It has been announced that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has not re-appointed James Keblas as Director of the Seattle Office of Film + Music (OFM).
Washington Filmworks would like to acknowledge the important and lasting contributions that Keblas has made to the Seattle film and music communities throughout his 9 years of service in this position. During his tenure as the Director of OFM he expanded the capacity of the office to keep pace with a 110% increase in demand to film in Seattle since 2005.
Keblas made significant contributions to the visibility of Seattle and helped grow the local film economy by making motion picture production a top legislative priority for the City. His vision and tenacity are also responsible for the launch of groundbreaking initiates like Commercialize Seattle, a business development campaign that garnered national attention in the New York Times and Creativity online.
Deeply committed to making filming in Seattle easy and efficient, Keblas revolutionized the film permitting process for the City. Improvements include the expansion of the $25 per day filming permit to include all City-owned buildings and the Seattle Center. The Seattle Department of Transportation also gave the OFM authority to approve roving and sidewalk permits, and implemented a more efficient system for reserving metered street parking. Under Keblas’ direction, insurance requirements for smaller productions were lifted, making it easier for filmmakers to do their work.
Perhaps most importantly, Keblas championed collaboration and the rise of Seattle’s local filmmakers, musicians, and other creative industries through initiatives such as the OFM Newsletter and the Film + Music + Interactive Happy Hours. “Watching all the success of our local filmmakers has been the best part of my job. Nothing compares and I am proud to have been in this position,” said Keblas.
Washington Filmworks would like to thank James for his extraordinary service. Read his letter to the community here.