A Letter from Washington Filmworks Board Chair Don Jensen

WF Board Chair Don Jensen

WF Board Chair Don Jensen

There is a lot to celebrate as we look forward to the upcoming summer shooting season.

I’m pleased to report that the Board of Washington Filmworks (WF) has approved funding assistance for Z Nation, a 13 episode series that will shoot in Spokane this summer and air on the Syfy network this fall. Securing an episodic series has always been a priority for WF as it represents good paying jobs and consistent work. The series will shoot mid-May through August and will provide over 12,000 worker days to Washington cast and crew.

The board has also approved funding assistance for Captain Fantastic, a feature film that will shoot in the greater Seattle area this summer. Starring Viggo Mortenson, the film will be directed by Matt Ross (28 Rooms) and produced by L.A. based Electric City Entertainment. With an estimated 37 days of production, Captain Fantastic will employ approximately 355 Washington resident cast and crew.

We also continue to celebrate the success of Commercialize Seattle, a business development campaign designed to bring more commercial business to the region. Since launching the program in August 2013, WF has provided incentive funds for five commercials that have had an estimated $5 million of economic impact statewide. Projects receiving support have worked in diverse locations such as Bellingham, Leavenworth, La Conner and North Bend, and the campaign continues to bring commercial business across the state. WF values the Commercialize Seattle campaign and has approximately $150,000 remaining to incentivize incoming commercial productions.

During the 2013 funding cycle, WF was inspired by the great work that came out of the Filmworks Innovation Lab, a program designed to support Washington based filmmakers and filmmakers using emerging technologies. WF believes that investing in developing our local filmmakers is one of the most important things that we can do to create a long-term, sustainable film industry. For that reason, the Board has committed $100,000 to this year’s funding cycle that will open up in June.

The incentive program continues to be the best tool that Washington State has to win motion picture business. Our program, along with the great and inspiring work of our local community, has truly put Washington State back on the national filmmaking map. WF continues to get calls on a daily basis from directors, producers, studio execs and production executives inquiring about the availability of incentive funds for their upcoming projects.

Due to the great demand for the program, we do not have enough funding assistance for all the projects that are interested in shooting in Washington State. Because of this we have no funds left to allocate to feature films or episodic series for the remainder of this year.

WF’s board and staff are working with our legislative supporters and elected officials to strategize about how to increase funding for our very successful program. When we have a workable plan and legislation to consider, your support will be essential to make the campaign a success. We will keep everyone informed. If you have any questions, please direct them to myself or Executive Director Amy Lillard.

Enjoy the summer shooting season.

Don Jensen
Board Chair
Washington Filmworks