The zombies are coming!
Tonight Season 3 of Z Nation, a Washington Filmworks incentive project filmed in Washington State, will premiere on Syfy Channel. The two-hour special will bring back the scrappy band of survivors of the zombie apocalypse as they race through the country desperately seeking a cure for the flesh-eating, zombie-creating virus.
What will Season 3 have in store for viewers? Along with detailed character storylines, there will be a host of “new and unimaginable zombies,” says Marc Dahlstrom, Production Supervisor for Z Nation. “Bedazzled zombies, seaweed zombies…if you could think of a kind of zombie, we’re doing it.”
For the past three years the cast and crew of Z Nation has been based out of Spokane, using the North by Northwest offices as their headquarters and filming in such locations as Eastern State Hospital, Riverfront Park, and on the Palouse, as well as many others. The production has helped expand the industry in that corner of the state, contributing dollars into the local economy and employing a workforce of hundreds of people.
This season, Z Nation gathered their undead and travelled to Snohomish County, specifically the towns of Index and Everett, to shoot some key scenes.
“Snohomish County has some amazing locations. Shooting here really adds things we haven’t seen in our show before,” said Karl Schaefer, writer and co-creator of the show. The Snohomish scenes will air in December.
“We wanted a little different look and wanted to get to a coastal area – the Sound, being by water, was important to us,” added Dahlstrom. “Everett, and Snohomish County in particular, offered us a location where we could achieve that goal. In one of the episodes we needed some wilderness and more trees and cliffs, and so getting out to Index offered us that.”
Staying within the county, Dahlstrom says, “made it nice and simple. I couldn’t say better things about Everett and Snohomish County, and all the folks we interacted with.”
“Everyone has been very welcoming and helpful, from the local government officials and municipal services, to local hotels and restaurants,” added Steve Graham, Z Nation producer.
Wendy (Becker) Poischbeg, the Economic and Cultural Development Manager for Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, was able to visit the set of Z Nation in Index and Everett along with staff from Washington Filmworks earlier this week.
Poischbeg manages the Snohomish County Arts Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission, which includes developing the county’s Strategic Tourism Plan. One way that Poischbeg does this is by implementing the Tourism Promotion Area (TPA) grant, which brings more than an additional million dollars in annual revenue to Snohomish County.
The Tourism Promotion Area (TPA) grant, established by the lodging industry in 2012, solicits creative and tourism-focused projects that increase overnight stays in Snohomish County. The program is open to the public, who may apply to receive funding to support projects that range from outdoor recreation, sporting events, conventions and tradeshows, festivals, niche conferences and concerts that take place in and boost overnight stays anywhere in Snohomish County. More details and an application can be found here.
In 2016, according Poischbeg, 20 Tourism Promotion Area projects totaled over $764,000 in awards, and got combined with matching funds of nearly $6 million.
Snohomish County has benefited from hosting multiple incentive films through the TPA grant in the last four years as well, says Poischbeg. “Our Tourism Promotion Area (TPA) grant program has awarded over $300,000 in funding, which has provided economic benefit from increased employment and non-labor related expenses and spending for our community,” she explains. Poischbeg estimates that film projects such as The Architect, 7 Minutes and Z Nation have infused over 1.7 million dollars into the local economy.
Poischbeg says such film productions like Z Nation choose Snohomish County as an appealing place to film due to the county’s “distinct locations, architectural styles and authentic features.” There’s also less traffic and transportation challenges, expedited permitting and plenty of commercial and warehouse space available that can accommodate large and small film production.
And, she adds, “…the incentives didn’t hurt either.”