Category Archives: Film

ONE SHEET Revised_Alcatraz_Jpeg

‘After Alcatraz – Surviving the Escape’ optioned by Seattle based Capestany Films

Written By Jade Kennedy – Associate Editor 

Now after 54 years, one of the most fascinating unsolved US historical mysteries of all time will be returning to the silver screen with an Award Winning screenplay and original story that follows the infamous Escape from Alcatraz by three men on June 11, 1962.Scott and Kevin

Seattle Producer Scott A. Capestany of Capestany Films negotiated earlier this Spring at the 2016 SCRIPTFEST  in Los Angeles, a screenplay option deal with book author Kevin Bruce.  Bruce, whose father J. Campbell Bruce penned the original book “Escape from Alcatraz” that was converted into a movie starring Clint Eastwood in 1979, recently completed his screenplay adaptation and became a 2015 Cannes Film Festival screenplay finalist in competition.

Capestany Films has been gaining much attention with numerous industry insiders over the last few years involving their aggressive campaigns designed to bring new large scale Film/TV productions to the Pacific Northwest.  Capestany has been strategically positioning his companies IP that includes current projects in development and production mirroring the efforts of Washington Filmworks who have been fighting to restructure the current film incentive program.  Currently, the incentive program ranks at the bottom of over 30 States in the union whom offer spectacular and appealing rebates and tax incentives for producers filming in their regions.

At this years 2016 Seattle International Film Festival, Executive Director Amy Lillard accepted an award for Washington Filmworks’ hard work over the years and helping to restore WA State as a premier filming location that could offer better incentives for their filmmakers which in turn positively impact the States local economies.

“It’s always been a cornerstone of Capestany Films to help enhance the number of commercially sound feature films and TV productions that can be filmed in our State without losing high concept global appeal and avoiding big budgets”, Capestany said.   “The digital revolution now allows quality feature films to be made in the $1-5M range that now carry  lucrative box-office revenue potential around the world”, he added.  “We commend the efforts of Washington Filmworks in helping us filmmakers in this regard.  However, WA state lawmakers need to re-examine the colossal positive economic impacts these films and TV productions make in our communities and the contributions they make among the overall economic vitality of the region.” ONE SHEET Revised_Alcatraz_Jpeg

With their new project ‘After Alcatraz – Surviving the Escape’, Capestany and his team plans on bringing  a large portion of the film to a small Pacific Northwest community that will feature a magnificent 1960s production design, theme and one of the most popular prison escape stories of all time to Washington State.  “Having watched Scott work tirelessly over the years, re-opening the Alcatraz mystery – so to speak – and bringing this tale of intrigue and history to the Evergreen State soil could be the kind of film that helps put Washington State back on the map as a prime and economically viable filming destination.”, said local production designer Aaron John III.

The producers did not comment on or speculate if Clint Eastwood would reprise his role of the aged 85 year old escape Frank Morris or speculate the possibilities of Scott Eastwood to play the lead part of the younger Frank Morris in this film.

Scilla Andreen

WA State’s Most Influential Women in Film, TV and new Media

Scott A. CapestanyBy Scott A. Capestany Editor-In-Chief

Over the past few years, a growing band of Pacific Northwest talented and fierce female creatives have taken the regional community of independent film, TV, media and music by storm. This two-part cover story takes us into the hearts and minds of some of Washington’s and Oregon’s most admired and influential women who have helped pave the way on how we consume media, create films/music, produce visual art (films) and empower others through their creative and artistic talents. Their work today continues to push the limits of innovativeness by contributing to the ever-growing and quickly-evolving landscape of our region’s multi-media sector. We are proud to call these women ‘our own.’ But most importantly, so very grateful for what they do for others through their leadership, inspiration and love within our communities.

For part one of this cover story, we are honored and excited to commemorate the careers and achievements of 18 unique and fascinating women from Washington State within the world of film, TV, media and creativity. Highlighting their profound and worthy contributions is just one factor we took into consideration. The other, which is equally important throughout the process of creative collaboration, is the leadership and teamwork skills that each of them have so admirably displayed over the years. Our selection is not in any order of significance, but rather a collective equal presentation celebrating women pioneers that have fought hard in their professions, stepped outside the box, made their voices heard and, most importantly, become game-changers that continue to push for equality and women empowerment around our region.

Congratulations to these outstanding women from Washington State, and be sure to look for part two of this story, which will feature women from Oregon, in the next issue of Media Inc.

SCILLA ANDREEN, co-founder and CEO of Seattle-based IndieFlix, has truly become one of the most iconic empresses of women empowerment and influence within the world of indie filmmaking.

Scilla Andreen

Scilla Andreen

What Variety magazine calls ‘the Netflix of indie films,’ IndieFlix is now the world’s premier online indie film streaming service that specifically provides a platform for content representing independent thinkers, offering a unique and never-before-seen distribution and revenue model for filmmakers. Content that is featured on the IndieFlix platform allows filmmakers to get paid through metrics involving ‘minutes viewed’ and most recently can now access all their films’ data of their actual viewing audience.

“We created IndieFlix with the filmmaker in mind first that offered more than just a platform for showcasing their finished films,” Andreen said. Currently now in beta  testing, IndieFlix filmmakers can for the first time have access to all the necessary data as to who, where, and how consumers are viewing their content, which she believes is a game-changer in the industry.

As a veteran entrepreneur, Andreen’s work over the past two decades as an Emmy-nominated costume designer, award-winning filmmaker, producer, popular speaker, international film festival juror and dedicated advocate of independent film has helped open up doors and inspired millions of creative artists, both in front of and behind the camera. Her recent empowerment documentary project run through her IndieFlix foundation, which highlights ordinary women doing extraordinary things, recently returned home to Washington State after making a national tour around the country featuring a band of young female filmmakers interviewing and highlighting other women’s empowering stories. The documentary now is being screened at hundreds of schools across the nation. Her current project Screenagers is a fascinating look into today’s youth and their usage of digital technology, directed by Seattle physician and award-winning filmmaker Delaney Rustin. Visit www.indieflix.com and www.screenagersmovie.com for more.

Having made five of her six feature films in Washington State, our next featured woman of influence likely doesn’t need a formal introduction. If you have your eye on Pacific Northwest filmmaking or have attended any major local film festival or event, writer/director LYNN SHELTON has essentially embodied what women in film and Washington State filmmaking have become. Along with her good friend and Seattle producer Mel Eslyn, Shelton feels there needs to be a greater effort by Washington State legislation to see the value and benefit of making films and TV shows in Washington.

“The thing about the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program is that it’s so beautifully engineered and designed to benefit the Washington State economy and professional filmmakers,” said Shelton. “In fact, Washington State was the first state ever to create a film incentive that included union standards, like pension health benefits.”

Lynn Shelton

Lynn Shelton

Spending half her time in L.A., Shelton works both as a writer and director for a number of well-known network and studio projects. Her work has been seen on Netflix, Showtime, Fox and 20th Century TV in episodes of series such as Mad Men, Shameless, Master of None, Fresh Off the Boat, New Girl and Maron.

Shelton also feels that it is a very unique time for women in film. “I believe that we as women are upon a very special moment that I hope is not wasted,” she said. “A moment of opportunity… that I hope is not wasted.” Now that the conversation of women in film and the lack of gender diversity among directors in Hollywood has been brought to the forefront of the media, Shelton senses a much more profound willingness and actual  desire of women wanting to change the pattern by hopefully enhancing the numbers of women directors at large in the workplace. Shelton is actively pushing to bring her next feature to the Evergreen State, produced with our next featured woman of influence and her good friend, Mel Eslyn.

One of the most decorated and hard-working independent film producers from Washington State is MEL ESLYN. Having begun working on movie sets at the age of 14, Eslyn’s resilient and admirable work ethic has spanned two decades, leading her to producing over 15 films, including 3 of Lynn Shelton’s 6 major feature films. Over the last handful of years, she has produced a series of feature films that have screened at some of the world’s top film festivals, including Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca and SXSW. She recently won the prestigious Piaget Producers Award at the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards that honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality independent films. The annual award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.

Mel Eslyn

Mel Eslyn

“One of the biggest hurdles for me as a producer has been my ability to bring more of my films to Seattle. Once projects reach a certain budget, a state film incentive comes into play quite significantly as to where the film is made,” Eslyn said. “It’s my goal in the next year to bring at least one, if not two, feature films to our market that in turn will help bring more awareness to legislation to see the huge benefits a feature film has on impacting local community’s business and economy.” One of Eslyn’s biggest contributions to the Washington State film scene over the years has been her loyalty to her crew and co-workers. Although a number of her films have been filmed outside of Washington State, she brings along many local crew people to work alongside her.

When it comes to connecting the Pacific Northwest’s growing pool of talented actors, casting director NIKE IMORU, CSA, is the one woman who not only gets the job done, but is counted on by the leading producers throughout Washington and now in Los Angeles to find the most talented performers in film and TV. Nike, pronounced “Nee-Kay,” has been a professional casting director in Washington for over 10 years and currently is the lead casting director for the state’s largest recurring cable TV series, Z Nation.

Nike Imoru

Nike Imoru

“It’s been my goal ever since I began casting to offer more to actors during the casting process than what typically they would get during an audition,” Imoru said. Known around the region as a true “actors coach,” she is a classically trained professional theater actor herself who hails from the U.K., where she also taught acting at a few prestigious schools before becoming a full-time CSA. She recently opened up a state-of-the-art casting studio facility in West Seattle, where she will be spending most of 2016 casting and supporting Z Nation. Visit www.nikeimorucasting.com or find Nike Imoru Casting on Facebook: ‘Act with Inspiration.’

With approximately 45 film festivals and competitions each year for filmmakers and folks to attend around the state, STEFANIE MALONE, executive director of the world’s largest youth film festival NFFTY, helms a quite impressive and quickly growing international festival in downtown Seattle each spring. Now in its 10th year, NFFTY (National Film Festival for Talented Youth) receives over 950 submissions from over 20 countries around the world made by youth filmmakers between the ages of 5 and 25.

Stefanie Malone

Stefanie Malone

An Emmy Award-winning producer herself, Malone’s work in the PBS arena for many years led her to Seattle, where she became the community engagement and education director for Seattle’s local PBS affiliate, KCTS. Although her full-time commitment to NFFTY year-round occupies most of her bandwidth, her ongoing relationship with KCTS and WETA (the Washington, D.C. PBS affiliate) allows her to pursue her true passion and love for developing and producing documentaries. “It’s hard to leave PBS entirely after being with them so long, so I’m grateful I can continue to work within that space where I still think it is an excellent platform for filmmakers to showcase their films and TV shows,” Malone said. Her team of likeminded leaders and growing numbers of supporting staff at NFFTY has allowed the festival to expand its annual events and festival offerings to the public. Visit www.nffty.org.

Working for the City of Seattle as executive director for the Film+Music Office, KATE BECKER leads a staff of seven who oversee a multitude of resources and permitting activities that help facilitate filmmakers, musicians and special events. Whether it be a feature film, TV series, commercial or new media production that involves city parks or hundreds of locations run by the city, Becker’s team truly is the ‘one-stop shop’ for the professional filmmaker. Each year, the city issues over 400 film permits for projects filmed in and around the city.

Prior to working with the city, Becker served in leadership roles at Kate BeckerSeattle Theatre Group, Art Share L.A. in Los Angeles, and the New Art Center in Newton, Massachusetts. She co-founded Seattle’s Vera Project and the Old Fire House, nonprofit art- and music-based all-ages venues that have helped build Seattle’s creative economy talent pipeline. Becker has also produced more than 1,000 all-ages shows and numerous major fundraisers and galas. Talking about women in film, Becker said, “I’m so happy to work in a market (WA State) where so many talented women are leading our local industry by producing and creating exceptional content which is a true feather in our cap.”

Becker also works quite diligently as one of Washington State’s top interactive advocates for helping bring new filmmakers to the state from around the world while attending national and international festivals and markets. “We are excited the members of the film industry are actively convening in pursuit of a production facility to be located in Seattle,” she said. “Something like this could do wonders for the film/TV and media landscape.” Visit www.seattle.gov/filmandmusic.

As co-founder and owner of Mighty Tripod Productions (MTP), one of Seattle’s most respected actor development, management and indie production companies, ANGELA DiMARCO truly has become an empowering woman of influence, both in front of and behind the camera. With a genuine heart to help others (she is known as ‘Mama DiMarco’ among her circle), she helps mentor and prepare actors for the rigorous road of working in the business.

Angela DiMarco

Angela DiMarco

“MTP is an evolution of who I was, growing up without having quality training and mentorship that I believe is a major cornerstone of becoming a professional artist,” said DiMarco, who runs the company with her talented and award-winning husband David Hogan, who himself has over two decades of theater, film, TV and talent leadership under his belt.

“David and I wanted to create a platform in Mighty Tripod Productions for Northwest actors taught by Northwest actors, available to all ages to hone their craft, build their confidence and, most of all, be mighty,” she added. You can find DiMarco on all social media channels under Mighty Tripod Productions, her own hashtag #dontwaitcreate and at www.mightytripod.com.

Once a creative artist decides he or she wants to take the plunge into the world of acting or modeling in the Seattle area, TERRI MORGAN’s TCM Models and Talent Agency would be considered by many one of the most well-known and reputable agencies in the state. Starting up in 1979 as a modeling agency over in Eastern Washington, Morgan decided to take her love for helping others within the industry to Seattle and opened up a new location downtown in 1990, where they remain today. By 1998, her well-seasoned staff established a new talent division that has provided actors opportunities in commercials, feature films, TV series and new media requiring on-camera talent.

Terri Morgan

Terri Morgan

“Coming from a modeling background myself, I know how hard it can be to break into the business not knowing how to navigate the oftentimes intimidating and rigorous demand of the business or how the auditioning and selection process works,” she said. “TCM specializes in counseling and advising talent by offering a well-developed road map for actors and models to utilize if they choose to enhance their careers.” Visit TCM at www.tcmmodels.com.

One of Washington State’s best known features is its rich and vibrant Native American culture and history. Our next woman of influence has spent over a decade developing an awareness  and sensitivity to the power of media and film as a modern storytelling tool for local communities, primarily the indigenous people of the region. As co-founder and executive director of Longhouse Media, now in their 11th year, TRACY RECTOR (Choctaw/Seminole Tribe) has produced over 350 film shorts, worked with over 40 tribes from around the United States, and has served over 3,000 youths by bringing filmmaking tools to tribal students from around the country to help them tell their own stories. Her work has been featured by Cannes Film Festival, ImagineNative and National Geographic’s All Roads Film Project, while also leading the first filmmaking team from Seattle to have a documentary on PBS’ Independent Lens and appearing in the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian. Not to mention, she’s a recent Sundance Film Institute Lab fellow participant and Tribeca Film Festival all-access grantee to boot.

Tracy Rector

Tracy Rector

Aside from being an award-winning director/producer and advocate, Rector developed and launched the quite successful educational program ‘SuperFly,’ a program that challenged students to create 5 films in 36 hours, which then screened in conjunction with the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF).

“SIFF’s decade-long collaborating with Tracy on ‘SuperFly’ was an exceptional opportunity that not only provided exemplary training and experience to youth across cultures, but built bridges between the Native community and their neighbors from cities across the USA. Today, Tracy’s new ‘4th World’ program continues that depth of intent, as we are proud to be working with her to fill the need for additional training for up-and-coming Native filmmakers,” said Dustin Kaspar, education director at SIFF.

Rounding off her admirable leadership throughout the communities of the Puget Sound, Rector currently sits as City of Seattle Arts Commissioner.

“My vision is to bring traditional and contemporary education together on a foundation based in environmental stewardship,” said Rector. As a monthly series, her ‘Indigenous Showcase’ program at the Northwest Film Forum also blends culture with community. She added, “The Indigenous Showcase program screens films made by Native Americans or in part supported by the Native American community.” Read more about Rector at www.longhousemedia.org and www.clearwaterstories.org.

Abby Dylan

Abby Dylan

With the growing number of actors and performers living and arriving to Seattle, ABBY DYLAN is a woman whose lengthy multi-decade experience in the industry has landed her passionate voice for actors at the top of the most prestigious organizations in show business. Dylan is an elected member of the SAG-AFTRA Board, where she serves as the National Chairman of the SAGIndie Committee and ViceChair of the Legislative Committee. In addition, she is also a director of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Board, and was appointed to serve on the Board of Washington Filmworks by both Governor Christine Gregoire and Governor Jay Inslee. In 2016, Dylan also was appointed to the Board of the SAG Foundation as their new secretary. For more, visit www.sagaftra.org, www.sagindie.org, and www.washingtonfilmworks.org.

Every spring, Seattle ushers in one of the biggest and longest-running city-wide events, the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Ranked as one of the top film festivals in the world, SIFF showcases over 450 films, shorts and documentaries from over 80 countries throughout a 25-day odyssey. BETH BARRETT, director of programming, spearheads the division along with her team of staffers and volunteers that help formulate the line-up and presentation of films each year. Barrett has been with SIFF since 2003, joining as an intern in communications and quickly moving along into the programming division. Over the course of her tenure, she has watched SIFF grow from 5 staff to now over 25 full-time staffers.

Programming essentially works with the incoming filmmakers each Beth Barrettyear, streamlines communication between programmers and watches hundreds of films leading up to the festival with the objective of bringing the best films they can find from around the world and our own region to screen in Seattle. To help local filmmakers from Washington State showcase their films on an international platform, SIFF offers a unique ‘Northwest Connections’ showcasing. “The program is designed to help elevate local filmmakers to international attention that essentially represent a microcosm of the work being done by Pacific Northwest artists with projects of all types of films, genres, styles and lengths,” Barrett said.

Her commitment to bring some of the best films from around the world made by women is a top priority while paying close attention to her final design of the festival’s programming. “It’s really important to me to have women from all around the world represented here at SIFF on an equal footing every year,” said Barrett.

Be sure to mark your calendars for May for this spectacular presentation of world cinema right here in Seattle by visiting www.siff.net for all the events, parties and screenings.

Recently winning the ‘Best TV Personality’ award put on by KING 5 in 2015, ANNY HAVLAND has been making a huge splash in the world of online empowerment through her uplifting reality TV/Web series called Talk It Up TV. Originally from Bellingham, Havland came to Seattle to explore more opportunities using her magical gift of connecting and inspiring others. In 2010, she co-founded and now produces her own series that boasts over 5,000 YouTube subscribers from all around the world.

Anny Havland

Anny Havland

Talk It Up TV is a new style of media that is reality TV at its best with a positive twist. Instead of reporting and highlighting negative tragedies, we share these real-life stories with our viewers and create a positive ending to each story with a shocking act of kindness that are unforgettable,” Havland said. Each episode is lined with a powerful, very uplifting and heartfelt message that offers a life-changing experience for the individual. Visit Havland online at www.talkituptv.com or by using the hashtag #tiuarmy.

One of Seattle’s most dynamic documentary filmmakers is ROSALIE MILLER. Her handful of films she has produced in just the last five years have screened at over 100 film festivals worldwide under her own banner, Wanderhouse Productions. Her independent production company focuses on producing micro-budget narrative and documentary projects with an emphasis on digital media production. The Wanderhouse website boasts: “We are dedicated to creative collaboration, compelling storytelling, and subject matter intended to inspire others.”

Rosalie Miller

Rosalie Miller

Miller’s resilient and fierce approach to the filmmaking process radiates wherever she goes with quite vocal and well-developed skills in pitching, fundraising and audience engagement. Her feature-length documentary Personhood (now in post-production), which documents the burgeoning personhood movement and the far-reaching impact of laws designed to protect the fetus, won both the Women in Film Seattle Professional Grant and the 2015 American Documentary Film Fund.

Aside from her work behind the camera, Miller is a member of SAG-AFTRA and is a well-known actress who has appeared in dozens of feature-length films, shorts, commercials and TV series in Washington State. Miller is currently in production on her next documentary, an intimate portrait piece about Seattle-based dance artist and drag queen, Jody Kuehner (aka Cherdonna Shinatra). Visit www.wanderhouseproductions.com and www.personhoodmovie.com for more.

Producer LEAH WARSHAWSKI has over a decade of experience in film and TV production. Warshawski has worked on some of TV’s biggest series, including Lost, Survivor and Alias. She recently wrapped her own feature-length documentary Big Sonia, which in 2015 won the prestigious $50,000 film grant award given annually by True Productions in partnership with the Seattle International Film Festival.

Leah Warshawski with her doc subject and grandmother, Sonia.

Leah Warshawski with her doc subject and grandmother, Sonia.

“The process of documentary filmmaking is becoming more about the films’ campaigns than just about the actual movie being made,” Warshawski said. “Big Sonia has been a story I’ve always wanted to tell about my own grandmother. So we decided early on to develop a nationwide campaign for major cities that would also educate and involve local communities around the country surrounding her story.”

Warshawski also is currently working with local filmmakers Jo Ardinger and Rosalie Miller on the doc Personhood as producer. “When Jo approached me to join the team, I just couldn’t say no because of the impact I knew this film would make on our communities and country,” she added. Her current projects can be found at www.bigsonia.com.

RYAN DAVIS is a professional film publicist, communications specialist and co-founder of Seattle’s Smarthouse Creative. With over 30 years of combined experience in film marketing, publicity, distribution, programming and exhibition, Smarthouse Creative helps filmmaking teams find their audiences and bring attention to their work during all phases of their projects, from fundraising to festivals to distribution. They also work with select film festivals, non-profits and startups to deliver digital strategy, publicity and audience engagement services to position clients at the forefront of their respective industries.

Ryan Davis

Ryan Davis

For over a decade, Davis has worked in nearly every aspect of the film business including documentary film producing, film festivals, distribution, exhibition and sales. She and Smarthouse have placed multiple projects on media platforms such as HBO, CNN, The
New York Times, newspapers and local radio. Independent film projects that Smarthouse has run PR/marketing on have screened all over the world. Prior to Smarthouse, Davis served as a marketing leader for multiple non-profit arts groups and organizations including the Northwest Film Forum and Northwest Folklife.

Smarthouse Creative gets Media Inc.’s vote for best local indie film PR & marketing firm! Visit  www.smarthousecreative.com.

If there is one woman creative in Seattle that personifies the fastest and hardest-working bird on earth—the hummingbird—it most certainly is producer/actor LORRAINE MONTEZ. For over a decade, Montez has appeared in over 20 films as an actress and over a dozen films as producer. She is known widely in the local film community for her unlimited amount of energy and drive she pours into her daily routine as a filmmaker, educator, mentor and actor.

Lorainne Montez

Lorainne Montez

After noticing that fewer roles were being offered in film and TV to more mature women as a performer in the local market, she took the initiative to begin writing and soon formed her own production company, Abundant Productions. “I strongly believe in the laws of attraction,” Montez said. “I wanted to create a company that would attract goodness, abundance and creativity.” A recent feature film she produced under her Abundant flagship, The Hollow One, was acquired by Raven Banner Entertainment for international and domestic distribution.

Montez has been a vocal and active member of Women in Film for many years and recently served as the marketing and communication chairwoman for WIF Seattle. As a producer who feels there needs to be a bigger pool of well-educated filmmakers in the art of marketing and producing skills, Montez also instructs a marketing and producing class at Shoreline Community College. She also heads up a monthly workshop called Abundant Creative Playground, a platform where writers and professional actors come together in an interactive creative setting to enhance literary material. It’s a process she calls “disrupting the writing process in a productive and unique way.” Find out more at www.abundantproductions.net.

Award-winning journalist MAUREEN FRANCISCO is a woman whose journey into the world of TV and media has been quite unique. After arriving from the Philippines as a young girl to Federal Way, Washington, she learned to speak English by watching the nightly news. Fascinated by The Oprah Winfrey Show, Francisco was quickly inspired to pursue a career in journalism, which led her to an early career working for major network affiliates (CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX) around the country as a news reporter after graduating from Pacific Lutheran University. Upon her return to the Puget Sound in 2004, Francisco continued her work in TV at Northwest Cable News.

Maureen Francisco

Maureen Francisco

By 2013, she joined her husband as co-executive producer of NW Productions. Their company produces live shows, including the Pacific Northwest qualifying events for the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants from Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington
States. “We coordinate and produce all of the events for both pageants in our region including doing the PR for our title holders and contestants under a separate division of NW Productions,” Francisco said. “We are in charge of procuring sponsors, selecting judges, screening contestants for eligibility requirements and finding our host venues.”

NW Productions also produces red carpet events, women empowerment workshops, and reality/talk show programming throughout the Puget Sound. Visit www.maureenfrancisco.com.

With 1 in every 10 Americans now using online dating services, the number of people looking for love online has never been greater. SUSIE LEE, CEO and founder of the dating app Siren, took things into her own hands a few years ago by creating an entirely new approach to the virtual world of online dating. “Our members set the tone of our community; we focus on connections that matter in a respectful space,” said Lee. “Siren is a platform where wit and personality shine.” Lee’s brainchild won the App of the Year by GeekWire in 2015, and recently landed an additional $500,000 in funding to help expand their 20,000 membership base and operations.

Susie Lee

Susie Lee

The app works quite differently than most apps, in that members receive a “Question of the Day” asked by artists and other types of creatives in the local community. The questions ignite conversations, which in turn promote members to uncover their true personalities organically, rather than with a generic profile and photo.

A graduate of Yale, Columbia and UW with degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, science education, and art, Lee uses her skills as a social sculptor to amplify humanity in technology. Her work has been collected by numerous institutions including the Denver Art Museum, Mitchell Center for the Arts, Frye Art Museum, and Crystal Bridges Museum of Art. For more, go to www.susiejlee.com.

We invite you to learn more about the women of influence within TV, film and media as we continue our coverage in our next issue, which will feature women from the state of Oregon.

Features writer Scott A. Capestany is an award-winning producer, educator and advocate for women in film. Visit him at www.capestanyfilms.com and all social media platforms @capestanyfilms. Email producer@capestanyfilms.com.

Scott and Ben_2015_HSFF

HollyShorts Film Festival welcomes Pacific Northwest Alliance!

Award Winning Seattle Filmmakers set to showcase films at the 2016 LA Hollyshorts Film Festival!

Seattle, WA — Media Inc has partnered with Hollyshorts Film Festival as their official press affiliate this year covering the events from the iconic TCL Theater and the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard Aug 11-20.

HollyShorts Film Festival announced last week the 3rd annual inclusion of  the “WA State Film Showcase” for their line-up of special film short screenings.  Hosted at the iconic Grauman’s  Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard and other LA venues (The Roosevelt Hotel, Harmony Gold Theater, OHM Nighclub, Ignited Spaces, Avenue 17 Studios, 33 Taps and Redbury Hollywood), the 12th annual Hollyshorts Film Festival will be featuring works from 400+Indie Film shorts from around the world during a week long odyssey between Aug 11-20 packed with of screenings, conferences, parties, panels, workshops and special events.  Nearly 3000 films from every continent were submitted this year.

Ben Andrews and David S. Hogan

Ben Andrews and David S. Hogan

Pacific NW production companies Evil Slave (ES), Abundant Productions (AP), Mighty Tripod Productions (MTP), Modern Motion (MM) and Capestany Films (CF) will be featuring works from PNW Filmmakers.    Headlining the showcase will be the World Premier of 2015 Award Winning Hollyshorts screenplay “The Lunchbox Brigade”.  Produced  collectively by Lorraine Montez, Ben Andrews, David S. Hogan, Marissa Fujimoto, Ryan Wagenhauser and Christopher Meuer,  this warm and adventurous coming of age tale featured over WA state with a cast and crew filmed entirely in the Evergreen State.

The Lunchbox Brigade follows a neighborhood squadron of kids that discovers their brother-in-arms, Johnny, has gone to camp for the summer. They determine a rescue is in order, and together they embark on an antic-filled plan to infiltrate enemy territory (aka summer camp) and free their friend. But when their leader, Teddy, discovers that Johnny actually wants to be at camp, he must lead the Lunchbox Brigade in a touching tribute to the loss of one of theirown.Media Inc Roosevelt party banner

Casted by David S. Hogan of Mighty Tripod Productions, the local talent included Kyan Zielinski as Teddy, Forrest Campbell as Bugsy, Malakai James as Logan, Kristoffer Holtan as Clyde, Eden Campbell as Sue and Alex Silva as Johnny.  “I had a great time casting the talent for this great film.  The amount of talent we saw during the auditions was very impressive.  The kids that were ultimately cast are some of the region’s best young performers I’ve seen,” said Hogan.   

Hollyshorts is listed by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the “top 25 festivals worth the entry fee,” HollyShorts awards the winner of the screenplay competition with an automatic entry in the following year’s festival.

Seattle-based producer and filmmaker Ben Andrews, creative director of Evil Slave, recognized an opportunity to create a strong alliance of filmmakers from Seattle, Tacoma and Los Angeles when he met the HollyShorts leadership early in 2014 at SXSW. “It happened pretty quickly,” said Andrews. “I discussed the need to highlight Washington filmmakers and they discussed the need to expand and further their outreach.”

“It’s truly an honor to see our dreams becoming a reality, having our esteemed HollyShorts Screenplay competition winner Kyle Thiele get his short made via our partners Evil Slave, Abundant Productions and Mighty Tripod Productions along with Shoreline Community College’s Filmmaking Department,” said Theo Dumont and Daniel Sol, HollyShorts co-founders. “This alliance truly signifies the new pathway between the Pacific Northwest and Hollywood, a bridge that creates incredible opportunities across the board for filmmakers everywhere and we are delighted to be involved.”

Lorainne Montez

Lorainne Montez

Pacific Northwest producer Scott A. Capestany, Creative Director at Capestany Films, has sponsored and supported this new alliance and movement since its inception. “We are proud sponsors of the HollyShort film festival each year in support of Ben Andrews’ efforts in helping bridge the gap between the L.A. indie film market and our local market,” he said. “His resilient efforts have helped open up new relationships between Puget Sound businesses and Hollywood decision makers that support the growth of our Washington State economy and our vibrant film/TV local industry.”ATP Blue poster_HS laurel

Capestany’s latest film “Across The Pond” starring University of Washington alum and now Hollywood writer/producer/actor PARIS DYLAN, was selected to screen during this years WA Film showcase.  “It was an honor and privilege to have worked with such a great team on this film. Pulp Digital Productions really pulled out all the stops and delivered an impressive film.   Rene (Bourke) really worked hard leading us all for over a year to make this film come to reality,” Dylan said.  “I’m so proud of our amazing team, Pulp Digital Productions, Paris Dylan, and special mention to Capestany Films for their consulting, guidance, and marketing expertise to see this film through to showcased in the worlds entertainment capital of Hollywood at this prestigious Hollyshorts Film Festival.” Said Executive Producer and lead actress Renee Bourke.  Also supporting the 2016 Hollyshorts Alliance are industry leaders Terri Morgan of TCM MODELS and Peter Barnes of  CLATTER & DIN, Inc.Hollyshorts 2016

“I’m honored to be the winner of the 2015 Screenplay competition with HollyShorts and am impressed with the professional caliber of the Pacific Northwest filmmakers producing the short,” said Thiele, writer and director of The LunchBox Brigade.

The 12th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival and Film Conference/Film Market is scheduled for August 11-20, 2016 at the world famous TCL Chinese Theatres.  The WA State Film Showcase will take place August 14, 2016 from 10am-2pm followed by an Abundant Playhouse special screenwriting event.   MEDIA INC MAGAZINE will host a special kickoff event at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel Saturday August 13th from 7-10pm. RSVP HERE.  Visit www.hollyshorts.com for more information. Hollyshorts on Twitter and Instagram

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Ashland Named A Best Place to Live and Work as a Filmmaker by MovieMaker Magazine for Third Year in a Row

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By Ginny Auer Executive Director, Southern Oregon Film and Media (SOFaM)
Photo by Sean Bagshaw

When thinking of Ashland, most people’s minds go to the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the powder atop the slopes of Mt. Ashland or the many local wineries and breweries. But after a third year in a row on the list of best places to live and work as a filmmaker in MovieMaker Magazine, Ashland’s reputation as a filmmaking hub is solid as well.

Ashland was recognized by MovieMaker Magazine as the #2 Town to Live and Work as a MovieMaker in the nation for 2014, and then was honored with a bump to #1 in January of 2015! In 2016, MovieMaker changed the criteria for the award to combine small cities and towns. Ashland beat out film hubs with populations of more than 150,000 and more robust incentive packages, ranking at #5 on the list this year. How is it that this small town of 20,000 is getting such accolades? MovieMaker cited “a bustling culinary scene, a no-big box store policy (and no state sales tax!), film festivals, independent theaters and a super-supportive film organization called Southern Oregon Film and Media (SOFaM).”

SOFaM supports the local film industry by promoting the region to both local and out-of-area producers, and works to connect productions with local film professionals, actors, equipment and resources via its online directory. With its large database and deep reach across the entire region, SOFaM is a great place to start for any film or media project.

In recent years, Ashland has shown up on big and small screens quite a bit. Wild, with Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon, featured the downtown area, as well as nearby sections of the scenic Pacific Crest Trail. Ashland was also seen in Night Moves with Jesse Eisenberg and then again in the locally-produced independent film Black Road. Companies like Hewlett-Packard and even John Deere are finding Southern Oregon a great place to film.

Ashland has a film-friendly community, with low- to no-cost permits, strong state incentives, no sales tax and unexpectedly large numbers of filmmakers, technicians, equipment, support services and on-screen talent.

And then there are the kinds of resources you don’t expect to find in a town this size. Beyond the talented performers that join the Oregon Shakespeare Festival each year, OSF’s costume rental shop is just as impressive. The shop is the size of a football field with costumes from nearly every era, and it regularly rents to theaters, film and TV productions across the country, including Saturday Night Live.

Ashland is in the center of a filmmaker’s goldmine. Southern Oregon boasts a unique and beautiful coastline, high desert to the east, and many small towns with a host of unique venues for shooting. Medford, situated at the heart of the region, is the location of an airport with direct flights to and from Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Salt Lake City and Phoenix. When taken as a whole, the MovieMaker designation of Ashland as a best place to live and be a filmmaker really applies to all of Southern Oregon.

Cameras are rolling in Southern Oregon like never before and SOFaM extends an invitation for new and returning filmmakers to join in and see what all the buzz is about!

Leaving the Stage Behind: Adapting a Play for the Big Screen

 

IMG_7210Director Bret Fetzer brought the one-man monologue My Last Year With the Nuns to moviegoers with great acclaim. He reflects on his experience in this essay.

By Bret Fetzer
Photos by John Jeffcoat

Making a movie is like running an obstacle course, and the first obstacle in the path of My Last Year With the Nuns was obvious: I was crafting a film out of Seattle performer Matt Smith’s theatrical
monologue — one man talking for an hour and a half. While there are several successful films of someone alone on a stage talking, they’re mostly stand-up comedy, not long-form storytelling. Moreover, I didn’t want to just document a stage performance; I wanted to find a way to make this experience cinematic.

There were three examples I could think of: Spalding Gray’s Gray’s Anatomy, Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk With Me, and Josh Kornbluth’s Haiku Tunnel.

 Director Bret Fetzer brought his one-man monologue from stage to screen.

Director Bret Fetzer brought Matt Smith’s (pictured here) one-man monologue from stage to screen.

Both Sleepwalk With Me and Haiku Tunnel tried to create a kind of hybrid movie, going back and forth between a typical multi-character scenario and the central character talking directly to the camera. But neither one quite gels, largely because in a monologue, a significant event can happen in a single sentence; but when you turn that monologue into a multi-character narrative, that event has to be a scene that can’t match the wit and concision of that sentence. The strongest elements of both movies were when Birbiglia and Kornbluth turned to the camera and talked. This convinced me it was crucial to stick to that.

Gray’s Anatomy is a more interesting case. Like Swimming to Cambodia and Monster in a Box, Gray’s Anatomy stuck to Gray’s monologue, but director Steven Soderbergh took Gray off the stage into a variety of odd settings—the one I remember most has Gray in a chair on some kind of conveyor belt, moving slowly across the screen. The result is visually intriguing, but doesn’t do much to support Gray’s voice; in fact, I’d argue the visuals work against the rhythm of the storytelling—and in storytelling, rhythm is crucial.IMG_7423

So I wanted to make the camera as nimble and fluid as Matt’s words. Matt talks about kids he grew up with, and the nuns and priests who made their lives difficult, but his stories are just as much about places: The shack where the newspaper boys played and fought, the church where Matt was a negligent altar boy, the ravine where secrets were kept and runaways hid, the classroom where a spelling bee became a tool of punishment. So I decided to make these places as significant as other actors would be.

Almost every time Matt’s stories shift to a new location, so does the movie—sometimes multiple times within each episode. These locations not only frame the stories (or perhaps “ground them” would be a better way to put it), but the shift from setting to setting gives the movie a visual rhythm that’s in sync with Matt’s verbal rhythms. I hoped the effect would be lively, playful, and perhaps give the audience the sense that they were entering into Matt’s memories as he told these stories. The reviews of My Last Year With the Nuns suggest that I succeeded in leaving the stage behind.

My Last Year With the Nuns is currently available via Vimeo-On-Demand at www.mylastyearwiththenuns.com.

Bret Fetzer has been writing screenplays, plays, and short stories for over 30 years. His plays have been produced around the U.S., as well as a production in Chile. His short stories have been published in a variety of literary magazines and collected in Petals & Thorns and Tooth & Tongue. He’s written film reviews for Seattle Weekly, The Stranger, and Amazon.com. He has been the Artistic Director of Annex Theatre, the theater editor for The Stranger, and a vacuum cleaner salesman for the Kirby Company. He wrote the narration for the documentary Le Petomane: Fin-de-siecle Fartiste. He has previously directed a handful of short films; My Last Year With the Nuns is his feature-film debut.

Eugene Film Fest Celebrates 10 Years

Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy introduces The American Gandhi team at EIFF 2015. Photo by Mike/SUSMI Global.

Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy introduces The American Gandhi team at EIFF 2015. Photo by Mike/SUSMI Global.

By Mike Dilley Executive Director, Eugene International Film Festival

The Eugene International Film Festival celebrated its 10th season with the world premiere screening of The American Gandhi, starring James Patrick Stuart (All My Children, Still Standing, Monsters vs. Angels). The EIFF has celebrated filmmaking with awards, receptions, workshops and networking with celebrity mentors throughout its first decade.

Hosting the red carpet gala, premiere and VIPs associated with the making of The American Gandhi was a fitting tribute to the pluck it takes to bring a story to the screen. Producer Hari Ghadia was presented with the festival trophy for Best Film in the 2015 Eugene International Film Festival. The film was also awarded at the EIFF with the Best Cinematography award for its locations and sets used in filming. “I would like to thank the jury of EIFF for this award. We hope to start a global conversation about illegal mining with this inspirational story,” said Ghadia, while accepting the award.

Guests from as far away as McMurdo Station, Antarctica, and Melbourne, Australia, have joined with others from across North America and Europe to enjoy the camaraderie of the festival, wineries, brewpubs, river paths, bicycling, and easily accessible locations such as the Oregon Coast.

James Patrick Stuart starred in The American Gandhi, and attended the festival in Eugene. Image courtesy of SUSMI Global.

James Patrick Stuart starred in The American Gandhi, and attended the festival in Eugene. Image courtesy of SUSMI Global.

It is no stretch of the imagination that the screenplay for The American Gandhi originated in Eugene, a region that many in world arts call home. There is something about the quality of life that makes people creative.

Director and co-writer Joseph Mungra is no exception. He has created a number of independent films, shooting within the region, in Hollywood, Greece and now India. Joining him in creating The American Gandhi were area residents Kale Dawes (co-author and sound design) and casting director Linda Burden-Williams.

In The American Gandhi, Mark Martin (James Patrick Stuart), an experienced mining analyst, is hired by his billionaire friend Brad Harrison (Jim Storm, The Bold and the Beautiful) to manage and upgrade rare earth metal mines in India. Confident, but naive, Mark finds himself on the horns of a dilemma. Does he cater to rampant police corruption and blatant disregard for the law, or follow his conscience? No matter the choice, he will pay a price.

SEATTLE FILMMAKER TAKES HOME $25,000 GRANT

Ahead of Film Independent’s annual Spirit Awards, to be held at the end of the month, the organization recently announced the recipients of three awards, each accompanied by a $25,000 grant.

One recipient was Seattle filmmaker Mel Eslyn, who received the Piaget Producers Award, honoring “emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films.”

Mel has produced such projects as The One I Love, Touchy Feely and Your Sister’s Sister, among many others.  One of her latest projects,  The Intervention, recently premiered at Sundance.

Congratulations, Mel!

To read the full article, click here.

Portland documentarian Beth Harrington.

The Winding Stream Gets Theatrical Release

Portland documentarian Beth Harrington.

Portland documentarian Beth Harrington.

By Mary Erickson Associate Editor
Photos courtesy of Beth Harrington Productions

Beth Harrington’s idea for a music documentary about the legendary Carter-Cash family had been percolating for a while. She wanted to focus on the musical family that heavily influenced—and arguably started—American country music. A.P., Sara and Maybelle Carter recorded their first songs in 1927, starting the legacy that included June Carter Cash, Johnny Cash, and Rosanne Cash.Winding Stream poster

A linchpin in the film would be the inclusion of Johnny Cash. As it became clear that Cash’s health was rapidly declining, Harrington realized, “If Johnny Cash was going to be in the film, I’d have to get on it.” She started shooting in 2003, and recorded Cash’s last on-camera interview. Thus began the production for The Winding Stream —The Carters, The Cashes and the Course of Country Music.

The odyssey that marked the film’s production hinted at the changing conditions of the film industry. The fundraising world for documentaries was shrinking, and it became tougher to find money to finance the film. “I spent a long period in the wilderness as nothing happened financially,” recalled Harrington. It was clear that the film’s music licensing fees would be prohibitive, but Harrington persevered, and the film finally premiered at SXSW in 2014. Since then, the film has played in dozens of festivals around the world, winning multiple awards.

Now, 18 months later, the film is getting its theatrical release. Working with Argo Pictures of New York, Harrington is ready to share the work of promoting an independent film. “I’m loving the fact that someone else is getting the film out there,” she said. The film will open on a market-by-market basis, visiting key cities across the country in event-style screenings. The first stop was Portland, Oregon, on September 17, with additional screenings in Seattle, Tacoma, Ashland, Los Angeles, and elsewhere.

Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.

Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.

Harrington has ventured into the world of ancillary merchandise to accompany and support the film. The musical legacy of the Carter-Cash family will be available as a soundtrack to be released in October 2015 by Omnivore Recordings. Harrington published an oral history of the Carter-Cash family in book form, also called The Winding Stream.

Harrington will continue to focus on The Winding Stream for the next year, attending as many of the screenings as possible. “This is my job,” she said. “We’ve received such positive responses. The critics love it. Audiences love it. I owe it to the film.”

The Carter family on Border Radio.

The Carter family on Border Radio.

The Winding Stream opened on September 17 at Portland’s Hollywood Theatre, followed by screenings in Seattle for the Northwest Film Forum’s Local Sightings Festival on September 28, and at Tacoma’s Grand Cinema on September 29. More information about the film is available at www.thewindingstream.com.

Homecoming stars Lauren Bowles and Victoria Smurfit.

Homecoming Finishes Production in Portland

Homecoming stars Lauren Bowles and Victoria Smurfit.

Homecoming stars Lauren Bowles and Victoria Smurfit.

By Mary Erickson Associate Editor   
Photos courtesy of Radar Pictures

After attending a screenwriting workshop at Santa Rosa Community College, Portland-based clinical audiologist Christi Sperry and her sister-in-law Sarah Hehman set out to write a full script. They wanted it to be good, with a compelling story and realistic characters.

“We didn’t expect it to turn into anything,” Sperry comments.

Then, in early 2015, one friend offered to invest in the film production and another friend introduced them to director/producer Paul Kampf. Fast-forward four months, and the film, titled Homecoming, started shooting in Portland.

Homecomingdirector Paul Kampf with DP Rene Jung.

Homecomingdirector Paul Kampf with DP Rene Jung.

A female-driven story, Homecoming follows a 40-something couple who has moved to a new city for the husband’s dream job. The wife, lonely and a little naïve, meets wealthy suburban alpha moms in the community and gets sucked into a life of backstabbing and Botox.

It’s a story that resonates with women, and demonstrates the writers’ commitment to featuring strong female voices. “There’s a need in cinema for more female voices,” says Sperry. One crewmember commented to her during production, “It’s exciting to have so many strong women on set. I don’t often see that.”

Filming in Portland was particularly appealing, given the filmmakers’ connections to the city. Sperry lives there, as does the film’s executive producer. “We were able to use a lot of resources here and call on favors for locations,” says Sperry.Homecoming Lauren Bowles Victoria Smurfit 2

“One of the great things about Portland,” says Hehman, “is the universality of the city. It has so many different neighborhoods that feel like different places. The city of Portland conjures up other places.”

Director Paul Kampf agrees. “One of the reasons why TV productions are rushing up here is that Portland has the diverse look of five cities in one. It’s like a living film set.”

Sperry and Hehman were on set every day during the film’s 21-day shoot, their first introduction to working on a production. “It was very exciting and intense and amplified,” says Sperry.Homecoming director Paul Kampf

They were awed at the level of collaboration that goes into making a film. “When you give your script over,” says Hehmen, “it’s amazing to see how many people’s thoughts contribute to the film. Each person gleaned something from the script to bring it to life.”

Homecoming has entered post-production now, with the festival circuit in mind once the film is completed. In the meantime, Sperry and Hehman have co-written another script and have a treatment for a third. They are each also continuing to pursue their careers, Sperry as a clinical pediatric audiologist and Hehman as co-owner of Favery, an online jewelry and accessories boutique.

Kampf is also working on other projects. His experience in Portland on Homecoming was so positive that he’s hoping to line up two more independent feature projects to film in Oregon.

“You can’t quantify the people up there,” he says. “They’re so great to work with.”

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Lundgrens Release Black Road

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Duo’s Third Movie Filmed in Southern Oregon

Utilizing a vast array of locations, including beaches, mountains, rivers, lakes, restaurants, retirement communities, universities, a minor league ballpark, city streets, campgrounds, redwoods, winding roads, and the Great Cats World Park, Gary and Anne Lundgren have leveraged the beautiful landscape and ease of shooting in Southern Oregon on three feature films.

Gary and Anne Lundgren.

Gary and Anne Lundgren.

Their third feature, the sci-fi thriller Black Road, starring Sam Daly, will be in theaters in October 2015. In addition to great locations, the film benefited from partnerships with members of the Southern Oregon community, including Brammo Electric Motorcycles, the Neuman Hotel Group and multiple local restaurants and equipment houses.

The Lundgrens have always been drawn to the area. In 2007, they traveled from Los Angeles to film their first feature, Calvin Marshall (starring Steve Zahn). This college-aged baseball film was shot at Southern Oregon University and Harry & David’s impressive, professional-sized baseball field.IMG_1739sm

After a great experience with local crews and locations, the Lundgrens moved their production company, Joma Films, to Ashland permanently.

In 2012, they made Redwood Highway, the story of a 75-year-old woman walking alone for 80 miles between Grants Pass and the coast. It was filmed at over 40 locations in 19 days across 200 miles and 4 counties. The ease of navigating Southern Oregon with minimal traffic and supportive communities made the arduous schedule a possibility.

The Lundgrens’ third film, Black Road, is set in the State of Jefferson, the mythical joining of Northern California and Southern Oregon. It was filmed completely in the Rogue Valley and on the beach at Arcadia Vacation Rentals between Brookings and Gold Beach.

In October, the Lundgrens are embarking on a screening tour through Oregon to show Black Road to their fans and to the communities that participated in the filming.IMG_6683

“The community has been incredibly supportive,” says producer Anne Lundgren, who also worked as the Ashland location manager and liaison between the city and the production company for the 2013 production of Wild. “We love living and making movies here. We have a talented crew we’ve worked with for many years. The people are great, the crews are professional, the landscape is beautiful, the light is perfect, and the clouds billow. There are plenty of great local restaurants and hotels to house guests due to the strong tourism industry. The community is supportive, the locations are accessible, varied and numerous. And people are still proud that movies are made in their town. It’s a wonderful place to raise our family, and we plan to make movies here for many years to come.”

Join the Southern Oregon ranks of working filmmakers or come enjoy what the region has to offer for a few months while you shoot your next feature!

For more information about filming in Southern Oregon, please visit Southern Oregon Film & Media (SOFaM) at www.filmsouthernoregon.org.