Group hopes to boost WA's film industry

By Izzy Anderson - Staff Reporter



If you are an aspiring filmmaker, you should keep close to Washington state.

Keep Film in WA is a campaign here in the Pacific Northwest. The campaign encourages Washingtonians involved in filming and multi-media to stay local and create works based here in the Evergreen state.

"Filmmaking is important because you can connect with other people through an artistic medium that incorporates images, sound design and music," said Highline multi-media professor Sean Puno.

People are distracted by the thought that the film industry is only in places like New York or Hollywood, but we have a great growing community here in Washington to work with, he said.

"[Filmmaking] is actually in all communities in Washington state. You could live in Tacoma and Walla Walla and still be a filmmaker, making film happens everywhere," said Amy Lillard, executive director of the Keep Film in WA campaign.

Keep Film in WA's most immediate goal is to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program for 2017 in Olympia.

This program started in 2007 and is designed to help fund local productions and encourages the living of local cast and crew.

It began in 2007 and has since created over 17,500 local jobs, supporters say.

"I think that everyone appreciates this program, and that if there's an opportunity to get it passed, we're very hopeful that we can get it done," said Lillard.

For approximately every $1 the program receives, $10 worth of benefits is generated that goes back into the local economy.

To promote the renewing of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, the Keep Film in WA campaign is asking everyone to sign a petition to encourage elected officials to renew the program for another year.

The program costs the state $3.5 million a year. That's a tiny piece of the states $93 billion two-year budget, but in a tight budget year, every nickel counts.

Supporters got two bills introduced to reauthorize the film program. House Bill 1527 died in committee and Senate Bill 5502 cleared the state Senate economic development committee but did not clear the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee.

The state Legislature now is in special session as it attempts to hammer out a budget deal. Lillard said she hopes one of the two bills will be resurrected during the special session.

To learn more about the Keep Film in WA campaign or to sign the petition, visit keepfilminwa.com.

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