As Washington Filmworks turns its attention to renewing the Production Incentive, we wanted to share with the community a letter that was sent to key legislators who are making considerations for a jobs bill in the upcoming Legislative Special Session. Washington Filmworks strongly encourages members of the film community to identify their legislators and urge them to include the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program as part of the jobs bill.
We are writing to urge you to include the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program as part of a jobs package you are currently considering. The Motion Picture Competitiveness Program continues to be the best tool that Washington State has to win motion picture business and to keep film industry professionals employed.
- Since launching the program in February 2007, a total of 71 projects have completed principal photography with the help of funding assistance from Washington Filmworks including 29 feature films, 5 movies of the week for television and 37 commercials. These 71 projects have injected $69M into our statewide economy, with $31M being spent on wages and benefits for Washington workers and $37.9M being spent with Washington based businesses that rely on film work to keep their doors open and to employ their full time staff.
- The program continues to be the only production incentive nationwide that requires health and retirement benefits to cast & crew. As you consider deeper cuts to social services, the renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program would help ensure that Washington film workers don’t need to rely on the state’s dwindling social services.
- Each year Washington Filmworks has experienced growth, bringing more money to the state and employing more Washington workers. Film professionals differ from a typical 9am – 5pm work force and often work up to 16-hour days on location rain or shine. They are highly trained workers experienced in their craft that work on a variety of motion picture projects throughout the year. The projects that the incentive brings to Washington State are consistently the best paying work, ensuring that film workers can support themselves and their families.
- The Motion Picture Competitiveness Program underwent a rigorous review by JLARC, which recommended that the program get renewed because it “is achieving the objective of maintaining Washington’s position as a competitive location for filming.” JLARC’s report also suggested that the film industry has a multiplier effect of 1.99, which means in 5 short years this program has had over $137M of economic impact.
A bill to renew the program was introduced during the 2011 legislative session and passed out of the Senate with a vote of 30 – 16. However the bill was not considered by the full House. This program has proven to be a viable and important economic development opportunity for the state. Without the incentive the investment in the state will vanish, as will all of the employment opportunities it provides. Once again we urge you to include the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program as part of the jobs package you are currently considering.
Thank you for your time and consideration.