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Washington Filmworks Presents Town Hall Seattle: Learn to Lobby

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October 28th, 6:00pm

Washington Filmworks hosts this important event with special guests Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles and government relations specialist Becky Bogard for an evening that promises to inform, enlighten, and ignite involvement with the upcoming election and legislative season.

Tuesday October 28th, 6:00pm at the Northwest Film Forum marks a Town Hall meeting addressing significant legislative matters. With the 2015 legislative season scheduled to open on January 12th, now is the time to get political.

Join us to learn how you can be involved and why grassroots engagement is important. Find out how you can best support your legislator and what stories you should tell about our industry. Washington Filmworks will also give the most up-to-date information about the work of the Advocacy Committee and talk about the organization’s plans for additional funding for the program. Come be a part of this riveting and relevant discussion on how you can influence your elected officials and get your voice heard.

Mark your calendars for Tuesday October 28th to receive incredible insight and information on how to get involved with the upcoming election and legislative season.

For those on the east side of the state eager to get their voice heard – there will be a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday November 6th. Guests are encouraged to stay after for the launch of Pulling Focus Spokane featuring producer Lacey Leavitt.  Tickets for Pulling Focus are now on sale! 

Decoding the Supreme Court’s Aereo Decision: The Future Looks Hazy for Cloud Computing

On Wednesday, June 25, the Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling stated that the Internet startup Aereo is illegal in its current form. While the Washington film community may or may not be familiar with Aereo, the ruling has noteworthy implications for the future of distribution. As a champion of groundbreaking digital entertainment platforms, Washington Filmworks is directly engaged with new forms of storytelling and distribution through our Innovation Lab. The Lab invests in the local creative economy and encourages the development of original storytelling that capitalizes on new forms of production and technology. As our local film community considers new forms of distribution, keep Aereo’s distribution model on the back burner.

It’s not everyday that we see the Supreme Court ruling on cases that affect how distribution is carried out.

In a nutshell, Sarah Gray from salon.com summarizes the ruling as follows: the ruling states that Aereo infringes on television broadcasters’ copyrights by using antennas to pick up broadcast network television, storing it in the cloud, and transfering it to subscribers via the Internet. Read more about what Gray has to say about the Supreme Court Justices’ ruling on Aereo’s legality and the somewhat hazy line that separates Aereo from other cloud-based and streaming/sharing services.

Photo Credit: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Photo Credit: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais


Decoding the Supreme Court’s Aereo Decision: The Future Looks Hazy for Cloud Computing

by Sarah Gray
June 25, 2014

In a decisive 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court stated that Internet startup Aereo is illegal in its current form. The service uses dime-sized antennas to pick up broadcast network television, store it in the cloud and then transfer it to subscribers via the Internet.

Broadcasters, who were not being paid licensing fees by Aereo, were naturally irked by the new company’s business model. Eventually, the dispute made its way to the Supreme Court. Arguments in American Broadcasting Company (ABC) v. Aereo were heard in April.

In layman’s terms, the ruling states that Aereo infringes television broadcasters’ copyrights. (Extensive background on the case can be found here.) The justices found that Aereo looked too similar to cable.

The decision looks pretty cut and dry for Aereo. However, what does this mean for other cloud-based technology? Full article continued here.

Originally published June 25, 2014. Reprinted by permission, salon.com, June 2014. Copyright© 2014, Salon Media Group, Inc.

Breaking News: House Passes Film Bill – 92 to 6

The House of Representatives passed E2SSB 5539, the bill to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, with a vote of 92 to 6.  Governor Gregoire has 20 days to sign the bill in to law.  We will let you know as soon as the bill signing is scheduled.

Tonight’s victory in the House is a tribute to the passion and dedication of our industry.  Thanks for all of your effort and here is to the future!

It’s Go Time, Washington! Contact Your Reps. TONIGHT

At the end of today’s proceedings a motion was made to put 2ESSB 5539, the bill to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, on the House second reading calendar.  This will make the bill eligible for a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.

It is imperative that all film industry professionals and supporters write their Representatives TONIGHT.

Ask them to support the the bill when it comes to the floor for a vote. Tomorrow is the last day of the regular session, so 2ESSB 5539 will need to be voted on tomorrow, March 8th.

There is no time to delay, please write your Representatives tonight!
Find contact information for your legislators here:
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You can also use the toll-free Legislative Hotline in Olympia (1-800-562-6000) which will reopen at 8 am.

Are We Doing Enough?

We’ve had several inquiries from the community asking about our efforts to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program.   There seems to be an undercurrent of both curiosity and concern, and we are often asked, “Are we doing enough?”  We wanted to address this question and update the community on what is happening behind the scenes.

The bill to renew the program is not yet in play and during this interim period we are working hard to influence the process.  Here’s an overview.

  • Washington Filmworks has a legislative team in Olympia.  Three lobbyists speak with legislators daily on behalf of the program.  Keep in mind that there are 49 Senators and 98 Representatives.
  • We have solidified over 50 film industry professionals from across the state to be Team Captains or part of our Film Leadership Network.  Once the legislation is in play, this group will be key to mobilizing the community when there are calls to action.
  • We are working with constituents on a regional outreach campaign.  This allows us to target districts where legislators are undecided and organize outreach campaigns as necessary.
  • We have solidified support from the unions that represent the film industry – SAG, AFTRA, IATSE and Teamsters.  The leadership from these unions also lobbies key legislators on our behalf.
  • We’ve reached out to film-related businesses across the state, asking them to sign onto our Business Letter of Support.
  • We launched Take 2, our legislative blog, in order to share information and to make our renewal efforts more transparent.  We have found that legislators are also using the blog to keep informed.
  • We have created informational slides to raise awareness about renewal.  These are playing in cinemas across the state.
  • We are working with constituents who are writing their legislators, arming them with important economic and jobs data from the program, and helping them respond to legislators’ questions about the program.
  • We are leveraging the recent success of Washington incentive feature films such as ‘Safety Not Guaranteed,’ ‘Eden,’ and ‘Fat Kid Rules The World.’  Successes like these help remind legislators that Washington State is a nationally recognized filmmaking destination.
  • We host and attend industry events whenever we are able, sharing our story and renewal efforts, and raising awareness.
  • We continue to work with an economist and PR strategist to help us tell the best story at our upcoming testimony in Olympia.

Once the bill comes into play, we will rally.  Washington Filmworks’ leadership will be called to Olympia to testify about the history and success of the program.  At the end of the day, elected officials don’t make decisions solely based on the opinions of experts and talking heads.  They want to hear from the constituents who elected them.  So while we might sound like a broken record, we can’t stress it enough – your letters are so very important.

In addition to the renewal campaign, we continue to administer the production incentive and review completion packages from our summer productions.  Washington Filmworks is still the first point of contact for most filmmakers coming to the state.  The office continues to facilitate questions about locations, permitting and production resources.

Rest assured that we are doing everything we can think of to get the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program renewed.  Our to-do list is long, but we are always open to community assistance and creative solutions.  If you have other inspired ideas we could consider for the renewal campaign, please send us an email to info@washingtonfilmworks.org.

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.