Mayor Ed Murray declared today Seattle Film Day. Check out the proclamation below!
It’s no secret that we live in a gorgeous part of the world here in Washington. The diverse and scenic terrain of our region helps attract films, commercials, and television productions to film here.
Indie hit Captain Fantastic is a recent example of a production that benefited from – and draws attention to – our local landscapes.
The film last year took home SIFF’s Golden Space Needle Award for Best Film (pictured below) and received a 10-minute standing ovation at Cannes. The accolades have continued to roll in, with the film’s star Viggo Mortensen up for Best Actor at this weekend’s Academy Awards.
As we head into Oscars weekend, we turn to Captain Fantastic location scout and manager, Dave Drummond, to learn more about the production and what it means for our local film industry.
OFM: How did you get your start in film, and how has your career evolved?
DD: After working in the corporate world for several years, I left to pursue a career in the film & video business. I started out working in a variety of roles, but over time determined that location scouting & management were a good fit for my skills. After initially working on short films and small industrial videos, I was fortunate to mentor under a longtime location manager, who gave me the opportunity to work on Grey’s Anatomy. From there I began working on larger and more complex projects, including several different films and television shows that have shot in Washington.
OFM: How did Captain Fantastic come to be filmed in Washington?
DD: The story was written with the forests of the Pacific Northwest in mind, but we had to prove to the filmmakers that Washington was the best fit for the project. I met with the director and producers very early in the process, showing them various wilderness areas in the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. They were thrilled with the possibilities, but it was the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program that solidified their willingness to shoot here. Without the film incentive, they would have taken the project to Oregon or Northern California.
OFM: Captain Fantastic filmed in more than 25 different locations in Washington. How does that compare to other films you’ve worked on?
DD: Captain Fantastic was one of the most challenging projects I’ve worked on and included locations in several different parts of the state, including the Olympic Peninsula, the North Cascades, and eastern Washington. The nature of the story required many of our locations to feel wild and remote. One of our primary sets required the building of a new road in order to reach it. We also worked with the US Forest Service and the Department of Natural Resources to film in wilderness areas that had not been seen before on film.
OFM: What was your favorite part or a noteworthy memory of working on this production?
DD: One of many highlights was the filming of a climactic scene at Deception Pass State Park, overlooking the Rosario Strait. It was a spectacular location, but one that often experiences low-flying aircraft from the nearby Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island. The Navy was kind enough to provide us with an air traffic control officer, who spent the day with us on set. He coordinated directly with the control tower to minimize flights directly over our filming location.
OFM: What’s your take on the economic impact that Captain Fantastic and other films have on Seattle and Washington state?
DD: As the location manager on films like Captain Fantastic, I see the economic impact these projects have firsthand. Just one project like this injects hundreds of thousands of dollars into local economies. Much of that money goes to businesses and support services that are not specifically part of the film industry. In the location department alone we typically spend money on things like motels, restaurants, facility rentals, contractors, wilderness guides, off-duty police officers and security services. On Captain Fantastic we also made donations to a number of non-profit organizations that supported our efforts, including Camp Korey, the Washington Climbers Coalition and The Mountaineers.
OFM: What are your hopes for the local film community? For our region as a place where films are made?
DD: Washington State is poised to become a much larger player in the nationwide film industry, but only if the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program is renewed and increased. The industry talent and services we have developed locally, as well as the diversity of locations the state offers, can compete with anyone in the U.S. or Canada. But without a strong film incentive, producers in today’s competitive market will look elsewhere to make their films.
Dave Drummond is a film location scout and manager based out of Seattle. See what he’s been up to at drummondmedia.com.
On Sunday, February 26 (before the Oscars), Dave will be giving a presentation at the SIFF Film Center, featuring clips from over 25 different movies that have filmed in Seattle and other parts of Washington State. Dave will share some of his experiences working as a location scout and manager, revealing some of the unique and memorable locations featured in the history of Seattle films. For more information or to purchase tickets visit siff.net/education/film4all/made-in-seattle.
(Source: Three Dollar Bill Cinema Website)
TWIST, formerly known as the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, runs from October 13 to October 23rd. After 21 years TWIST has demonstrated itself as the premier queer film festival in the Pacific Northwest. TWIST programs will focus on up and coming local film makers, show award winning documentaries, and explore how films can re-shape the way their audiences think and talk about identity.
Another important change to this year’s film festival is the addition of TWIST 360°. TWIST 360° is an immersive media festival that will feature virtual reality exhibits and experiments. One example is The Machine to be Another, which allows attendees to switch bodies using virtual reality. There will also be an intensive training course for LGBTQ artists who want to learn how to create immersive content. Participants in the VR boot camp will be given the opportunity to bounce ideas off a panel of immersive pioneers, innovators, and industry leaders such as Rose Troche (Six Feet Under, Go Fish, The L Word).
TWIST will be showing films at venues all throughout Seattle! For more information or to purchase tickets visit their website.
Today Mayor Ed Murray announced the 2016 recipient of the 11th annual Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film, Washington Filmworks. The award recognizes an individual or entity for exceptional work that has significantly contributed to the growth, advancement and reputation of Seattle as a filmmaking city.
“The incredible staff of Washington Filmworks dedicates their time every day to ensuring Seattle and our state are competitive locations for film productions,” Mayor Ed Murray said. “Thanks to their efforts, Seattle’s film community continues to create jobs and support our local economy.”
Washington Filmworks is the non-profit organization that manages the state film and production incentive programs. Its mission is to create economic development opportunities by building and enhancing the competitiveness, profile and sustainability of Washington’s film industry. The organization creates possibilities for local and national filmmakers, offering comprehensive production support as well as financial incentives.
“Seattle faces significant competition for film work from our neighbors to the north and south, yet Washington Filmworks works tirelessly to ensure our city and Washington State are competitive,” Kate Becker, Director of the Office of Film + Music + Special Events said.
“While Washington Filmworks is best known for offering financial assistance and production support, we are most proud of our partnership with the statewide creative community and our role in helping to build careers and make Seattle and Washington State a place for film now and in the future. We share this award with our local cast and crew, who’s passion and talent inspire the work we do every day,” said Amy Lillard, Executive Director of Washington Filmworks.
The Seattle film industry representative on the Nomination and Selection Committee chose to award Washington Filmworks this year rather than a filmmaker because of the incredible amount of energy the organization exhibited this year to support the industry.
Amy Lillard will accept the award on behalf of Washington Filmworks tonight at Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)’s Opening Night Gala at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall.
For a list of past award winners: http://www.seattle.gov/filmandmusic/film/mayors-film-award
Seattle International Film Festival is May 19 – June 12, 2016
Encapsulating all the wonder of the 25-day Seattle International Film Festival – the nation’s largest, most highly attended film festival – into a neat and tidy blog post is not the easiest task, especially for a former SIFF staffer. I will do my best.
This year, the Seattle International Film Festival celebrates its 42nd anniversary with 421 films representing 85 countries. Filmmakers and actors will grace the red carpet, popcorn will be a welcome substitute for dinner, and audiences of all sorts will fall in love with film all over again.
There’s so very much to see and do. Make sure you weave in some parties and industry forums to take full advantage of networking and learning opportunities. Support the Northwest Connections program, showcasing films with roots in the Pacific Northwest. I challenge you to break up with Netflix for the next month and get thee to the cinema!
New this year: SIFFX
SIFFX, a brand new festival-within-a-festival (June 2-5), is an all-out exploration of emerging technologies and immersive storytelling. After SIFFX, “Alice in Wonderland” will never be the same, and if you didn’t grow up in a war zone, you’ll have a better understanding of what it was like for those who did. SIFFX festivalgoers will get to try out both sophisticated virtual reality (VR) headsets and cardboard viewers, and compare solitary viewing to the shared viewing experiences of 360° screenings in the Pacific Science Center’s Laser Dome. My mind cannot WAIT to be blown.
Filmmakers and audiences alike will also learn from the “godmother of virtual reality,” Nonny de la Peña, and other experts who will cover the philosophical, technical, and artistic aspects of these innovations in storytelling.
Seattle is primed to further push the VR/AR/360° envelope – we are so excited to see what Seattle’s tech and creative communities will produce together in this space. Read more about immersive storytelling and how Seattle fits in in Washington Filmworks’ Q&A with SIFFX Director Sandy Cioffi.
- Two additional Seattle venues will host screenings this year: Ballard’s Majestic Bay (May 20 -26) and Columbia City’s Ark Lodge (June 3-9)
- SIFFcast, the festival’s new official podcast, has exclusive interviews with filmmakers, composers, actors, writers, and other talent from around the globe
- May 22: An Afternoon with Molly Shannon
- June 4: World premiere of Seattle director and 2015 Mayor’s Film Award recipient Megan Griffiths’ latest, “The Night Stalker,” with Griffiths and the film’s star, Lou Diamond Phillips, in person
- June 11: A Tribute to Viggo Mortensen, including the Northwest premiere of his newest film, “Captain Fantastic,” which was shot in Washington
- June 12, 1:30PM, SIFF Cinema Egyptian: A tribute to the festival’s co-founder Dan Ireland, who passed away this year
Find your physical copy of the SIFF Free Guide at your nearest Starbucks, or browse online by film program, genre, mood, country, or your favorite letter of the alphabet. Want to start with a narrowed-down list of films? Check out the Programmers’ Picks, a selection of films that the festival’s curators have found particularly captivating.
Don’t miss your chance to score free tickets – keep an eye on SIFF’s social media for contests and giveaways.
Read SIFF’s press release for more information about film programs, competitions, forums and panels, and special presentations.
“We are thrilled to host another major film project in Seattle,” Kate Becker, the Director of Film + Music + Special Events said. “The project will have a significant economic impact on the city and create high-paying jobs for our local cast and crew. The competition for film production is fierce, and we are thrilled that our reputation as a film-friendly city helped to secure this project which will be seen by audiences in theaters around the world.”
Large film productions bring high-wage, skilled labor jobs to Seattle, and generates positive economic impact. This film production is hiring more than 100 cast and crew during their six-day filming and 20-day production schedule in Seattle.
The production will film scenes on the SR99 Alaskan Way Viaduct using a technique called a rolling slowdown. Traffic is never completely stopped, but there will be brief periods where it will be slowed to follow the production as it moves along the Viaduct. Production will take place intermittently outside of peak driving hours, between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM on May 19, 2016 – May 26, 2016.
The production will film scenes concurrently in the Pioneer Square neighborhood.
The production will hire uniformed Seattle Police officers to assist with traffic management.
As part of the City’s continuing efforts to support film production work on the streets and sidewalks of Seattle, the Office of Film + Music is now offering “Filming In Progress” signboards to productions obtaining film permits.
As Seattle’s streets stay busy with construction and other projects, these “PAs best friends” help passers-by know what’s happening, and help messaging for nearby businesses and residents.
If you are a location manager or a producer, ask about how to check the signboards out during your film permit application process. After review of your film permit application and the impact from your production’s work on the street or sidewalk, your Film Permit Specialist may also require you to check out specific signs to assist with pedestrian holds or to support open businesses at or near the filming location.
If you are walking around Seattle and see a local crew working with one of these signs, stop by and say hello (though we can’t guarantee the production will be anything but a mayonnaise commercial).
When cities host a film production, it’s more than glimpsing a movie star or navigating around movie lights and closed sidewalks. Film production means meals at restaurants, hotel rooms filled, groceries from local stores, vehicles and supplies rented from local companies, and wardrobe/props/set decorations purchased from local stores.
Washington Filmworks, managers of the State’s Film Production Competitiveness Program and State Film Office duties, recently released an infographic showing the significant positive economic impact brought by film productions.
Magnuson Park’s Building 2, a large undeveloped building built at the former naval air station, could become a giant fortress for film production, a sports arena, or a large open space for something else entirely. It all depends on proposals Seattle Parks and Recreation receives, having earlier this month published a public Request for Proposals (RFP) for the renovation and operation of the 144,000-square-foot double hangar known as Building 2.
Home to large feature film productions in the 1990s including Assassins and Stephen King’s Rose Red, and home to Arena Sports in the 2000s, the building recently underwent several safety upgrades and is now ready for rehab. Since closing its doors to filmmaking, Washington State implemented Washington Filmworks and the Washington State Film Competitiveness Program which supports the film industry by attracting feature film and commercial film production.
“Our competitors all have soundstages,” said Kate Becker to a Seattle Times reporter in this article. “This is the largest publicly held open-span building north of L.A. This is an opportunity we need to pay attention to.”
The complete Seattle Parks & Recreation Request for Proposal is online here.
The city has recently proclaimed March 26 as Adam Sekuler day in honor of his service to Seattle’s film community! Adam Sekuler is a filmmaker and curator who specializes in regional and international thematic film series, director retrospectives, and film festivals. Sekuler was the program director at Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) where he organized touring programs of retrospectives and premiered feature films throughout the U.S. He recently left his position as director of NWFF to pursue cinema-centric projects like curating film for the Henry Art Gallery. His films have screened at festivals, museums, and galleries throughout the world such as “Dos Almas,” “The Third Floor,” and “In Transit.” Among the films that have benefited from his expertise are Lisandro Alonso’s “Liverpool,” Pedro Costa’s “Ne Change Rien,” Albert Serra’s “Birdsong,” and Oliver Laxe’s “You Are All Captains.” He currently hosts a new event called Pandemic that turns Northwest Film Forum’s cinema into a virtual examination room, as two cultural curators poke and prod viral videos from across the internet. Sekuler was the former programmer for The Bell Auditorium; the nation’s first and only dedicated nonfiction theater. He is also the co-founder of Search and Rescue, an ongoing effort to present and preserve discarded archives of 16mm films. We are proud to congratulate Adam on his honor!
Check out one of his highly-viewed short films here.