What Does This Session Mean for the Northwest Production Industry?
Photos by Regan MacStravic
At press time, both Washington and Oregon were in the midst of an important legislative session that could have important repercussions on the local film industry. Here, we take you through some of the bills on the table and what their impact might be. We’ll bring you updates as they become available both here and in our next issue.
In Washington State, a bill to increase the funding for the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program was introduced in the Washington State Senate on February 17. Senate Bill 6027 (SB 6027) has been referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee and a hearing was held on Wednesday, March 25.
SB 6027 would double the size of the production incentive program over the next two years to $7 million and increase the fund incrementally each year until it reaches $10 million in 2019. The sunset date for the program would also be extended to 2022.
Washington’s current incentive program is the fifth smallest in the country. In April of last year, Washington Filmworks, which oversees the state’s film production incentive program, announced that, after just four months, the state’s entire allotment of funds available as production incentives for feature films and TV series had been exhausted for the year.
SB 6027 aims to increase the incentive cap in order to keep Washington’s film industry competitive and help to retain film industry talent to fuel the statewide creative economy. The bill, which is supported by Mayor Ed Murray, is prime sponsored by Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D, 36th), and co-sponsored by Senator Andy Billig (D, 3rd) and Senator Joe Fain (R, 47th).
Filmworks organized a Film Day in Olympia on Tuesday, March 17. Nearly 300 participants from the local production community were in attendance to advocate for the film industry and many met with legislators to discuss the importance of the production incentive program in building a strong and robust creative economy. In addition, a film set was constructed behind the Capital Steps so that legislators could see for themselves what cast and crew do on a “typical day at work.”
Meanwhile, spring is coming into Oregon like a lion this year with a change in leadership at the OMPA, several bills relating to Oregon’s film incentive program introduced into this 78th legislative session, and the great production news regarding the TV shows shooting in the state. Once Nathaniel Applefield, the new Interim Executive Director at the OMPA, has time to settle in, we’ll bring you a round-up of all of the measures in Salem that affect the incentive program. In the meantime, here are summaries of the bills to watch in Oregon’s Legislative Session:
Senate Bill 872
Increases amount of maximum total tax credits for certified film production development contributions for fiscal year. Limits amount of expense reimbursement for filmmakers other than local filmmakers. Increases limit on reimbursement for local filmmaker or media production services company.
House Bill 2072
Establishes task force on Oregon film and media production. Increases amount of maximum total tax credits for certified film production development contributions for fiscal year. Provides for appropriation to Oregon Production Investment Fund for reimbursements of expenses for films or media production services produced or performed outside Portland metropolitan area. Removes limit on amount of expense reimbursement to local filmmaker or local media production services company. Applies to fiscal years beginning on or after July 1, 2015.
House Bill 2898
Increases amount of reimbursement from Oregon Production Investment Fund that is available to local filmmaker or media production services company. Applies to fiscal years beginning on or after July 1, 2015.
Senate Bill 799
Advances sunset for tax credit for film production.
For more information, visit www.oregonfilm.org.