Klamath Film Fest Now Accepting Submissions

The 3rd annual Klamath Independent Film Festival is now accepting KIFF3bfilm submissions. The festival is open to those in Klamath, Lake, Jackson, Siskiyou and Modoc Counties.

The festival will be held on August 29, 2015, at the Ross Ragland Theater in Klamath Falls, Oregon. The theater is an 800-seat, genuine Art Deco movie theater renovated beautifully to serve as Klamath Falls’ cultural arts center.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Films must be submitted online KIFFtitlethrough this link or postmarked by August 1, 2015 as a standard DVD playable on any device or, preferably, containing a video file in a standard format up to 1920×1080. The filmmakers must be Oregon or California residents of Klamath, Lake, Jackson, Siskiyou or Modoc Counties. Limit 2 submissions per filmmaker.
  • Films must have been completed January 1, 2014 or later.
  • Films should not exceed 25 minutes in length. An exception may be made if the film is especially good, but weight will be given to providing a variety of shorter films for a well-rounded program.
  • Filmmakers shall have all rights to, or have received permission to use, all video/images, music and any other media contained in submitted films. Klamath Film Makers Group may contact the filmmaker to confirm rights or assume in good faith all rights have been acquired, and will not be held liable for such.

Click here for more information.

Pulling Focus: Seattle Returns

On Saturday, March 14, Washington Filmworks will welcome the return of Pulling Focus: Seattle, an exciting and informative series exploring the business of film. This edition features actor Tom Everett Scott with moderator Warren Etheredge of The Warren Report. Pulling Focus Tom Everett Scott

Scott, who has most recently appeared in the Spokane-shot series Z Nation, is an acclaimed and accomplished actor who has worked with talents ranging from Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep to Tom Hanks and Jack Lemmon. He will discuss the acting craft, his performance method, working within the film industry, and how he approaches the diverse and varied characters he’s played—including Charles Garnett on Z Nation.

When and where:
5:15pm doors open
5:30pm interview at the SIFF Film Center
305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98105
(Seattle Center Campus near corner of Warren Ave and Republican Street)

General Admission is $15, and Member Admission is $10. Click here for tickets.

Admission includes entrance to the 21+ hosted cocktail reception after the event.




POWFest: The Power of Women in Film

By Susan Haley Associate Editor

The 2015 POWFest will be held March 12 – 15 at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon. More than 600 films were submitted for this year’s festival and the lineup looks promising, with 22 directors scheduled to be in attendance. Having an opportunity to attend Q&As after a screening with a film’s director enhances the viewing experience and is one of the best aspects of attending festivals.POW3

The festival’s executive director, Tara Johnson-Medinger, has been leading the festival for the past eight years. Her hard work has paid off, as she’s been able to grow the festival. The goal of POWFest is to eliminate the gender disparity that exists for women directors and to create opportunities for all women working in the film industry. The festival has featured accomplished directors, as well as dynamic, young, up-and-coming directors, some from Portland’s burgeoning film industry. POWFest is dedicated to promoting and creating professional development and networking opportunities for women filmmakers of every discipline and skill-set/level.POW1

POWFest had been on a five-year hiatus when it returned with a reinvigorated format in May 2008, screening 60 films from 18 countries over 4 days. In 2009, the festival moved to a March date in honor of Women’s History Month. The showcase included films such as Academy Award winner Smile Pinki, and Academy Award-nominated films The Betrayal and The Final Inch; Coming Up Easy by local award-winning filmmaker Rebecca Rodriguez. The 2009 POWFest received overwhelming praise from the press, the local film community and festival attendees.POW2

POWFest 2010 turned the focus back on the filmmakers in the ranks on the heels of Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar win for The Hurt Locker. With the dismal numbers of female directors in large-budget films, the attention was turned to those filmmakers in attendance and the 44 international films on the schedule. In 2011, POWFest grew into a five-day format. The Guest of Honor was Australian director Gillian Armstrong, and the festival featured her documentary Love, Lust and Lies. In 2012, the festival’s fifth year, POWFest expanded to more than 60 films and co-produced the NW Film Financing Symposium with OMPA, rounding out the festival with an educational program.

With nearly 90 films, more than 3,000 people attended the 2013 four-day festival, which also hosted a number of mixers and parties. POWFest hosted two local premieres, Gabby’s Wish by writer/director Hollie Olson and documentary Rock N Roll Mamas by Jackie Weissman. The Guest of Honor and POWFest Pioneer Award winner was Penelope Spheeris, featuring her films DudesSuburbia and Decline of Western Civilization III. And throughout the 2014 four-day festival, POWFest screened 102 films with 40 directors, producers and talent accompanying their films from the U.S., U.K., China and Russia (among others), with Q&As after the films.POW Logo

POWFest also programs events throughout the year. In particular, the festival has made strong efforts to create opportunities for young women filmmakers. POWFest and MetroEast Community Media partnered to host POWGirls 2015, a filmmaking workshop for girls 15 to 18. Their mission is to help girls realize their power, creativity and voice in media production and encourage them to explore opportunities as future filmmakers.

Over the course of 30 hours, a group of 14 girls concepted, wrote, filmed and edited two films—Great Expectations and Words of Wisdom—that will screen on Sunday, March 15, at 3pm at The Hollywood Theatre. Participants hail from Oregon high schools, including Lincoln, Madison, Parkrose, Beaverton, La Salle, Silverton, Oregon Virtual Academy, home school, Early College High School and St. Mary’s. POWGirls is made possible with support from The Faerie Godmother Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, MetroEast Community Media, Whole Foods, Women Co/Create, The Twisted Carrot and Cibo.

POWFest runs for four days every March and the full list of programming can be found at www.powfest.com.

Production Survey: A Snapshot of 2014

Feature films, television series, commercial projects and more dominated the production landscape in 2014, but what exactly does that mean for the folks in the local industry? We surveyed a few Northwest production professionals to find out more.


Kelly vanderlindaKelly Vander Linda
KVL Editorial
Was 2014 a successful year for you?
Yes. Being both an editorial boutique and independent editor is working well.

What projects did you work on?
Experienced a good increase in work. Especially with commercial projects. Some credits: Washington’s Lottery via We Are Royale/Cole & Weber, Group Health via DNA, T-Mobile via Publicis, UW via Hornall Anderson, MultiCare via Hydrogen, JMI via Straightface/Laughlin Constable, Golden1 via DNA. Booked or on hold through January with more.

What could have made your year better?
The late spring into summer period was slow. That is not a complaint.

Tanya Tiffany
Tiffany Talent
Was 2014 a successful year for you?
2014 was a highly successful year for Tiffany Talent Agency. We have experienced double-digit percentage growth in bookings for the fourth year in a row, by both number of jobs booked and total dollars paid to our talent, while not significantly increasing the size of our talent roster over the past five years. We have also added a new full time agent to our team to handle the increased volume of business.

What could have made your year better?
We believe the best thing that could happen to the Washington film industry would be to see the cap raised on the film incentive. With our 2014 film incentive used up by May of this year, there are many productions that would have shot in Washington, but moved on due to lack of any available incentive. We feel confident that if the film incentive cap was raised, there would be a lot more business pouring in for all of us.

Cody Hurd - Glazer's CameraCody Hurd
Glazer’s Camera
Was 2014 a successful year for you?
This year has seen exciting key product introductions in the photo and video industry. We are seeing photographers diversify their portfolios and general consumers taking more video content than ever before.
We have seen the shift to 4K this year, brought to fruition by camera releases like Panasonic GH4, Sony A7s, and the Black Magic Cinema camera. With the momentum of Black Magic, customers are incorporating more Video RAW files into their workflow. Drone sales are also on the rise, which continues to push creative options for our industry.

What could have made your year better?
Being in South Lake Union has its benefits, although the high number of constructions projects—including our own—can make it congested in our neighborhood. We are on the path to building our new store, where our old store once stood, which will house all of our departments and ample underground parking.

Cast Iron StudiosEryn Goodman, Lana Veenker & Ranielle Gray
Cast Iron Studios
Was 2014 a successful year for you?
2014 was hands down the best year in our 15-year history, thanks to the incentive increase that allowed additional projects to shoot in Oregon, and the rebounding economy that brought back some healthy commercial gigs. Really couldn’t ask for anything more than a busy year, a cracking team, great projects, and wonderful clients. Let’s continue making magic!

Gary KoutGary Kout
Southern Oregon Film and Media
Was 2014 a successful year for you?
By any measure, 2014 was an incredible year for Southern Oregon Film and Media (SOFaM) and for production in Southern Oregon.

We kicked off the year with Ashland being named the #2 Top Town to Live and Work as a MovieMaker by MovieMaker Magazine. Southern Oregon appeared on big screens in not one, not even two, but three theatrical films that were released nationally: Redwood Highway, Night Moves and Wild. And next year, it will be seen in Brother in Laws and Black Road, two more films made entirely in Southern Oregon. It appeared on the small screen as well, most recently on an episode of Restaurant: Impossible and as the backdrop for a Budweiser commercial. Local production was up, including spots, corporate videos, long and short narratives, and more. Our organization received new funding, hired its first paid staff member, and membership in the organization is at an all-time high!

What could have made your year better?
There’s always something that could be better—more productions, more members, more awards—but it just gives us something to strive for in 2015!

Mondo Catering-215Sarah Baltazar
Mundo Catering
Was 2014 a successful year for you?
2014 was a very successful year for Mundo Catering. We appreciate receiving such a warm welcome from the local film industry.

What projects did you work on?
We provided onsite and drop off catering for several productions, including Grimm, Portlandia, West of 7th and Runestone. We also catered for several commercials, including companies like Nike, Hyundai, Harley Davidson, Adidas and Dr. Pepper. We have made some amazing contacts, and really appreciate all the repeat clients.

What could have made your year better?
There are always challenges facing small businesses, especially when the business is new. Retaining quality employees for such a demanding industry is always difficult, along with keeping all equipment in top condition. The work is challenging, but rewarding.

douthwaiteJohn Douthwaite
Production Partners
Was 2014 a successful year for you?
Production Partners has enjoyed a successful 2014, our 17th year in the same location above the Old Spaghetti Factory on Seattle’s waterfront. We continue producing high quality television and radio commercials for our long-time loyal customers and have also added a couple of wonderful new clients and technological advances during 2014.

What projects did you work on?
We are proud to produce television, radio commercials and print advertising for Westmark Hotels in Alaska and the Yukon. A personal favorite is our monthly comedic “Anchorman” series for Performance Kia, written by John Douthwaite and starring comedian Dean Oleson. New client Schick Shadel Hospital has also provided stimulating projects for our creative team.

What could have made your year better?
Producing the Bud Light Super Bowl TV commercials would have made the year better, but other than that, I can’t complain. Well I could, but it wouldn’t do any good. Thank you to all our partners in production!

Bend Film ToddLooby_colorTodd Looby
Was 2014 a successful year for you?
Yes, BendFilm 2014 was a record year in attendance, festival revenue, and a record number of Northwest-made films. Independent filmmaking and appreciation of independent filmmaking is alive and well in the Northwest!

What could have made your year better?
We would like to have even greater visibility and appreciation from Washington and Northern Oregon. We will work hard to increase our reach to these great areas of independent filmmakers and lovers.

pattiPatti Kalles
Kalles Levine Casting
Was 2014 a successful year for you?
Better than last year.

What projects did you work on?
National Swiffer commercial; Amazon TV pilot Man in the High Castle.

What could have made your year better?
More work. No incentives to bring work here in Washington. More press to make Washington a friendly town to shoot in. Crew from out of town complain that the public doesn’t like anyone shooting in Seattle. We need press and more help from the government.

EMAEd Mellnik
EMA Video Productions, Inc.
Was 2014 a successful year for you?
This was a great year for live video streaming events. I think live streaming has come of age. Most people even know what live streaming is, which is different than only a year or two ago when it was a vague term for most.

What projects did you work on?
In 2014 EMA Video streamed a musical play by The Northwest Children’s Theatre to the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital; we streamed a four-day Holistic Medical Conference in Minneapolis; we worked on the Portland Blues Festival with 8 cameras and sent the mix to two jumbotron screens; and as the videographer for the Oregon Ballet, we recorded several of their performances. Those were the highlights, but we loved doing the smaller jobs this year as well.

What could have made your year better?
The only negative thing about 2014 was that it went by too fast! I hope there will be more groups running conference events deciding to stream the event live on the web this next year.

colleenbell (2)Colleen Bell
Bell Agency
Was 2014 a successful year for you?
Yes, a very successful year. In the past two years, the Bell Agency has done better than any year in our 23-year history. We have developed a new business plan that has brought in many more clients, talent and work. Our talent base is some of the hardest working, loyal talent in Washington and Oregon. We know it takes hard work to make it in this economy and we have continued to meet this challenge head on. We have had a talent in almost every production that has come into Washington and Oregon due to the high caliber of our talent. We understand that we can only be as good as the talent we ask to join our agency.  The Bell Agency talent have booked jobs with Amazon, Nordstrom, Mazda, Chevy, Les Schwab, Microsoft, NFL, Sounders, WSU, Grimm, The Librarians, Fred Meyer, Puffs, Disney, Zumiez, Carhartt, Boeing and so many more just this year.

What could have made your year better?
Loyalty from our talent is what drives us to continue to grow successfully. Despite rumors that the Bell Agency has changed its name in the Oregon market, we want to assure everyone that we are still one agency thriving in both Washington and Oregon. All in all, the year was very successful and we couldn’t be more proud of our talent, and more thankful for our loyal clients.

Media272, Inc.
Was 2014 a successful year for you?
Yes, 2014 was very successful. We saw our sales and production more than double.

Two years ago, video was a “nice to have.”  Now, it is a “need to have.”

What could have made your year better?
Business owners are more reluctant than ever to spend. Taxes, health care, and paperwork are horrible time and resource drains. The uncertainty that taxes will increase disproportionately because someone believes “they deserve to pay more” is outrageous. Business owners deserve every reward they’ve earned.

Kathleen Lopez, MS
Location Manager
Was 2014 a successful year for you?
Yes! Successful. I sent the production designer for a series pilot to Seattle/Woodinville.

What could have made your year better?
Increase in the Washington film incentive.

Amey René
Amey René Casting
Was 2014 a successful year for you?
Yes! We were lucky enough to work on the NIKE commercial “Train it True,” featuring Richard Sherman, which showcased a lot of local PNW talent and was directed by the legendary music video director Mark Romanek. We did the local Seattle casting for the feature film Captain Fantastic, which is the directorial debut of actor Matt Ross and stars Viggo Mortensen and shot in Woodinville, Washington. In 2014, Amey René Casting Seattle also got its own permanent offices. We are located in the Saturn Building in Fremont.

What could have made your year better?
We are working on providing continual audition workshops for PNW actors. With more and more nationally recognized projects coming to shoot in the Northwest, we want actors to be ready to showcase their talents and book the job!

Eric Goetz
Was 2014 a successful year for you?

What projects did you work on?
I scored four animated short films for Seattle University and The Gates Foundation, and worked on a number of iPhone/iPad apps.

What could have made your year better?
As a composer, I feel like I’ve hit a glass ceiling in Seattle’s film industry. This year, I had seven films in SIFF, but made a combined total of less than $10K on them. When bigger budget films shoot here, they inevitably end up doing their post in L.A., regardless. If it weren’t for one or two really good local video game clients, I would not be able to earn a living as a film composer in Seattle.

Kyle LeMire
Was 2014 a successful year for you?
2014 was a successful year for Miracle AD Wallet, LLC. Mostly because it was our first. I started the film equipment e-commerce company to sell Call Sheet Wallets to eco-friendly ADs and PAs: The Miracle AD Wallet. We donate all profits to programs like Plant-it-2020, that reforest and reduce carbon emissions worldwide.

What projects did you work on?
This year alone, we’ve distributed Call Sheet Wallets to Todd Haynes’ Carol, Portlandia Season 5, House of Cards Season 3, CSI: Cyber, among others. And we’ll now be available not only on www.MiracleADwallet.com, but also on FilmTools.com and in their three L.A.-area stores.

What could have made your year better?
2014 couldn’t have been better.

Doc Thoemke
TMKey Film
What projects did you work on in 2014?
tmkeyfilm.com provides HD underwater filmography (with no divers) and nearshore salmon habitat assessment documentation in Puget Sound’s deepest substrate. 2014 completed projects: Chehalis River underwater filming lost Gill Nets called Ghost Nets 6; tons of nets removed. Located invasive species club tunicate (sea squirts) in Hood Canal, Puget Sound. Identified substrate hot spots, E. coli in the drinking water, Sea Snow, red and green algae. Started the TMKey Film YouTube channel.

What could have made your year better?
Expanded funding for research filming health dangers to the public. Serious changes taking place in regards to E. coli and red algae—your drinking waters are unsafe. The health of Puget Sound has around 20 more years. Big surprise—health dangers to walk the beach, play in the sand, shellfish toxins. More is coming.

Talent Services: Much More Than Just Payroll and Paperwork

There are very few companies in the country—and even fewer in the Northwest—that are able to provide the multifaceted services that Talent Services does for its production clients.

The Lynnwood, Washington-based company not only provides payroll management, but they also offer union signatory services for industrial programs and manage all of the employer responsibilities, which allows their clients to focus on their productions—not on paperwork.

“We’re the middle man between the government and the various unions in the media industry,” explains Talent Services owner Gunnvor Tveidt. “So we handle all the payments, obligations, and all the liabilities for the government and the unions. And that was one of the reasons this business was started. Many companies, many smaller producers, don’t want to get saddled with all the paperwork and obligations to sign up with the state for workers’ comp, unemployment, taxes, etc. It’s time-consuming to handle when you’re busy making your living doing something you like to do.”

Gunnvor Tveidt

Gunnvor Tveidt

Tveidt bought the company about 16 years ago from a friend who had started out in the casting business. “Working in casting, she realized that there was quite a need for production and payroll management for both the crew and talent side and the producers,” says Tveidt. “I wanted to grow the company and help fulfill this need.”

She knew that the business would be difficult to learn, but she was ready for the challenge.

“I’m Norwegian. I’m stubborn. I’m persistent. So even though I bought a company that already existed, I think there was a little bit of a question whether I was going to make it. But I never doubted I was going to make it and I’ve grown the company substantially since then.”

A major factor in this growth was Tveidt’s decision to expand into the union side of things, and, she says, “pretty soon we got to be quite good. No one else wanted to do it because it’s difficult.”

Due to the complex nature of the business, the high cost of entry, and the amount of financial security necessary to handle the liabilities, Tveidt has seen many competing companies come and go. “People think, ‘if Talent Services can do it, so can I. I know accounting, I know production, I can do it.’ And then they do not realize the complexities and the demand on a company like ours. So they don’t make it.”

Tveidt says that while there are several huge companies based in L.A. and New York that perform similar services, there are very few companies that are small- to medium-sized like hers. But with a huge company, clients don’t get the personal touch that they might get with a smaller company, which is perhaps why Talent Services has been able to gain so many national clients. Most recently, they’ve worked with Lego Batman, Nike, Adidas, and Wheel of Fortune (“Vanna White is the nicest person,” says Tveidt. “She knits!”).

In fact, Tveidt estimates that 75 percent of the work they do is for out-of-state clients.

“I know it’s hard to believe, but we do business with a great part of the larger companies in the U.S.,” she says. “We were just part of a Wells Fargo production and that didn’t take place in Washington or anywhere near the Northwest.”

And although the job includes a lot of time-consuming paperwork, Tveidt says that it is not without adventure.

On a recent project—she won’t name names—Talent Services was working for an Oregon-based company doing a snowmobile shoot in the Colorado mountains.

“As they went up the mountain 8,000 or 10,000 feet, there were warnings about white-outs and about staying off the mountain. That didn’t happen,” says Tveidt, laughing. “They ended up getting trapped. People had to be airlifted out. Someone broke their leg. It was really, really bad. They went up there with tennis shoes and froze their toes. That was a huge helicopter bill.”

She continues, “People in the industry, they’re fun people, they’re creative people and risk-takers, and this was like a total synopsis of how they use their talent. I have to laugh about it.”

This good-natured, “can and will do” attitude, combined with high integrity and exceptional payroll management services, has produced what Talent Services calls “raving fans”—clients that come back again and again.

For more information, visit www.talentservices.com.

Oregon Locations Shine in Wild’s Spotlight

In addition to Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, and the rest of the stellar cast, the other star of Wild is Oregon itself, and  the vast array of locations used in the film as Cheryl Strayed’s journey unfolds. In fact, it has been reported that Wild filmed in more Oregon locations than any other feature to date.

Media Inc. talked to the film’s key assistant location manager—Portland-based Roger Faires—to find out more.

Media Inc.: How did you become involved in the film?
Roger Faires: I was the first person in Oregon hired to work on Wild. And I showed the producers and Nancy Haecker, the L.A.-based key location manager, all over a great portion of the state. I was first contacted a month or two prior by the Oregon Governor’s Office of Film and Television, hinting that a very important project that may be looking into Oregon for filming might need some expert help in large disparate areas of Oregon to find some rather specific locations. I started by helping with ideas first. Then I took them to see Bridge of the Gods, then Mt. Hood, then the desert of central Oregon, and finally the Ashland-Medford area and surrounding mountains and forest.
At that time, (director) Jean-Marc Vallée had not been hired yet. Bruna (Papandrea, producer) and Reese’s first choice of director was unavailable and they may have been in the very final discussions with Jean-Marc, but he wasn’t on board yet. So in essence, Fox Searchlight was entrusting some very large decisions to Bruna, Bergen (Swanson, line producer) and Nancy as to whether Oregon would work in the entirety that was needed for going to the great lengths to commit a large chunk of filming here.
So by the time we got Jean-Marc to Oregon, virtually all of the film was scouted and then it was just a matter of taking Jean-Marc all over the state and showing him the various options for each location. Which by that time we also had the production designer and 1st AD along, as well, so they would weigh in to support our intuitions, thus helping Jean-Marc make what I thought were very correct decisions.

MI: What was it like working with the producers and Jean-Marc?
RF: It was an absolute joy to work with them. I found that they knew the material well—meaning both the book and the screenplay—and that they set about with me in an almost childlike and optimistic search for these very specific location and location areas that would fit the key elements of the story.

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

MI: What exactly were they looking for? Did you know right away where to find it?
RF: Specifically, they were very interested in finding an Oregon-based substitute for Kennedy Meadows. The real Kennedy Meadows is a place in the Southern Sierra Nevadas that Pacific Crest Trail hikers get to after several days of traveling and have a little break and energy replenishment. The actual Kennedy Meadows has a store and some camp spots but it would have been quite difficult to bring a decent-sized film production there. They also wanted to find enough relatively easy-to-get-to tracts of desert that could stand in for the various desert and arid areas that the PCT goes through in California. And they also wanted to see where the emotional and physical end of Cheryl’s journey ends: The Bridge of the Gods that spans the Columbia River and connects Oregon to Washington State. These folks knew pretty well from the beginning that Portland would work for all city and semi-rural sequences that were in the screenplay—they just needed to figure out in their heads that Oregon could stand in for a lot of the California parts of the PCT and I really feel that I gave them that encouragement on our four-day initial producer’s scout.
As far as knowing right away where to find these exact things, I of course said yes, but then I quickly put on my thinking and intuition cap and had to make that a reality. I think my sheer force of will made some of the things findable, and a couple of other locales fell into place.

MI: Wild has been touted as having used more Oregon locations than any other production. What does that mean to you?
RF: Well, that very well may be correct. We shot in three completely distinct zones: The Ashland-Medford area, the Greater Bend area, and a very large extended Portland area, which included Mt. Hood and the Bridge of the Gods, which aren’t exactly right down the street.
To me, this is why films should come here or go anywhere on location, for that matter. We have all these great places in Oregon and it can be a little frustrating when a production comes here and wants to keep everything 25 minutes from Portland. This state is mind-blowing and it has these features that most people outside of Oregon don’t even know exist. After all, two-thirds of the state is not only arid but is actually true desert, and in fact much dryer in some areas than its California counterparts.
I feel that Bruna, Bergen and Fox Searchlight really took the fullest advantage of what Oregon has and utilized it to the fullest they could. It was bold and at the same time very smart of them. Hats off to those good people.

MI: What was your favorite location selected for Wild?
RF: My favorite location selected by the producers—and Jean-Marc Vallée, who had the final say so—is a toss-up between our stand-in for Kennedy Meadows, which was the Paulina Lake Lodge at the Newberry Volcanic National Monument, and the other one was this unnamed area in the desert east of Bend that we filmed the “Modoc” sequence where Cheryl runs out of water. The latter needed to have a hotter than heck look and yet still not be in what one would think of as true desert. My find was a very sparse stand of ancient pines on Bureau of Land Management land that was out in the middle of this sage desert that, unlike a lot of the surrounding desert, had a fine layer of white gypsum sand spread over it. I love the area (and the choice of it as a stand-in for Modoc National Forest) so much, so I use a picture of it as wallpaper on my phone. The general public would rarely find the places us scouts can find because we have the backing to go out someplace and get totally lost but yet with some specific look in mind.

MI: What was the most difficult location to procure?
RF: The most difficult location to procure now brings into mention my peers in the locations department on the film: Bobby Warburg, Doug Hobart and Beth Melnick, who each made major contributions to the locations work on the film. Each one had their own nightmare locations to deal with. For Beth, hers was definitely all the work it took to shut down and film on the Bridge of the Gods. For Bobby and Doug, it was after I left the eastern and central Oregon locations to them so I could start getting the Portland area stuff ready, they had a heck of a time dealing with the various BLM-owned properties. Normally the latter would not have been too tough, but for some reason on this film it was like pulling teeth and those two jumped through a lot of lit hoops and pulled it off.

MI: What has this production meant to the Oregon production community?
RF: I think Wild filming nearly 100 percent in Oregon (minus one day in Mojave) gives our film community a sense of great pride in not only their individual skills but the pride when some important film folks come here and completely “get” your home. No stone was left unturned to get the right location by me and my terrific peers, but also the whole Fox Searchlight team. There was always this attitude that Oregon has it and we will find it and we will film there! Period!

Roger Faires recently completed location managing duties for Green Room, directed and written by Jeremy Saulnier and filmed throughout Oregon. For more information, visit www.rogerfaires.com.

Festival Preview: 17 Years of SpIFF

SPIFF spiffwatch2

Photo by Rajah Bose

When it begins its run on February 5, the 2015 Spokane International Film Festival will celebrate its 17th edition. What began in 1999 as a small weekend affair, focusing primarily on regional feature films and shorts, has gradually evolved into a week-plus-long celebration that offers a feast of international cinema to round out the regional delicacies. Just as important as its celebratory factor, though, SpIFF has provided the Inland Northwest annual access to the eyes of the world through the art of cinema.

Take the 2014 festival. Features, documentaries and shorts from Europe and Asia, North and South America graced the screens of four different Spokane venues: The Magic Lantern, The Bing Crosby Theatre, The Garland, and AMC, River Park Square. Awards were presented to films from The Netherlands (Matterhorn), France (Mr. Hublot), Iran (For the Birds) and the U.S. (K2: Siren of the Himalayas). At the same time, Northwest films were rewarded, too, with special honors for features and shorts.

The 2015 festival, which will run through Saturday, February 14, promises to be even more varied, with hundreds of submissions—again, features, documentaries and shorts—coming from as far away as Spain, Australia, Turkey and Japan. SpIFF will begin announcing titles on their website in January.

An all-volunteer project, headed for the past six years by Pete Porter—whose day job is professor of film at Eastern Washington University—SpIFF is an annual reminder that cinema in all its forms remains alive and well. Even in this cozy sector of the Inland Northwest.

To access the SpIFF website, go to www.spokanefilmfestival.org.

Meet Tim Williams

New Film Office Director Prioritizing Partnerships and Sustainability for Oregon Media Production

By Mary Erickson Guest Editor

Tim Williams visited Oregon to scout locations for the film Wild while working at Fox Searchlight. Working with the Oregon film office on this project, he was struck by the possibilities and opportunities in the state and the level of creative work happening here. Then Vince Porter, the former executive director of the Governor’s Office of Film and Television, left to pursue a position as one of Governor Kitzhaber’s economic policy advisors. Williams seized the opportunity to transition 25 years of production experience into work that would be more consistent in a place that is, as he mentions, “a lot more beautiful.”

Tim Williams OR Film

Tim Williams

Since taking the helm at the Oregon film office on October 1 of this year, Williams dived into getting acquainted with filmmaking communities across the state. He has been encouraged at the depth of the creative community.

“There is a passion and an insight to so many different creative processes here,” he says, “and I’m excited to see how we can help them out to grow into something forceful.”

Williams is committed to growing the sustainability of media production in the entire region. One strategy is to make the state’s film incentives—OPIF, i-OPIF, Greenlight Oregon—work for the entire state. Working with various regional industry associations will ensure solid distribution of the incentives across the state. Oregon’s film incentives have been very successful, attracting and retaining high-profile productions, such as Grimm and The Librarians.

Williams says, “The incentive program is working really well and it is benefiting a great deal of companies both in-state and coming from out of state. And it’s created a nice balance of work in the state, and the smaller indigenous work that’s going on.”

But the incentives have topped out quickly this year: the $10 million for the 2014 OPIF incentives were distributed within the first month. Even i-OPIF, the production incentive fund for indigenous, or locally-grown, films, capped out within a week for the first time this year.

“This limits our ability to use incentives for many of the things we’d like to do,” says Williams. “We have about five different projects every week inquiring about shooting in Oregon. And that’s been happening since July… But with no incentives left to offer, the conversation stops there.”

So much interest in media production means larger-scale productions, and more brick-and-mortar companies expanding and moving into larger spaces to accommodate the increase in work. Williams’ role in fostering conditions to keep this momentum going includes looking at models in other states, such as New York, California, Louisiana and Georgia, examining what works and what doesn’t work.

“We’re looking at what they are doing right,” he says, “and what they are doing that we probably wouldn’t do, and what they are doing that we can learn from. It changes with each one of those jurisdictions.”

As the next legislative session approaches, beginning in February 2015, Williams and the film office hope to address the gap in what the incentives can offer and what the filmmaking community is asking for.

“We have a growing list of projects that are inquiring about Oregon and because we’re not on a level playing field with other states that have incentives programs with more money, these productions go elsewhere,” says Williams. “Addressing this gap is right up at the top of our agenda.”

He adds, “I am hopeful we can expand the incentives in a way that will continue to help the sectors.”

To complement the incentives and continue strengthening Oregon’s production community, Williams hopes to pursue partnerships with both government and non-government agencies.

“I’m seeing a lot of opportunity for partnership to help the internal creative companies of Oregon, the ones we call brick-and-mortar companies,” says Williams. “Media is now a broad term, rather than just TV or movies or commercials. It’s now branded content, digital content, digital storytelling. Everything is crossing over everywhere, so this partnership aspect is really important.”

Williams is approaching this strategy of partnership by examining other states’ activities. “We’re also looking at what some of the state agencies in other places have done,” he says, “like the Arts Commission in New York and what they have done with rural theater and rural filmmaking. What can we learn from these types of partnerships?”

In the meantime, Williams is getting to know the state, visiting both the Eugene International Film Festival and the Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival in Portland in November.

“I’m excited about Oregon’s diversity of film offerings and its different agendas and needs,” he says. “Now we are working on marrying all of these things together in a way that makes people feel like we are here to help without diminishing one side or the other of the equation.”

And at the beginning of December, Williams had his first major film premiere as head of the film office. Wild, the film that first brought Williams to Oregon, boasts more on-location shooting in Oregon than any other feature film, shot in Bend, Ashland, Crater Lake and points in between. The film opened in December in theaters across the country.

Z Nation Renewed

Photo by Oliver Irwin

Photo by Oliver Irwin

Zombie series will return to Spokane for season two

By Peyton Scheller, CTA, Communications Coordinator, Visit Spokane

Zombies are returning to Eastern Washington. That’s right; the folks at Syfy network have announced a second season renewal for the post-apocalyptic TV series, Z Nation.

For the Spokane region, this means more recognition and even deeper credibility as a destination for filmmakers.

Rich Cowan, CEO of North by Northwest—the company helping to produce Z Nation—is ecstatic about the second season renewal.

“The renewal shows that the network has faith in us… that we can deliver a great product, week to week,” said Cowan. “It’s different than a feature film, which is essentially a one-time project. With a TV series, we have many more opportunities to show the diversity of the region.”

And with everything from lush forests to vast wheat fields, urban buildings to historic neighborhoods, the Spokane region is as diverse as they come. This makes it extremely easy to replicate any scene, Cowan says, from a thriving metropolitan area… to zombie-ridden Middle America.

The second season renewal also means a greater economic impact for the Spokane community. With a strong workforce and deep acting pool, the TV series creates sustainable local jobs for hundreds of people. Plus, a portion of the working cast and crew travel from outside the region, boosting business for hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related entities.

“A lot of people don’t realize how the film and tourism industry correlate,” said Jeanna Hofmeister, Chief Marketing Officer at Visit Spokane and liaison to Washington Filmworks. “Not only does it generate dollars locally, it opens the eyes of outside film companies who may not have considered the Spokane region as a filming destination before.”

Cowan agrees, saying the second season Z Nation renewal is good news for other projects in the future. “Working on Z Nation has been a real breakthrough for us and the Spokane film industry. North by Northwest has a few things on the horizon right now and we hope the buzz about Z Nation will create more opportunities for us and the Spokane region in the future.”

Casting Wild

Portland-based Cast Iron Studios provided casting services to Wild, ensuring that local talent—in addition to Oregon’s wonderfully diverse landscape—shines in the film.

“We were initially hired to cast around 40 roles. About 30 of them made it into the final cut,” says owner Lana Veenker. “A few more will hopefully be on the DVD!”

Veenker and Cast Iron became involved in the production from the outset.

Lana Veenker with director Jean-Marc Vallee.

Lana Veenker with director Jean-Marc Vallee.

“I had been tracking Wild since I found out that Reese had bought the rights to the film, and pounced on it as soon as I heard that it was going into production,” explains Veenker. “I was a big fan of the book and really wanted to be involved with the film!”

Veenker describes her time working on the film as “a hectic, but wonderful experience.”

She adds, “The project was fast-tracked, so we didn’t have much prep time, and Jean-Marc definitely kept us on our toes, but it was fantastic to hear actors reading Cheryl’s words through Nick Hornby’s masterful screenplay adaptation.”

Veenker with actress Laura Dern.

Veenker with actress Laura Dern.

Cast Iron Studios was in attendance at the film’s L.A. premiere in November, where Veenker got to see firsthand how her team helped bring the film together.

“At the L.A. premiere, Bruce Dern looked me right in the eye and told me he hadn’t been this moved by a film in 60 years,” she says. “That was an incredible moment in my career. Many of the reviewers—and even Q&A attendees—have commented on the strength of the supporting cast, even down to the non-speaking parts. We are very proud of the actors we cast, and even prouder to be associated with the film ourselves.”

In addition to casting, the company also helped host the Portland cast and crew screening and after-party on December 8.

“It’s just such a beautiful story, our actors truly shine, and our state looks amazing,” says Veenker. “I’m hoping this will translate into more projects choosing Oregon!”

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