Contact: Andrew Espe / 206.264.0667  

Washington Filmworks Announces Funding Assistance Recipients 

For 2014 Innovation Lab

 Program designed to support Washington filmmakers using new forms of production and emerging technologies

Seattle, WA – September 23, 2014 – Washington Filmworks is pleased to announce the recipients of funding assistance from the third cycle of the Filmworks Innovation Lab. The program, which is part of a long term economic development strategy, invests in the future of film by capitalizing on Washington’s creative community and artists while encouraging original storytelling that uses new forms of production and technology. Following a “Pitch Session” of the program in which finalists presented new business and revenue models that leverage Washington’s film infrastructure in the digital era, the jury made their official recommendations and the Board has approved their decisions. Washington Filmworks is pleased to announce that $75,000 has been allocated to three exceptional projects.

The following is a list of projects that have been approved for funding assistance and the teams associated with each production. Also included are a brief synopsis and jury statement for each project:


This Brute Land Virginia – Neil Ferron (Writer/Director) and Ali el-Gasseir (Producer)

Synopsis: This Brute Land Virginia is a genre-blending short film set in a 17th-century pilgrim colony. An erotic thriller, a period piece, and a sci-fi-horror film, this short film fuses the elegance and tension of these genres into an original and engaging story. The short will be the flagship project of a larger franchise of art projects and digital content that includes work connected to the original story (such as a smartphone game) as well as content that moves beyond the film (minimalist fashion accessories, a comic series, and other forms of visual art).

Jury Comments: “Director Neil Ferron and Producer Ali el-Gasseir are part of an emerging collaborative art movement that characterizes the creative essence of Seattle. All of the artists working on the short film This Brute Land Virginia bring a wealth of experience in their own discipline into a new constellation, each of them representing a key element of great cinema. Their version of history is mutated and allows the audience to explore a universal story through an irreverent, queer point of view, all done with a pilgrim minimalist aesthetic.”


Wallflower – Jagger Gravning (Writer/Director) and John W. Comerford (Producer)

Synopsis: Wallflower is a harrowing drama based on actual events. The film tracks the journey of young people pursuing catharsis and joy confronted by a force of evil who has been invited into their midst. The story unfolds through a survivor coming to terms with her life in the wake of tragedy. Wallflower is a feature-length film that will tie into a non-fiction book written by Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Richard Adler and a documentary web series on the roots of America’s ongoing rampage-shootings.

Jury Comments: “With a script based on the true story of the 2006 Capitol Hill Massacre, the written support of a survivor for the feature film Wallflower is just one reason to tell this compelling story. First time Filmmaker Jagger Gravning has assembled a strong team of producers including John W. Comerford and Robinson Devor, both of whom are industry veterans who provide a solid foundation for success. The compelling visual style of Cinematographer Joriah Goad will undoubtedly bring a lush, visual artistry to the production.”


War Room – Peter Adkison (Director/Executive Producer) and Kim Voynar (Producer/Art Director)

Synopsis: War Room is a short film set in Chaldea, a unique fantasy world that borrows heavily on real-world mythology and history. Legatus Reiswitz Gustavus, commander of an Imperial Legion, seeks out the help of a toy maker to create exquisite toy soldiers for use in war games designed to train officers and save lives in a bloody world conflict that looms on the horizon. The Chaldea series will tell an epic fantasy story in multiple platforms (including digital graphic novels) with its tableau of memorable characters, dramatic through-lines, and high fantasy.

Jury Statement: “A short film that intersects seamlessly with a digital graphic novel, War Room will treat audiences to a fantasy world filled with dragons, orcs, swordsmen and powerful female knights. Executive Producer and Director Peter Adkison brings a strong business plan and years of industry experience and success in gaming to this project. With universal themes that touch on loyalty, friendship, truth and consequences, fans can look forward to many years of storytelling from this dedicated and passionate team. This piece serves as the introduction to a grander vision to be produced on a digital platform that will appeal to the geek in all of us.”


Washington Filmworks worked with a dedicated jury to evaluate projects and select funding assistance recipients from a pool of applicants. The jury is comprised of industry experts, representing all aspects of motion picture production, multi-platform storytelling, and emerging entertainment models. Final decisions were based on the merits of each project and its investment in Washington State, and each finalist pushed the boundaries of motion picture production and proposed creative revenue models and multi-platform options. Washington Filmworks is especially grateful for the dedication and guidance of our jury.

“We are passionate about this program because it represents the future of filmmaking in Washington State,” said Amy Lillard, Executive Director of Washington Filmworks. “These three projects are exciting and captivating, full of stunning originality and integrity. They think outside of the box with fascinating multi-platform variety and lead the digital revolution in the entertainment industry. Utilizing and applying exciting business models and technological advancements, these three projects are economically stimulating and assert film as the cornerstone of Washington’s Creative Economy.”


About the Innovation Lab: The Filmworks Innovation Lab is designed to invest in our local creative community and to encourage the development of original storytelling that capitalizes on new forms of production and technology. By leveraging our existing film infrastructure and the diversity of our in-state technology resources, Washington is uniquely positioned to incubate a groundbreaking digital entertainment platform that fosters a new Creative Economy for Washington State. More information on the Innovation Lab here.

About Washington Filmworks: Washington Filmworks’ is the non-profit 501 (c)(6) organization that manages the state film office and production incentive programs. Our mission is to create economic development opportunities by building and enhancing the competitiveness, profile and sustainability of Washington’s film industry. We do this by creating possibilities for local and national filmmakers and offering comprehensive production support as well as financial incentives.