Matt Levinthal, Washington Filmworks Executive Director Amy Lillard, Doug Du Mas, and Brian Campbell.

Matt Levinthal, Washington Filmworks Executive Director Amy Lillard, Doug Du Mas, and Brian Campbell.

Washington Filmworks recently hosted three Annual Industry Updates in Seattle, Bellingham, and Spokane to look back on a year of great accomplishments and to discuss goals for 2015 and the upcoming Legislative Session.

Highlights of 2014

Filmworks started the presentation by looking back on our work this past year. Over the last 12 months, Washington Filmworks has provided funding assistance for a 13 Episode Series, seven commercials, three Innovation Lab Projects, and one feature film.

Additionally, we’ve worked hard to share the story about why film is important in Washington State by publishing 106 Blog Articles, 28 Newsletters, 23 Public Presentations, and launching one new website.

Syfy’s Z-Nation is the first series approved for funding assistance through the incentive program. With thirteen episodes of consistent and continuous work for local cast and crew – which includes over 12,000 worker days and a five month production schedule – the series represents a true win for the incentive program. Z-Nation had a record premiere on the Syfy Channel (the most watched show in the 10pm slot) and was quickly renewed for a second season.

Filmworks also provided funding assistance to a high profile feature film, Captain Fantastic, starring Viggo Mortensen. The production shot in and around the Seattle area, and employed 248 Washington workers during approximately six weeks of filming. The film is due to release next year.

Because of the great success of the summer shooting season combined with our small incentive cap, all our funds were committed by May. We had to turn five potentially lucrative projects away that would have resulted in $55 million in economic impact statewide during the summer months.

We also thanked our Advocacy Committee – led by James Keblas and Lance Rosen – for the terrific work they do on our behalf. This group of industry professionals and Board members worked tirelessly over the summer months talking to legislators, elected officials, and the Governor’s office to identify opportunities for additional funding for the production incentive program.

Washington Filmworks Executive Director Amy Lillard giving the Annual Industry Update at Seattle's Northwest Film Forum.

Washington Filmworks Executive Director Amy Lillard giving the Annual Industry Update at Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum.

Commercialize Seattle

Another successful project this past year has been Commercialize Seattle, our marketing campaign with the City of Seattle to appeal to advertising industry executives. It’s also a smart and strategic way to allocate incentive funds as it’s aimed to help local production companies gain work.

Our 2014 efforts with the program have been both local and national – locally, we registered over 73 Washington based production companies as part of Commercialize Seattle and profiled over 33 commercials produced locally on the Commercialize Seattle website. And nationally, Washington Filmworks pursued new business through an aggressive sales effort in major production cities such as New York and Los Angeles.

Check the Filmworks Blog every other Wednesday for our Latest Work, where Commercialize Seattle profiles a specific production company or agency and the spot they have produced.

Innovation Lab

The Filmworks Innovation Lab enjoyed another successful cycle this year. Designed to showcase and promote Washington filmmakers using emerging technologies, this year’s recipients exemplified the exciting new avenues of multi-platform storytelling.

The lab allocated $75,000 to three projects including This Brute Land Virginia, Wallflower, and War Room. Additionally, past approved lab projects are now in distribution – Boxwalk on the festival circuit, The Maury Island Incident on IndieFlix, and Science Trak on iTunes.

The Innovation Lab will return in March 2015.

Looking Ahead

To prepare for the upcoming Legislative Session starting January 12, Washington Filmworks has begun to produce collateral for our Legislative Awareness Campaign.

For the campaign, we have enlisted the help of Hum Creative for branding and new infographics; we have begun to work with local production companies to produce five thirty-second community videos telling personal stories of how film has created work; and we are soliciting support from our Regional Film Liaisons.

You can get involved now, too! To find your district and legislator, use the Washington State Legislator Finder.

Then, let us know what your legislative district is here so you can get represented, involved, and your voice heard!

To receive the most up to date information on the Legislative Awareness Campaign, sign up for our Newsletter and Blog. 

Lorraine Wilde at the Annual Industry Update in Bellingham.

Lorraine Wilde at the Annual Industry Update in Bellingham.

Vice Chair of the Board Donna James, Sudeshna Sen, and the Advocacy Committee’s Lance Rosen at the Annual Industry Update in Seattle.