Tacoma Film Festival: Call for Entries!

The call for entries is now open for the 10th annual Tacoma Film Festival. The festival brings in over 100 features and short films from all around the world during the second week of October, bringing an interactive film experience that is unmatched in the South Sound. This year from October 8-15, TFF will take over multiple Tacoma venues including its host: Western Washington’s Best Indie Movie Theatre, The Grand Cinema.tacoma ff

The Tacoma Film Festival accepts film submissions of any length or genre through FilmFreeway and Withoutabox. All Washington residents can submit their films for free!

Films submitted are eligible for the Grand Jury Awards with cash prizes. The awards given in 2015 will include: Best Short Narrative Film, Best Short Documentary Film, Best Regional Film, Best Feature Narrative Film, Best Feature Documentary Film, Audience Choice, Audience Choice – Short, Local Audience Choice Award, Local Audience Choice Award – Short, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, and Best Screenplay.

To enter, visit www.tacomafilmfestival.com.

DIGITAL ONE Receives Double Honors at Rosey Awards

Portland-based post-production studio DIGITAL ONE has been honored by the Portland Advertising Federation (PAF) with two Rosey Awards in the audio category for web videos produced for MasterCraft and Chrome Industries.

This MasterCraft film earned DIGITAL ONE a Rosey Award.

This MasterCraft film earned DIGITAL ONE a Rosey Award.

The two award-winning web films follow on the coat tails of an impressive year for DIGITAL ONE. After receiving an AICP Award from the Association of Independent Commercial Producers, a permanent home in the Museum of Modern Art’s archives, and a place on the CLIO Awards shortlist, MasterCraft’s “Mission 04: History Is History” can now add Rosey Award to its running list of accolades. The film was produced by Nemo Design, shot, edited, and directed by Bump Films, and sound design crafted by DIGITAL ONE audio engineer Chip Sloan.

DIGITAL ONE's film for Chrome Industries.

DIGITAL ONE’s film for Chrome Industries.

The second Rosey Award was bestowed upon “Massan Barrage Cargo”, a three-minute web film directed and produced by Kamp Grizzly for the San Francisco-based bike outfitter Chrome Industries. For this endeavor, Sloan hit the streets on his fixed gear bicycle to record all-original and authentic foley to accompany the fearless protagonist, San Francisco fixed gear icon Massan Fluker. Glimpses of quintessential Portland are seen throughout the piece, culminating in an epic and striking love letter to the City of Roses.

Said Sloan, “The best part of these projects was that they were beautifully shot, and had solid creative briefs that allowed freedom [as a sound designer] to be unabashedly creative and just go to town.” He continued, “It’s an honor for such well produced and creatively jarring pieces to be recognized by the advertising community, and I’m truly thrilled to have been a part of the process.”

For more info, visit www.DigOne.com.

Recap: Filmworks’ Annual Industry Update

Washington Filmworks executive director Amy Lillard. (Photo courtesy www.washingtonfilmworks.org)

Washington Filmworks executive director Amy Lillard. (Photo courtesy www.washingtonfilmworks.org)

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.

Amy Lillard, executive director, talked about the highlights of the year, and about the Legislative Awareness Campaign in 2015. The campaign aims to increase the Washington incentive cap, among other goals.  According to Filmworks, “We had to turn five potentially lucrative projects away that would have resulted in $55 million in economic impact statewide during the summer months. ”

For more info on the Industry Updates, click here.

Wild Premieres in Portland

The much-anticipated Oregon-shot feature film, Wild, recently had its Portland premiere, and Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, director Jean-Marc Vallee, author Cheryl Strayed, and much of the cast and crew were in attendance. Check out some of the premiere footage here!

And don’t miss the upcoming issue of Media Inc., which features an exclusive interview with Vallee about his experiences filming in Oregon!

 

Destiny City Film Festival/Screenplay Competition

The 2nd annual Destiny City Film Festival (DCFF)’s call for film and dcff_banner_2015short screenplay is now open. DCFF will take place August 29-30, 2015 at the historic Blue Mouse Theatre in Tacoma, Washington. In its inaugural year, DCFF presented 29 independent films from around the Pacific Northwest, and presented the winner of Tacoma’s first short screenplay competition. They accept film submissions of all lengths and genres, and offer discounted rates for Washington State residents and film school students.

To enter, click here!

‘Walking the Camino’ Treks Back Home to the Pacific NW

Following an eventful year in which Portland-based director Lydia B. Smith toured her multi-award-winning documentary to over 60 packed theaters in the United States and Canada, she returns to the Northwest to celebrate her success and launch on Blu-ray and DVD the film Toronto Star calls “inspiring to the soul.” The one-night encore screening and DVD launch party of Walking the Camino takes place Tuesday, November 11, at SIFF Cinema Uptown.camino

“I am thrilled to be returning for one night only to Seattle, which showed us so much love when we opened here,” says Smith. “With my deep family roots in this wonderful city—my grandparents grew up in Seattle—this homecoming is even more special.”

Earlier in 2014, Walking the Camino was extended for 11 weeks at SIFF Cinema Uptown, showing before full houses night after night. Seattle remains in the top five cities among over 130 where the film has screened.

“The community here is remarkable,” Smith continues, “extending seamlessly from Camino veterans to the curious and those who are hearing for the first time about this amazing journey.”

Walking the Camino is an immersive experience that captures the trials and joys associated with six modern pilgrims on the medieval Way of St. James, or Camino de Santiago, in northern Spain. The cast of characters represents a variety of ages (from 3 to 73), nationalities, religious backgrounds, and motivations for undertaking the pilgrimage trod by millions since the 9th Century.

For tickets, click here.  For more information on the film, click here.

Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival Kicks Off Friday!

nw filmmakers

The Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival (formerly the Northwest Film & Video Festival) kicks off this Friday, November 7, and runs through the 15th.

NWFest41 will feature 45+ short and feature films from filmmakers across the Northwest, selected by guest festival judge Christopher Rauschenberg, much lauded photographer and co-founder of Portland’s trailblazing Blue Sky Gallery.  Festival film highlights include Vera Brenner-Sung’s “meditation on displacement and adaptation in the contemporary American West,” Bella Vista; John Gussman and Jessica Plumb’s ecologically-minded documentary Return of the River, concerning water and tribal rights on the Elwha River; Beth Harrington’s The Winding Stream, an examination of the enduring impact of the original Carter Family on the musical landscape; and Sue Arbuthnot and Richard Wilhelm’s family farming doc, Dryland.

In addition to features, the festival offers three programs of short films. Shorts I — a collection of films from makers based in Portland & Eugene, OR, Seattle & Edmonds, WA, Belgrade & Livingston, MT, and Vancouver, BC—will kick off the festival on Opening Night at 7 p.m. with filmmakers in attendance. Shorts II and Shorts III are collections of films by makers throughout the NW region, ranging from the experimental to animation to narrative and non-fiction. All three shorts programs will screen twice during the festival.

Beyond the numerous screenings on offer, NWFest41 also provides opportunities for aspiring and working filmmakers to interact directly with peers and industry professionals through events such as the Northwest Filmmakers’ Un-Conference, previously BarCamp, an opportunity for the regional filmmaking community to gather together and explore the issues and challenges facing today’s independent filmmaker.

Additionally, NWFest41 will cater to makers via two participatory workshops.  On Sunday, November 9, Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning director Irene Taylor Brodsky (Hear and Now) will lead an intensive on “Developing the Doc-Maker’s Ear for Story,” which will be followed immediately by a screening of her film One Last Hug (…and a Few Smooches): Three Days at Grief Camp. Saturday, November 15, musician/composer Mark Orton (Nebraska, Boxtrolls) will enlighten in a workshop entitled “Inside the World of Film Composing.”

For more information, including film descriptions, ticketing links, and more, click here.

Amazon Pilot Shoots in Seattle

IMG_2022

An original pilot from Amazon Studios is currently being shot in Seattle and surrounding areas.

The Man in the High Castle, based on the 1962 book by Philip K. Dick, is scheduled to shoot through mid-October, and has already been spotted at Union Station in Pioneer Square, the Old Rainier Brewery in Georgetown, and at the top of Queen Anne Hill, among several other locations. Media Inc. spotted the production at the Old Rainier Brewery and snapped the pictures seen here.IMG_2016

In addition to Seattle, the pilot also filmed in Roslyn, Washington, among other locations.

Here is the pilot’s premise, according to Deadline.com: The project is set in 1962 and explores an alternative reality in which Nazi Germany and Japan won World War II and occupy the United States, with the East Coast controlled by the Nazis and the West Coast owned by Japan, and a chunk of the Midwest still up for grabs.

The Man in the High Castle is being produced by Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions. Scott has been trying to adapt Dick’s Hugo Award-winning novel for years, and had even struck a deal for a four-part mini-series in 2010 with BBC, and again in 2013 with Syfy, but nothing ever came to fruition. IMG_2023

From writer/executive producer Frank Spotnitz (best known for his work on The X-Files) and director David Semel, the pilot stars Alexa Davalos (Mob City), Luke Kleintank (Pretty Little Liars), Cary Tagawa (Beyond the Game) and Rupert Evans (Hellboy).

The Man in the High Castle is part of Amazon Studios’ third annual pilot launch, in which Amazon will determine which pilots will be picked up based on viewer feedback. Sources speculate that although the pilot is being filmed in Washington State, it is unlikely that the series, if picked up, would film here due to lack of incentive funds.

photo3

Black Road: Crafted to Make a Profit

The new culture of film entrepreneurship, regional film investment & artistic sustainability

By Anne Lundgren Guest Columnist

photo4

The science-fiction thriller Black Road was filmed this summer over 21 days on a shoe-string budget in the hills of Ashland, Oregon.

The film is the third that we’ve made in Southern Oregon, after the baseball comedy Calvin Marshall (2010) and the road drama Redwood Highway (2014). It’s set in the year 2049 and stars Sam Daly as a cyborg drifter hired to protect a mysterious woman from her evil ex.

Black Road was crafted from the early stages of script development to make a profit. Unlike our first two films, it is a genre movie and was made as cheaply as possible with the intention of being profitable.IMG_4070

Many will cry: Heresy. Sell-out. True art cannot be limited by profitability.

Filmmaking by nature is limited, no matter the budget. It is a collaborative, chaotic art form produced in a finite number of labor-intensive, mind-numbing, 12-hour-plus days. The creative team makes hundreds of decisions and calculated compromises each day.

It is the talent of this team and the force of the vision that create great art, not the budget. Therefore, a film can be made for almost any amount.

When we set out to make Black Road, we knew we would have to be creative in our financing strategy. Even after having two features released theatrically and widely available on DVD, VOD, and Digital (Netflix, Amazon, iTunes), independent film financing still proves difficult.photo3

Our first film, Calvin Marshall, was released between 2008-2010 when independent distributors were going out of business and consumers were transitioning from buying DVDs to digital formats. At one point, our distribution consultant said, “I can’t recommend a distributor, because I don’t know who will be in business next month.” The film was released and is still available on DVD and digital, but its pre-2008 budget did not match the reality of post-crash revenues.

Redwood Highway was made for a conservative budget, was released theatrically in 2014, and is now available on digital and DVD outlets. It is by most counts very successful, but it will be a few years before we know if it is profitable.

Independent producers are faced with a new world of changing distribution models, shrinking budgets and skeptical investors. And who can blame the investors? To them, the film industry is a black box, confusing and risky, with non-traditional business models often unexplainable even by industry experts.

What’s an independent filmmaker to do? Building a long-term career and earning a living wage can seem all but impossible, and filmmakers often despair and give up. We were faced with this proposition in 2013 when it seemed that no one was willing to take a risk on an independent film, especially without the guarantee of blockbuster revenues.IMG_1999sm

Instead we began to live by a new mantra—if we want to keep making movies, we must show profits. Really, this is just good business sense. We based the budget on what we knew the film could make within the first couple of years, including a good profit margin, and the script was written with budget in mind, having limited locations and speaking roles.

Black Road is a genre film, but ultimately the characters and story still convey heartfelt humanity and meaning, as in writer/director Gary Lundgren’s other films. As artists, we can’t help but be true to the art form. That will always take precedence. But now we also have the opportunity to focus on business elements and embrace a new culture of film entrepreneurship.

In the end, the financing for Black Road reflects a tapestry of generosity by the friends and communities of all of the cast and crew. The budget is made up of sponsor donations, in-kind services, Kickstarter funding, and investor equity. Most of the food for the shoot was donated by local restaurants. Brammo let us use their Empulse electric motorcycle for the filming, the Ashland Springs Hotel sponsored hotel rooms for our out-of-town actors, and all of our equipment was donated.

In addition, Black Road is a cast-and-crew-owned movie. We put together a tiny team, many of whom we’ve worked with for over 10 years. They sacrificed higher paying summer jobs to work for minimum wage and own a piece of the film.sam

We raised half of the funds through Kickstarter from friends and family of the cast and crew and an incredibly supportive community. The other half of the funding came from a group of regional investors who helped us build a business model that made sense to traditional, savvy, risk-adverse investors. They guided us, trusted us, took steps to learn about a new industry, and invested in our team and the hope of building a new regional film economy.

Everyone on the crew wore multiple hats and worked their hearts out to make the best film possible. It was hard, but worth it. When we wrapped, a good friend (and one of our investors) asked, “So next time you’ll have a bigger crew, wear less hats and pay everyone real wages, right? You can’t ask everyone to do this again, can you?”IMG_6683

I hope for higher budgets, but for now, the answer is that we have to earn them. The budget can only increase once our films, our audience, the market, and new distribution streams prove that profitability can be achieved at a higher budget. Otherwise we risk all that we’ve worked for—a prosperous, sustainable, artistically creative life—and the only thing we’ve really ever wanted all along: The opportunity to make the next film.

Anne Lundgren is an independent film producer living in Ashland, Oregon. In addition to working on national commercials and music videos, she produces for her husband, writer/director, Gary Lundgren. Together they have made the features Calvin Marshall, Redwood Highway, and Black Road.

Anniversary Special

Three Northwest companies—a casting director in Portland, a production services company in Seattle, and a soundstage/gear rental company in Portland—celebrated major anniversaries in 2014. Cheers to their success!

 

CELEBRATING 15 YEARS

CastIronStudios- Casting Director Eryn Goodman, Casting Director Lana Veenker, Casting Associate Ranielle Gray.Lana Veenker,
Cast Iron Studios

What does this anniversary mean to you, your staff, and your clients?
We held a big blow-out celebration for our fifth anniversary, but our tenth was in the middle of the recession, so we were pretty hunkered down and didn’t do much. For our fifteenth, what I’m really celebrating is that Eryn Goodman (Casting Director) and Ranielle Gray (Casting Associate) have stuck with me through thick and thin all of these years. Eryn just tallied her nine-year anniversary with Cast Iron Studios in September, and Ranielle’s eighth is coming up in February.

How did you celebrate, and with whom?
Instead of shelling out a bunch of dough for a big party, I’m treating them to a spa day, upgrading their computers, and implementing an employer-matching retirement plan. We all have a lot on our plates this fall, so we decided to hold off on the next blow-out until the 20th. For now, I just want to show my appreciation for all their hard work.

How has your business changed over the years?Cast Iron Studios - grimm
Early on, I was chief cook and bottle washer; doing their jobs plus mine, and working every evening and weekend. Now that we have such a solid and deeply experienced team, I can focus more on marketing and business development, knowing that our clients are in excellent hands. We all have more regular hours as well, especially since advances in technology keep us from having to stay in the office late at night editing, or racing to the airport to catch the last FedEx.

What is one memorable moment from your career?
There have been many highlights, but walking the red carpet at Cannes for Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park was a big one. I lived in France for many years and still visit often, so Cannes was like the Oscars for me. Being assigned to the same limo as Tilda Swinton was just icing on the cake!Cast Iron at TIFF with jean marc vallee

What’s next for your company?
We are working on putting together a development division, with the hopes of eventually establishing a film fund that would be at least half from Northwest sources, in order to retain leverage to keep the projects local. It’s a slow process, as we’re investigating an approach that I don’t think has been done in Oregon before. In the meantime, we’re looking for other ways to put our local, national and international connections to good use, possibly by helping to secure distribution for high-quality local content that has already been produced, but has not found a home. We’re taking our time in order to identify the right niche for our skills and resources within a rapidly changing industry.

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS

Clatter IMG_6625Vince Werner,
Clatter&Din

What does this anniversary mean to you, your staff, and your clients?
To me, it means: ‘Twenty years? We must be doing SOMETHING right!’ This isn’t a business that generates huge profits or even predictable revenue, so it’s not that we’re surfing along on a cash cushion. We’ve always operated on a rather squishy ‘fun first – people first’ mantra. We try to create a fun and creative environment for our team here, and for our clients, and it has resulted in low turnover, relative stability and loyal customers. So, I guess 20 years means a validation of that principal. Maybe not quite as much validation as a retirement home in the San Juans, but at the end of the day, I’ll take it. I’m proud of what we are and where we’ve been.

How did you celebrate, and with whom?Clatter2027
We threw a classic animal-house style kegger, which has always been our style. No maudlin speeches, no security people checking a guest list—just music, drink, food and an excuse for the creative community to come hang out and have a great time. I think there were about 500 or so people here, so of course I didn’t get to spend much time with any of them, unfortunately. Particularly gratifying was seeing several agency principals, colleagues, our past employers—people who have been such a big part of that 20-year history. Maybe 10 percent of the people there have ever written a check to Clatter&Din, and yet everyone there has been an important part of the story, and I’m full of gratitude for all of them. I’ll always remember that night, but that’s partly because I couldn’t get near the bar!Clatter2032-CC

How has your business changed over the years?
What HASN’T changed? When we started, we leap-frogged the tech prowess of our predecessors with our whopping total of 9 gigabytes of online media storage. Microsoft was our first client, and we won that with our ability to deliver audio as sound files on Magneto/Optical disks. We were very bleeding edge, although we didn’t even have email, and our first website was years away. Also, the local talent pool was robust, and in the days before Vimeo and FTP, creative teams actually came to sessions! Therefore, the place was hopping with people-energy every day! It seemed like a constant good-time laugh riot. Our connected world has reduced that personal interaction to a certain degree, and I do occasionally get wistful about that. However, the biggest change has been the integration of media creation disciplines. I think we did a pretty good job of seeing that coming, adding ‘light weight’ video and web services, anchored to our ‘heavy’ audio infrastructure. It took a while, but I think we are finally starting to look pretty smart about that!Clatter NWUkes_w_Barnes

What is one memorable moment from your career?
There are many, but what pops to mind is winning the Radio Mercury award with a spec spot written by Ken Bennett for a long gone Fremont-based brew-your-own-beer place. We beat out Budweiser’s talking frog campaign in the humor category. I got to put on a tux and spend some of the prize money in NYC with Ken and my lovely wife, Mary. That also reminds me of another New York experience: being in NYC for a trade show during the ‘95 Yankees – Mariners series, and watching Edgar’s RBI double bring Griffey around from first for the win—all while sitting in Mickey Mantle’s Bar across the street from Central Park. We were even on national TV for about 3 seconds. That was pretty sweet!

What’s next for your company?Clatter2030
Navigating change while maintaining culture is always the biggest challenge. The landscape for media creation and consumption is obviously being re-made, and the disruption is accelerating. We’ll try to be both smart and proactive in keeping ahead of that curve. I think we’ll see continued evolution in what we do, how we do it, and even who we do it for. I DO believe there will most certainly be a 30th Anniversary Party. And you’re invited!

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS

Chris Crever,
Cine Rent West

What does this anniversary mean to you, your staff, and your clients?
This 20th anniversary milestone is huge for all of us. The production industry has been completely transformed in the last 20 years. In 1994 very few of us could have predicted the role digital technology would play in producing and distributing video. YouTube was still 11 years in the future.
Those of us who’ve been around since the ‘90s can remember weathering several downturns in the industry. But the fact that we’ve not just survived but actually thrived throughout this change is a testament to our staff and clients.
In our industry 20 years is worth celebrating.

How did you celebrate, and with whom?
We took a moment to acknowledge this landmark with our staff, then told everybody to get back to work. We had a big deadline.

How has your business changed over the years?cinerentwestphoto1
When Cine Rent West opened its doors for business in 1994 as a production facility, film was king. Gregg Snazelle, who was an icon in the San Francisco film community, purchased the building from animator Will Vinton and moved his production business to Portland. He outfitted it as a full soundstage, brought in cameras, and set up editing rooms. One of his first major jobs was editing Mr. Holland’s Opus, which received several Oscar nominations.
After Gregg’s untimely death in 1999, the facility was run by his son Craig for a year. Then in 2000 he worked out a deal with me (Chris Crever), who was working as a 1st AC and looking to invest in a facility. In January of 2001 I assumed ownership.
In the early days we were fortunate to have a steady client base who did big film shoots. We worked with companies like Tyee Films doing long format productions for clients like Bowflex. But in the past ten years, camera technology has improved to require less intensive lighting. And there’s been an immense pressure to cut budgets. We’ve continued to keep busy by being more nimble. Quickly turning around the facility for shorter shoots and smaller crews.
At the same time we’ve filled the office portion of the building with industry-specific tenants. We currently provide space for designers, entertainment attorneys, production bookkeeping, and small production companies.

What is one memorable moment for you and your company?
It’s tough to narrow it down to just one. Our 185 most memorable moments came when we did the Old Spice YouTube campaign with Weiden+Kennedy. Over three days we shot 185 short videos with actor Isaiah Mustafa. He wore his signature bath towel and stood in a rustic log cabin set, while sending out holiday greetings to the world.
That was one of three similar campaigns. The last one we shot here was the bathroom showdown with Fabio.

What’s next for your company?
Twenty years ago it was impossible to predict where the production industry would be today. In just the past 5 years the rate of change has accelerated noticeably. So we’d be crazy to try to predict what production will be like in the next 20 years. In 2034 will they even call what we’re doing “video”?
We’re going to keep doing the things that have made us successful to this point: paying attention to and embracing change, working hard to meet our clients’ unique needs, and supporting the next generation in the production industry.

The Source for Northwest Media News and Information