Washington Filmworks announced today that the state’s film incentive program has recently approved funding assistance for one episodic TV series and one feature film production. Filmworks also announced that this assistance has essentially exhausted the program’s available funds for such projects for the remainder of 2014. Washington’s film incentive program is capped at $3.5 million per year.
The TV series is “Z-Nation,” slated to begin production in May in Eastern Washington, with episodes scheduled to air starting this fall on Syfy. The feature film is “Captain Fantastic,” scheduled for production in Seattle this summer. Both major productions will provide a boost to the Washington film production industry, representing hundreds of cast and crew jobs. And both are filming in Washington, at least in part due to financial incentives provided through Washington Filmworks, which administers the state’s film incentive program.
However, according to Amy Lillard, Executive Director of Washington Filmworks, the lack of additional incentive funds in 2014 means other projects that might have considered shooting in Washington this year will choose to work in other states that can provide funding assistance. “There were a number of film projects interested in shooting in Washington,” Lillard says. “But, although they still see Washington as a desirable filming location, they will now shoot in the states that can provide financial assistance.”
Washington’s controversial cap is widely believed to prevent the state’s film industry from being competitive with other states which have larger incentive funds, to entice motion picture and television projects to film in their states. Writer/Director Douglas Horn believes the current situation illustrates the problem well. “Perhaps it was necessary to reach this point where Filmworks has to turn away all new film productions until 2015 so that it is clear to everyone how our capacity and the economic opportunities for the state have outpaced the incentive cap,” Horn said. Filmworks has done a good job in the past of doling out projects throughout the year, but there’s no longer any way to hide how far the economic potential for film in the state has exceeded the current incentive.”
Washington Filmworks also allocates a portion of the state’s incentive funds to support commercial production projects and in-state film projects by Washington based filmmakers. These programs also comprise a portion of the state’s $3.5 million cap.