Office of Film + Music Director Kate Becker and Film Program Manager Chris Swenson met with State House and Senate lawmakers January 21 support of House Bill 2542 which would extend Washington State’s Film Competitiveness Program to 2023 and raise the annual fund cap to $10 million by 2020. The meetings were part of Film Day in Olympia attended by over 200 Washington filmmakers. “Mayor Murray supports the legislation to extend and grow Washington’s Motion Picture Competitiveness Program fund,” said Becker. “It is the local film industry’s best tool to stay competitive with other filmmaking regions, attract new film productions, and keep our filmmakers and talent working in Seattle and Washington State.” Becker was joined by Mike McCready (Pearl Jam, film composer), producers Lacey Leavitt (Eden, Lucky Them) and Jennifer Roth (Black Swan, World’s Greatest Dad), and film director Megan Griffiths (Eden, Lucky Them).
Office of Film + Music Director Kate Becker is in Olympia today to present Mayor Murray’s “Seattle Film Day” Proclamation, and to support the new legislation to increase funding for the state’s film competitiveness program. In 2015, legislation to increase the incentive fund was supported by Mayor Murray, but did not receive a vote before the end of the 2015 legislative session.
Seattle ranked number 7 on MovieMaker’s annual top 10 cities to “live and work” as a moviemaker.
Rainy, brainy Seattle is making a comeback this year after slipping off our list in 2015. With nearly 3,000 local crew hires in 2015 and 2,000 local talent hires, more features and TV series are moving through the coffee capital of the world: like Syfy’s Z Nation, a unit on Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, and the long-awaited reboot of Twin Peaks.
“I’m thrilled MovieMaker added Seattle to their top 10 cities to live and work as a moviemaker,” Kate Becker, Director of the Office of Film + Music said. “Mayor Murray supports the viability of the Seattle film industry and is working hard to make Seattle the premier destination for film production with the support of innovative policies that encourage the industry’s growth and keep talent and jobs in Seattle. That, combined with the region’s diverse location options, support for gender parity in our market for moviemakers, and deep talent pool are the reasons Seattle stands out.”
Check out the rest of their review of Seattle here.
Mayor Ed Murray issued a proclamation declaring January 14 “Seattle Film Institute Day.” The proclamation was issued to celebrate of the Seattle Film Institute becoming a the only accredited collage.
“I want to offer my congratulations to the Seattle Film Institute on becoming the only accredited film college in the Pacific Northwest,” Kate Becker, Director of the Office of Film + Music celebrated. “Having an institution of this caliber in Seattle is vital for Seattle’s film industry’s future. It should serve as a calling card for producers and directors that Seattle is open for business, and we have a pipeline of talent ready to work.”
As 2015 comes to a close, we look back on some of the prominent commercial work that hired local crew and production companies, oftentimes using Seattle’s landmarks and neighborhoods as a backdrop.
Mercedes visited Washington State to film footage for several national commercials highlighting their 2016 GLA model vehicle, hiring over 50 local crew and 50 extras over the course of a week. The commercial filmed in eastern Washington, and in Downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill. A large portion of the filming took place at Rudy’s Barbershop and on 10th Avenue between E Pine Street and E Pike Street on Capitol Hill. The commercials can be viewed online here and here.
Poweraid filmed a national spot that featured Seahawks player Jimmy Graham. The spot made use of locations in the University District, Georgetown, as well as several in Shoreline. The production hired over 35 crew over the course of several shoot days. The commercial can be viewed online here.
National Automotive Commercials:
Overall, it was a successful year for automotive commercials in Seattle, with Ford, Kawasaki, Mercedes, and Toyota all filming national spots and hiring large, locally-sourced production crews (follow links for video).
Locally-Produced Commercial Work and Corporate Videos
In 2015, Seattle area production companies created content for Microsoft (source: TriFilm), Visit Seattle (source: Society), and On Deck (source: Urban Legend), HTC (source: Vossler Media Group), and many more clients. In just a couple videos, you can watch products, technologies, and services as they are set against iconic backdrops like Gas Works Park, historic Ballard, and Pike Place Market, all created in 2015 by local crews working for Seattle area production companies. Additional examples can be found in the Latest Work section of the Commercialize Seattle website.
(Frame from Mercedes “Shattered,” filmed in Seattle in 2015)
Creativity was brewing last night at Rumba Notes Lounge in Columbia City during the first joint Music Commission and Arts Commission Mixer. Community members were invited to come out, meet with Commissioners to learn more about the work of the Commissions, and share their own work, current projects, and goals with Commissioners.
The event featured welcome remarks from Commission Chairs Jody McKinley (Music) and Vivian Phillips (Arts), food from Safari and Watercress, Kenyan and Vietnamese restaurants located adjacent to Rumba Notes, and concluded with a rousing performance from local funk band Ancient Robotz. During the event, attendees were given the chance to “Date a Commissioner” in a speed dating style format where they could engage directly with Commissioners for intense 10-minute segments.
There were 16 Music and Arts Commissioners in attendance representing a diverse array of music and arts organizations, industry, and working creative professionals. Representatives from Mayor Murray’s office were in attendance, and over 100 community members from all facets of the creative sectors came out to meet each other, share experiences and information, and gain creative inspiration.
It was a positive and inspiring event and both Commissions look forward to holding more of these in the future. Thanks to Rumba Notes Lounge for hosting! Thanks to the community for coming out!
Mayor Ed Murray has announced the 2015 recipient of the 10th Annual Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film, Megan Griffiths. 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.
“Megan’s passion for filming locally and attracting new business and talent has raised the profile of Seattle and the region’s film community,” said Murray. “Her award-winning career in directing and producing speaks for itself. I am pleased to present this award to her, and thank her for her championship of Seattle as a thriving place to make movies.”
Megan Griffiths has been a director, writer, and producer in the Seattle film community for over a decade. Her most recent film Lucky Them was filmed in Seattle and premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Her previous film, Eden, was set in the southwest but filmed entirely in Washington, and premiered at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival in Austin where it won the narrative Audience Award and the Emergent Female Director Award.
“I am honored to receive the Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film,” said Griffiths. “I feel very privileged to live in a city where the Mayor and the community celebrate the film industry. Seattle is home to many great craftsmen and women who also happen to be outstanding humans and phenomenal collaborators, and I am proud to be able to call this ‘crewtopia’ my home and base of operations.”
The five Seattle film industry representatives on the Nomination and Selection Committee considered many deserving people before reaching a unanimous decision on the 2015 recipient Megan Griffiths. Griffiths will receive Silvered Piccolo Venetian with Emerald Handles created by artist Dale Chihuly. Griffiths received the award at Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)’s Opening Night Gala on Tuesday, May 14, 2015 at the Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall.
Mayor Murray announced his support of Senate Bill 6027 (SB 6027), introduced last week in the Washington State Senate to increase the funding for the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program.
The bill doubles the size of the production incentive program over the next two years to $7 million and increases the fund incrementally each year until it reaches $10 million in 2019. The sunset date for the program will also be extended to 2022.
Washington’s current incentive program is the fifth smallest in the country. $55 million worth of film production was immediately turned away in 2014 when the annual funding cap was expended by May. This legislation aims to keep Washington’s film industry competitive and retain and increase film industry talent to fuel the statewide creative economy.
SB 6027’s prime sponsor is Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D, 36th), with co-sponsors Senator Andy Billig (D, 3rd), Senator Joe Fain (R, 47th), and Senator Don Benton (R, 17th).
See the Washington State Legislature page for more details.
The Office of Film + Music has partnered with Northwest Film Forum, Washington Filmworks, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and Seattle Public Library to present Scene on Screen: Film Production in the Northwest, two panels focusing on the business of filmmaking in Seattle, moderated by Warren Etheredge of The Warren Report.
On Location: The Economic Impact of Film Production
Warren Etheredge will moderate a panel discussion about the business of film adaptation and film production in Seattle, using the example of Amazon Studios’ recent filmed-in-Seattle adaptation of the Philip K. Dick novel The Man In The High Castle. The 7:00 p.m. panel follows a 5:00 p.m. rare screening of the 35mm print of Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott and adapted from the novel by Philip K. Dick.
- Kate Becker, Director of Seattle’s Office of Film + Music
- Greg Smith, President, IATSE Local 488
- Kathy Hsieh, Cultural Partnerships & Grants Manager, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
- Lisa Dixon, Chief Operating Officer, Pioneer Square Alliance
Monday, February 2 at the Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Avenue, Capitol Hill
5:00 p.m. – Blade Runner (2007, Final Cut)
7:00 p.m. – Panel Discussion about the Economic Impact of Film Production on our Local Economy
From Script to Screen: Transforming Fiction into Film
Warren Etheredge will facilitate a discussion about the creative process of adaptation and film production in Seattle, using the example of Amazon Studios’ recent filmed-in-Seattle adaptation of the Philip K. Dick novel The Man In The High Castle.
Thursday, February 12 at the Downtown Seattle Public Library, Central Auditorium, 1000 Fourth Ave., Downtown Seattle
7 p.m. – Discussion
- Warren Etheredge of The Warren Report
- Paul Constant, The Stranger
- Kathy Hsieh, Cultural Partnerships & Grants Manager, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture