The Washington film industry is battling for its future as the 2016 legislative session rolls on.
Flanked by a strong coalition of film industry allies, Washington Filmworks is leading a campaign to fight for the future of production in the state.
Specifically, Filmworks and its “Keep Film in WA” campaign partners are rallying behind House Bill 2542 (HB 2542), which, if signed into law, would increase funding for the production incentive program and extend its sunset date.
Prime sponsored by Representative Marcus Riccelli (D-3), the bill doubles the size of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program fund to $7 million over two years and increases the fund incrementally until it reaches $10 million by the year 2020. The bill will also extend the sunset date of the program to December 31, 2023.
With its current film incentive fund of just $3.5 million per year, the state has had to turn away millions of dollars in business. In 2015, Washington State lost out on $65 million in economic activity after Washington Filmworks exhausted its fund by March. By increasing the fund’s cap to $7 million, and eventually $10 million, HB 2542 would make Washington more competitive when it comes to drawing production from outside the state.
Washington Filmworks urges film industry professionals to help the campaign by signing the Keep Film in WA petition (KeepFilminWA.com) and by contacting their local legislators to not only provide them with facts and data about the incentive program, but to also share their personal stories of why film is important in Washington State.
Additionally, on January 21, Filmworks organized Film Day in Olympia. Over 200 film professionals and supporters from around the state showed up to lobby their legislators in support of the bill. Campaigners were able to organize and execute over 100 meetings with legislators and got great feedback and insight from the attendees who took the meetings.
Following Film Day, on January 22, was the Hearing in front of the House Finance Committee, during which 9 members of the film community testified on behalf of HB 2542. According to Filmworks, a total of 35 people signed in to support the bill that morning—an amazing show of support.
Stay tuned to www.washingtonfilmworks.org as the legislative session progresses to find out what you can do to Keep Film in WA!