to camera-friendly landscapes and talented filmmakers, it’s sandwiched between Oregon and Canada, who offer strong incentive programs and have comparable Pacific Northwest locales.  If Washington’s Motion Picture Competitiveness Program is not renewed, the financial realities of filmmaking will force productions to go elsewhere.

While some Washington legislators have reservations about supporting our state’s film industry, leaders to the south have a wildly different perspective.  Oregon’s elected officials have readily invested in programs and infrastructure that sustain film, and see the potential for tremendous job development in this sector.  In fact, Governor John Kitzhaber recently described film an example of innovation and acknowledged its place in the future of economic development in Oregon.  With support like that, it’s no wonder Oregon broke production records in 2011.

The big question at Washington Filmworks is how can we best persuade our elected officials to believe in film production like Oregon does?  In addition to our efforts to provide production and economic data, Washington legislators need to hear from the film community about our industry.  You play an essential role in the renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program.

Get informed.  Get involved.  Get renewed.

Kitzhaber pledges film and video industry support – Portland Business Journal

Saturday Film Incentive News Wrap-Up – Oregon Film And TV Dollars

Business: A Call To Action

2011 marked a total of 71 projects approved by Washington Filmworks since our inception in 2007. The Motion Picture Competitiveness Program has created over four thousand immediate jobs and generated more than $38 million dollars in spending with Washington businesses that provide production and support services for the film industry. With this in mind, we have created a Business Letter of Support that strongly urges our state legislators to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program during the 2012 legislative session.

We ask those businesses who sustain and gain from film production to write their legislators urging them to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program in this upcoming legislative session.  Please take a moment to read over the sample business letter of support and feel free to use it when writing your legislators or include facts from it when writing your own personal letter.

(Please bcc info@washingtonfilmworks.org when writing your legislators.) If you need help identifying your legislators, you can visit this site to find your legislative district, Senators, and Representatives.

If you agree and support our message, we are also asking that you send an email giving us permission to include your business name and logo in our campaign to inform legislators.

  • Provide us with your correct business name and preferred contact information.
  • Include your print-resolution business logo (300dpi or higher). Preferred formats are AI, PSD, EPS, PDF or PNG with a transparent background.
Email to info@washingtonfilmworks.org by January 19, 2012.

Legislative Preview

On Friday, Jan. 6, Washington Filmworks attended the 2012 Legislative Preview program, held at the Westin and hosted by Seattle’s CityClub.  Various community sectors were there to hear from leadership in the State House and Senate including, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown (Spokane), Senate Republican Leader Mike Hewitt (Walla Walla), House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan (Covington) and House Ways & Means Ranking Republican Gary Alexander (Olympia).  Washington Filmworks was represented by Executive Director Amy Lillard, Board Chair Becky Bogard and Accounting Manager Julie Daman.

Topics included the creation of new jobs, the Washington Supreme Court’s recent education funding decision, and balancing the state’s budget.  Legislators will face a challenging jumble of social issues and tough decisions about Washington’s resource shortfalls. The event was a preview of the difficult conversations that will be happening in Olympia starting today.

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