Washington Caps Fantastic Production Year

By Andrew Espe Washington Filmworks

Washington Filmworks is pleased to report we have just completed a successful shooting season. Not only have we seen the return of the network series in Washington State, but we also provided funding assistance to a new high-profile feature film.

Governor Inslee with Z Nation zombies.

Governor Inslee with Z Nation zombies.

One of our major projects this year was Z Nation, a zombie series airing on the Syfy Network from Go2 Digital Media and produced by Jodi Binstock, Steve Graham and Rich Cowan, and executive produced by Karl Schaefer. It tells the story of a group of heroes amidst the aftermath of a deadly zombie-pocalypse, and stars Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do!, Southland) and local actors Russell Hodgkinson, Pisay Pao and Nat Zang. Episodic series represent months of consistent work and well paying jobs—filming in the Spokane area from mid-May to August, the incentivized series created 12,000 worker days for Washington State cast and crew.

Hoodies that Filmworks' Amy Lillard found on her trip to Spokane.

Hoodies that Filmworks’ Amy Lillard found on her trip to Spokane.

One such crewmember, SFX make-up artist Shawn Shelton, had a very positive on-set experience while creating the zombies’ frightening appearance. “I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such talented professionals, old friends and new,” Shelton explains. “Over such a long period of time, we truly became a filmmaking family.”

Due to high ratings and buzzing fandom, Z Nation was renewed for a second season by Syfy.

The other major project was Captain Fantastic, one of the largest feature films in Filmworks history. The film is from Electric City Entertainment and produced by Lynette Howell and Jamie Patricof, and written and directed by Matt Ross (28 Hotel Rooms). It tells the story of a nature-dependent father (Viggo Mortensen, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) who assimilates back into society after living with his six kids in the Pacific Northwest woods for 10 years. The film is now in post-production and is scheduled to premiere in 2015.

Cindy Ryu (rep. of 32nd legislative district) with husband Cody Ryu and Captain Fantastic writer/director Matt Ross.

Cindy Ryu (rep. of 32nd legislative district) with husband Cody Ryu and Captain Fantastic writer/director Matt Ross.

Filming in Snohomish County, King County, and surrounding areas this past summer and fall, Captain Fantastic had an estimated 37 days of production and employed approximately 355 Washington resident cast, crew and local vendors.

2014 also capped off a full year of Commercialize Seattle, a campaign promoting and incentivizing the Seattle region as a commercial production destination. More than 90 regional production companies and agencies participate in the program, as 33 individual spots showcase their skills and unique work. Additionally, Commercialize Seattle has housed nine incentive projects with over $7.8 million in economic impact.

The latest Washington Filmworks Innovation Lab cycle also occurred this fall. $75,000 in funding assistance was allocated to three projects (This Brute Land Virginia, Wallflower, and War Room) that are currently in pre-production and scheduled to film soon. The Filmworks Innovation Lab is designed to invest in the future filmmakers of our local creative community and original storytelling that capitalizes on emerging technologies.

Washington Filmworks executive director Amy Lillard, NxNW founder Rich Cowan, and Washington Filmworks board members Greg Smith and Harry Sladich.

Washington Filmworks executive director Amy Lillard, NxNW founder Rich Cowan, and Washington Filmworks board members Greg Smith and Harry Sladich.

We take pride in all these accomplishments, but we are also looking ahead to 2015.

With the past year’s unprecedented success, we are currently working with partners to determine the feasibility of additional funding for the state film office and production incentive program. Stay tuned to our blog and newsletter for our Legislative Awareness Campaign, launching soon to help the film community’s voice get heard this upcoming legislative session.

Thank you to all our community and industry partners who helped make 2014 a rousing and inspiring success for Washington Filmworks! We count on your passion and support as we head into 2015 for another incredible and exciting year.

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