Category Archives: Television

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 innovation 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 in the entertainment space.

Congratulations to these outstanding women from the Pacific Northwest, and be sure to look for part two of this story, which will feature women in film from Los Angeles, 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.

Danette Leighton

PAC-12 CMO Danette Leighton – Innovation and Excellence

Scott A. Capestany

Editor In Chief – Scott A. Capestany

March 2017- Seattle, WA

As the PAC-12 Woman’s NCAA basketball tournament unfolded this Spring at the Key Arena, Media Inc Magazine got a chance to sit down with two quite extraordinary PAC-12 conference executives whom together lead the nation’s most impressive linear and digital broadcast entities – the PAC-12 Network.  As part one of our two part featured ‘Women In sports’ coverage of the NCAA Women’s PAC-12 Conference tournament, we first caught up with first with the Chief Marketing Officer – DANETTE LEIGHTON.

Leighton, whom was appointed the first ever CMO in the history of the conference by commissioner Larry Scott , returned to the PAC-12 in 2010 after cutting her teeth with some of the biggest organizations in professional sports, the WNBA, NBA and Sony Sports.  Prior to her meteoric rise in the world of sports marketing as an executive, Leighton had a long-standing connection to the conference since graduating from the PAC-10’s (at the time) University of Arizona in 1993.

She realized this unique passion and connection to the world of sports and the now the PAC-12, suited her well when the call came from conference commissioner LARRY SCOTT to execute his elaborate vision to re-brand and enhance the conferences already impressive tradition of excellence.

Q: Tell us about your journey to the PAC-12 Conference & Network and the brands evolution to where it is today.

I’m a product of the PAC-10 (the former name of the PAC-12 before Colorado and Utah joined in 2011) where my father played baseball at UCLA and I went to Arizona so pretty much grew up in this league.  So, when I came back seven years ago, I already had a very strong passion for what this brand is and was.  I believe a brand is truly built on its genuine and authentic pillars that exist.  So, my job when I came on board was to really find the ones that differentiated us and start to “pound our chest”, so to speak, but to do it in a way to always be humble.

One of the first things I worked on with our commissioner, Larry Scott, where he was already well down a path of doing an overview of where the brand was and where we needed to go, was to examine the Pac-10 brand that we had and to fortify and strengthen the conferences three very strong brand pillars.  Innovation, geography and excellence.   Geographically speaking, it wasn’t only about the beauty of the mountains, deserts and ocean that made our regional footprint unique, but dating back to the covered wagons pilgrimage to the west coast, it represented a time where Americans moving west carried with them an innovative mindset and looking for a better way of life.

The history of our twelve Universities were each built on the foundations of this great academic success but through a very modern and progressive point of view.  Our strength of being on the west coast really tailored well into the innovation brand pillar we believe is so unique to us.  Blending three very innovative communities in our geographic footprint you can think about entertainment in Hollywood, the Pacific Northwest and Silicon Valley which is our biggest differentiator when you look at us across the landscape of sports compared to other conferences.  Our third pillar of excellence reflects our long and distinguished history of dominance within athletics.  Entering our 101 year of existence, we hold the most NCAA titles than any conference and what makes it so amazing we are currently at 493 national titles where our next closest counterpart is roughly half of that.  We not only have the dominance of the national titles, but we also have a strong Olympic success as well for both men and women.  I believe we made up roughly 80% of team USA which, if we were a country, we would have finished fifth in the overall medal count. Which complemented our progressive mindset of always offering these types of opportunities to both men and women and really value the importance of them.

So, one of my primary roles since I have arrived was tell the stories of these 7000+ student athletes that make up our PAC-12 through these distinguishable and long standing traditions in both athletics and academics.

Q: What experiences from your prior endeavors have helped you enhance the PAC-12 brand.

When I worked with the Monarchs of the WNBA managing the business side of things, I learned how to be scrappy, innovative and mindful of modest business operations and initiatives.  While working with the Kings of the NBA under the great commissioner of David Stern, I had the honor to work with some very dynamic owners who allowed me to work autonomously which Commissioner Scott has supported and embraced with my current position here at the Pac-12.  What I learned most was how different the two brands were and how to market to uniquely different to the men and women fan base of each of the organizations which has helped me tremendously here with the Pac-12.

Q: Tell us more about the creation of the PAC-12 Network.

One of the most impressive and innovative ideas that my commissioner Larry Scott conceived since my arrival has been the creation of the Pac-12 Network.  For the first time in conference history fans can experience LIVE linear and digital broadcasts of over 850 games across multiple platforms and multiple sports.  Where before the TV coverage was very minimal and nearly non-existent with many women sports.  We now LIVE stream our all our basketball press conferences on Facebook live and utilize multiple platforms like Twitter and Instagram to engage our fans around the world.

The network also has enhanced the relationship between student-athletes, fans and families.  Where some live quite far away from their kids and now have the technology to watch and experience their kid sporting events.  Not to mention how the network has helped and complimented the recruiting component allowing high schools coaches from around the county to watch incoming student-athletes.

Q:  What is the most exciting part of your job.

I love being a part of a team and leading a great group of humans. I think it’s very important to believe in what your organization stands for in terms of personal and cultural standpoint.  Although I feel very strong about our brand and our 12 universities, the role that I love so much is experiencing events like this one here in Seattle, the PAC-12 Conference Championship tournament.   I feel very lucky that my team gets to touch everything and experience it.   I value the autonomy commissioner Scott gives me to execute his vision every day at my job.

The one thing that impressed me the most in chatting with Danette was her fierce passion and genuine love she has for her Pac-12 team she works with every day.   But most impressively, her innovative vision she has reflecting her commissioners most impressive creative to date – the Pac-12 Networks.

Scott PGA BEst1

Media Inc Magazine appoints Scott A. Capestany Editor-In-Chief

In an aggressive move by Media Inc Publishing, one of the longest running print publication companies in the Pacific Northwest with over 25 publications, General Manager of the group John Rusnak announced the appointment of Award Winning Film Producer and Indie Film business executive Scott A. Capestany to helm Media Inc Magazine as its new Editor-In-Chief.

Long before the internet, the publication began in the late 1980s as the sole media+film resource and news platform to complement the growing indie film scene in the Seattle, WA market and also to keep its readers up on film festival news, regional film productions and also help production crews members to find jobs.   Over the years, the publication circulated among a regional footprint throughout the Pacific Northwest stretching from Seattle to Portland and Eastern Washington as a well known staple among cinephites.

Early in 2015, Capestany was commissioned by the publication to write a few editorials on the current landscape of Film/TV productions in the region. His cover story “TOP influential Women in Film and Media in WA State” gained the attention of Indie Film communities that quickly led to multiple partnerships with film festivals, businesses and organizations whose mission statements supported spearheading Women In Film, gender equality and diversity throughout Hollywood.   “We are very excited to see Scott take this publication into the 21st century and look forward to seeing his new vision enhance the publications reach and growth”, said Rusnak.  MI Publishing ownership said they were quite confident in Scott’s abilities to carry the torch of the magazine and has no doubt his choice as the successor will bring exciting new content, readers and partnerships around the world for the first time in the company’s history.

Soon after taking the reigns of the magazine, Capestany invited trusted film industry colleague, film financier and Producers Guild of America member ANNE MARIE GILLEN into the fold to further support him in his quest to promote and connect with emerging and high profile Women in Film.  “Scott’s resilience and drive over the years and watching him grow as a reputable player in the business was more than enough to join his team.” Gillen said.  “Scott is quickly evolving into one of Hollywood’s premier Impact Producers.  His explosive energy, ability to quickly formulate partnerships across industry platforms and communicate with the new digital age filmmakers and players is impressive”.

We got a chance to sit down with our new fearless leader to share with us his vision for the future of MI Magazine.

MI:  Congrat’s on your new appointment!  Seems things are coming full circle for you as a writer and journalist.

Scott A. Capestany:  Seems so.  Having been a writer for many years, I’ve had the thought in the back of my mind that someday running a magazine might be something I could really get excited about.  So when the ownership group approached me, the timing just happened to be perfect.  I’m eager to focus my attention this year in building a new team that will support and stand behind the new branding of the publication including my ongoing advocacy for Women In Film and diversity within the creative space.  Another component I’m excited about is adding a sports and artist lifestyle segment to the publication that highlights the explosive new media growth in the entertainment space.  With the ambition to eventually offer more of an international publication online to compliment and grow our regional print publication from its original roots in the Pacific Northwest.  

MI:  So writing and reporting has always been in your blood.

SAC:  Absolutely.  It all started when my High School journalism teacher a million years ago recognized my love for writing that he recommended me to our local city newspaper to do a weekly editorial for them called “man on the street”.  It involved me engaging with local town folk and asking them questions on current world affairs.  During that time, I would spend many days after school in the photography dark room developing photos I took for both the towns paper and our own school newspaper as the schools sports editor.   I wrote my first college editorial for the UW Daily in 1988 about the doping scandal of Ben Johnson of Canada in the Olympics that quickly got me phone call by the head track coach Ken Shannon to congratulate me on standing up for the sport.  I thought I was getting kicked off the team when he called me in! lol  Coming full circle to the last 10 years, I was the first Seattle based indie producer to create, host and produce a local TV sports show for local cable TV before streaming was available.  Luckily for me it was a smash hit and found myself court-side at the biggest pro and college sporting events covering their “not so mainstream” athletes and unique stories surrounding the leagues and organizations.  I call them the hidden jem stories.   So yes, this appointment truly circumvents my full love and passion for people, writing, movies and sports.    

MI:  How did you get involved in the Film/TV business?

SAC:  Well, shortly after attending a Sundance Film Festival around 1999, I found myself drawn to the energy of this extraordinary tribe of creatives called ‘Indie Filmmakers’.  They all thought much like me…outside the box..bucking traditional ways of creating and presenting visual arts.  I found a way to apply my business background I learned in my 20s and early 30s to this newly discovered world of brilliant creative artists.  I knew that I had something to offer the indie film world both as a writer, creator and most importantly someone who could connect and educate these creatives on the ‘business’ components of the industry.   Unfortunately, there is a very low number of indie filmmakers that know much about the business side of the industry.  It’s mostly all about art and expression for them.  So the timing was perfect for me when I arrived into the scene.   

 

MI:  How would you describe what is taking place in the current landscape of Film/TV production?

SAC:  I call it the ‘Perfect Storm’ with the three most important  components converging simultaneously and changing so rapidly. Technology, creativity and consumption.  I’d say 80% of the people my age gave up in this business because of the lighting speed technology and the time it takes to develop and foster professional relationships.  You can now pitch a complete stranger in a hotel lobby after a conference and within days they are investing in your endeavor and doing business with you.  Technology has helped bridge the gap of uncertainty in our business. I’m glad I stuck around for this amazing moment in time.  The growth curve for many these days is too much to stay on top of, thus they drop out and revert back to archaic business models that no longer work in the modern world.   Thanks to getting my first computer in 1981 for Christmas,  I’ve always been a “techie” kind of guy that’s had a computer and cell phone for 30+ years and stays on top of the new digital landscape.  People laugh at me texting 40 words a minute with one hand on an airplane, but it’s they way the world works.  I get more done on my cell phone and tablet in a few days than most can do in two weeks.  Especially when it comes to engaging decision makers at the studio and network level as they mostly are in their 30s and grew up on their phones.  So I speak their language quite well.  Applying and harnessing the latest technology in my industry with at my fingertips daily allows me to navigate the terrain with ease and lightning speed accuracy.  Today’s landscape of film making truly is a manifestation of what I imagined it could become when I was a kid and young business professional in the 90s.  Most everything the imagination conceives in the story telling word can be produced on screen for worldwide audiences.     

MI:   What are some of your strategies you use as a producer?

SAC:  For me, it’s about connecting with people first, building those relationships with integrity and transparency then providing a win-win scenarios for our investors, filmmakers and creative artists.    Secondly, everything we touch and interact with now must be seamless among all parties involved using digital technology.  I’ve always been a big “techie” and happy to say we’ve finally arrived in this industry to fully utilize the latest technology to streamline our work as creatives.   As filmmakers, our industry is all about three things – relationships, timing and money. Understanding and applying these three vital components strategically have always been my cornerstones of my producing endeavors.  The new look and feel of MI Magazine will reflect these dynamic changes taking place in the entertainment space and the world of storytelling from an Indie producers viewpoint.  Our publications clients will be apart of all our new interactive events we will be hosting regionally, nationally and internationally in the coming years.  We have partnered with numerous film festivals/organizations as their media affiliate that helps connect filmmakers with the world both digitally and through our print publications.  With the current explosion of digital storytelling platforms that now allow everyone the equal opportunity to collaborate together in real time and express themselves creatively to the world, it’s literally a dream come true for me a filmmaker and journalist to be working in such an exciting time connecting the two worlds!  

MI:  What type of Producer are you?  Creative or Business?

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Scott A. Capestany pitching ‘My silent Voice’ on stage at the VARIETY Faith Based Film Summit. He was 1 of 12 selected from around the world.

SAC:  My approach to producing involves working on both sides of the creative process effectively and efficiently.  Over the course of my professional career, I’ve worked in and around a wide array of industries I absolutely Love.  I’ve worked in the communications, hospitality, sports and entertainment sectors both in front of the camera (as a TV Host), on a playing field (athlete) and in a boardroom orchestrating business deals.  They all have involved me producing something that encompasses team building and leadership.  Producing is all about captivating an audience of business professionals, being effective in the pitch and then ultimately getting things done.  This requires a tremendous amount of courage and confidence. You have to be brave and a pioneer with your own vision and ambition.  What drives me the most as a producer is that I’m curious about everything. I have always been one who comes up with quite profound and elaborate ideas and always seems to find a way to pull those thoughts and ideas together.  That’s what a film producer does.  He/she is the visionary and ultimate pitch person to the plethora of people and teams they mobilize.   Making an immediate impact in the first 10 seconds of a pitch, presentation or conversation is the key to success as a producer.   With the new digital age now impacting the entire scope and spectrum of the filmmaking process, I primarily refer to myself as an ‘Impact Producer’ with an Executive Producer credit on my projects. 

“When Scott walks in the room to pitch and talk business it’s like an explosion of engaging ideas and business initiatives that all lead to intelligent and practical revenue and creative streams of brilliance”, Says his Producer Anne Marie Gillen.

MI:  Define an impact producer.

For me,  an Impact producer is someone who can successfully create, implement and execute an explosive campaign for individuals or a team (In my case – filmmakers) that needs to devise multiple audience impact strategies.  Using a passionate spirit as the primary fuel cell.  He/She is a master fundraiser and lead for these campaigns and can effectively secure key partners, affiliates and execute or oversee  all the campaign stages simultaneously (social media, marketing, PR, fundraising, film festival tour and screenings strategies, etc.) and evaluating the level of overall audience engagement across all platforms.  Before, during and after the project has been completed.    

MI:  What other projects are you involved in as a Producer now?

We are involved in multiple projects in a variety of production stages.  Currently I’m involved as an Executive Producer on a very powerful documentary called THE LAST ANIMALS.  The Director Kate Brooks brought me into the fold to help and enhance the social impact fundraising campaign that’s currently underway prior to going to international distribution.   

The Last Animals

I’m working along side Executive Producer MATT MALEK at Foxtail Entertainment who recently EP’d  the indy film ‘To the Bone’ starring Keanu Reeves and Lily Collins which was nominated for the Grand Jury Award at Sundance this year.  

Capestany Films is also in the development stages of a very exciting action/adventure film THE RAINFOREST  and a magical family film MY SILENT VOICE that’s about a young deaf girl, her love for horses and her heroic journey to the equine winners circle.  

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My group and I are also working on an empowering + educational documentary about the Rainforest and a few other social issue genre endeavors.  One of my personal favorites is an adventurous live action TV series titled THE ADVENTURES OF SAMMIE DRAKE that I’m creator and writer on.   It’s a story about a young 9-year girl who just graduated from the 3rd grade and convinces her parents that she’s old enough to join the family treasure hunting business.  If you remember the adventures of Pippy Longstocking and the illuminating moxy of little Punky Brewster (of the 80s) with a dash of Nancy Drew mystery, then audiences and especially little girls will quickly identify and connect with Sammie and become fans of her and the brave adventures she undertakes.  Sammie’s bold and brave spirit allows her to do everything just as good and even better than the boys highlighting our support and advocacy of gender equality.   We are also developing both an APP and VR interactive products with this series similar to the Dora the explorer brand. 

MI:  Having a current look at your pallet of films you have on the go, it seems most revolve around themes of empowerment, the environment, wildlife, hero journey’s and social issues.

SAC: Without a doubt!  We are all about telling stories that uplift, inspire, educate and empower others into action.  Capestany Films was founded on these principles and believe that creativity has no discrimination (age, gender, disability, etc.).  We also feel that films produced, created and directed by women and members of marginalized groups in particular deserve equal treatment in the press and equal opportunities in the entertainment space.  Which leads me to share another big initiative we have in 2017 for the magazine as a whole (if I may).  Beginning in 2017 this year, 50%+ of the content will be dedicated to projects, stories and events featuring women in front and/or behind the camera + members of marginalized groups.  I was raised by a strong, resilient, outspoken and brave mother that always encouraged us boys to be fair, treat people with dignity and also be transparent.  Not to mention required to include the neighborhood girls in our childhood adventures and activities.  So I have a very special place in my heart when I see or create stories that touch on these themes and are told from a females perspective.  Women and African Americans and other groups (LBGT, Disabilites, etc.) have been fighting for equality in Hollywood for decades not to mention in the everyday workforce.  so I’m very pleased to say we’ll remain on the front lines supporting these creatives from all aspects of collaboration and press coverage.    I’ve never been one to see gender, race, age, disability or whatever when collaborating and conducting my way of life personally or professionally.  I’m the type of guy that just simply sees the best in everyone and especially if they’ve overcome radical odds to achieve their goals.  Everyone in the world has a unique story ready to tell.  

MI: Tell us about your vision and new direction you are taking with MEDIA INC MAGAZINE.

SAC:  We are currently laser focused on re-branding the publication and designing effective “Impact” campaigns for our new generation of readers, influencers and strategic partners.  We’ve already partnered with multiple film festivals as their media affiliate providing coverage and connecting with indie filmmakers to help them promote their projects with solid press coverage.   It’s one thing to get a write-up on an unknown blog and another thing to get a write-up in a regional magazine print publication and have a professional digital link coming from that legitimate digital source.  One of the first things we jumped on was the social media platform that this publication had very little exposure on.  We’ve grown our twitter, IG and FB pages 500% since taking over and still primed for fresh new engagement daily.  So being a fresh new print publication in the digital world has worked to our advantage growing our communities and engagers.   We are already becoming a well known media publication outlet both Nationally and Internationally within the Indie film world.  We have already covered or been invited to cover Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca and  Cannes Film Festivals this year.   Which is allowing us to expand our coverage in new markets.  We are also very excited to add two new segments to the publication; SPORT and ARTIST LIFESTYLE focusing on stories of artists outside their creative lives and also sports stories that are intriguing and original.  Not typical sports reporting, but rather overview of how their leagues and organizations work together to engage the general public through new media. 

MI:  What is the current distribution, circulation and frequency of the magazine?

SAC:  We are a FREE quarterly publication circulating around 5K+ print magazines throughout the Pacific Northwest and West Coast Cities (Portland, LA, etc.) We are strategically planning to expand circulation and take the publication to other creative markets through partnering with domestic and international film festivals, industry organizations and entertainment organizations. 

All photos, images, soundbites and writings of Scott A. Capestany are COPYRIGHTED and protected under US Copyright laws.

Scott is represented by Beverly Hills lawfirm Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman, LLP

You can follow MEDIA INC and CAPESTANY FILMS on Twitter/IG

For Scott’s full Biography – IMDB

Press:  RAINFOREST – Peninsula Daily News

 

 

Scott on the set of one of his latest projects, The Rainforest.

The Rainforest: FEATURE to be produced in Western Washington

Scott Capestany standing in front of field monitor.

Creator/Director Scott A. Capestany standing in front of field monitor.

The upcoming Feature Film The Rainforest has become quite the buzz around town and in many Western Washington regions where the project is slated to be filmed in 2017.

Created, written, directed and executive produced by award-winning Washington State resident and indie filmmaker Scott A. Capestany, this project carries quite the exotic and elaborate storyline that’s sure to get viewers excited while experiencing Pacific Northwest settings, authentic PNW Native American legends and some ‘Lara Croft’-style treasure hunting, action and adventure. Filming locations slated include Forks, Lake Quinault, Amanda Park, Sequim, Bainbridge Island, Seattle and the University of Washington, which will be the central settings for this epic action/adventure feature film.The Rainforest BAnner

The story was conceived by Capestany during his most recent TV series production, NW Waters Adventure TV, while fishing in Western Washington. By December, he produced a “proof of concept” teaser that he has used to help generate interest from investors, business partners and to showcase to inbound cast/crew. His project was selected as a “pitch” finalist for the Washington Filmworks Innovation Lab, which in turn led to some major interest among Hollywood distributors, VODs and programming networks to also make the feature into a TV Series.

With pre-production scheduled to begin in Summer 2017, Capestany’s endeavor is now on the fast track, having gained quite extensive support from well known PNW cast and crew, from statewide businesses and organizations, as well as from some very well known Hollywood players.

Wide shot of actress Cindy Lemos reading the map.

The adventure team assembles in proof of concept filming.

“The goal was to spend a solid 1.5 years  developing new business partnerships and backers for this project with the goal to impact the Washington State economy positively through general interest and commerce,” he said. “With a limited budget, I figured that if I could connect my proposed filming locations/communities to our project, all the moving parts on the finance end of things would fall into place seamlessly.”

Committed to keep 100% of The Rainforest produced in WA State, Capestany will be using local Emmy Award winning Seattle Post Audio design company BAD ANIMALS  along with KOERNER CAMERA to facilitate his projects camera needs.  “Our relationships with long standing highly acclaimed regional leaders are important not only for the economics of our local industry but also from the high level of work they do”, Said Capestany.  “Bad Animals has been the premier leader in sound design in our market having worked with some of the greatest musicians of our generation including  Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Steve Miller and R.E.M.  And they are still winning Emmy’s!”

Scott’s strategic planning paid off recently by signing on 7 CEDARS CASINO in Sequim, Washington, as both a marketing and creative participant whose tribe’s history and legends will be accurately featured in the main storyline.

Jerry Allen, CEO of the 7 Cedars Casino, said, “We are honored to have this new partnership with Scott. I think this is a compliment to the tribe that Scott wants to do something like this. We are excited to be part of it. There were a lot of choices. When you think about the number of tribes that circle this peninsula and the fact that we were able to put this together, we are very, very flattered.”

Capestany on his Satellite phone.

Capestany on scouting trip with his Satellite phone.

Preserving the delicate filming locations and their delicate  environments are a primary objective for Capestany. His goal of attracting more PNW, national and international outdoor apparel, products and services (that will be functional as both props and woven into the storyline) that support sustainability and environmental awareness will remain at the forefront in the coming months with The Rainforest.

As creative director at Capestany Films for a number of years, Capestany has cut his teeth like all indie filmmakers operating outside the studio system.  He’s created a quite impressive Hollywood network ranging from relationships with major players in the industry to actively participating annually in dozens of international panels and workshops educating creatives on the business side of the industry.  He has worked as a consulting producer and film financier for over a decade on multiple creative endeavors and likes to keep his business involvement with many well known films modestly at bay when asked about them.   “My goal as a financier has always been about the filmmaker, not about how we arrived there.”, He said.  “If I can help an artist guide his creative endeavor early on by removing the money equation that hampers 90% of films and often times contaminates the creative process with all involved, then the projects our group typically gets behind most always seem to find a way to be realized and produced.”

After reading the book Rebel without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez, he launched Capestany Films on Main Street in Park City, Utah, during the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, where he was serving as a volunteer at the Slamdance Film Festival under the watchful eye of founders Peter Baxter and Dan Mirvish. He still carries his first “creative” business card he made that year in his wallet as a daily reminder that “if you can dream…you can achieve.”

Interior airfield hangar of cast looking at laptop.

Interior airfield hangar of proof of concept filming.

To date, Capestany has been selected to pitch at multiple Hollywood networks, studios,  production companies and some of the most recognizable film market events in the world.  Including recently in Beverly Hills at the Variety’s Faith-Based Summit and the American Film Market, where he met one of his current consulting producers, Anne Marie Gillen. After hearing one of his explosive and engaging pitch presentations, Gillen quickly decided to join Capestany Films to help guide his new endeavors through the quite complicated terrain of Hollywood business and finance.

Gillen was the former COO of Morgan Freeman’s production company, Revelations Entertainment, and is currently an expert in business development and finance for indie filmmakers around the world.

“After watching Scott on that stage in front of the world, his passion and resilience told me I had to be a part of what he was doing,” Gillen said.Scott meeting with Sklallam tribe

The Rainforest is “a hero’s journey” about a quite intelligent and skilled female professor, Dr. Riley Stone, who one day is visited at her college campus by a young girl claiming her great-grandmother’s story of a Rainforest legend should be examined further. After recognizing a very rare necklace the girl shows up wearing, Dr. Stone agrees to set off to her small town located in Western Washington to meet with the woman. Upon her arrival, Dr. Stone learns more about the legend and discovers some extraordinary clues that leads her to assemble a world-class team of explorers to join her for an expedition of discovery and adventure. Soon after the team gets underway, bizarre things begin to affect the expedition, sending them all on a death-defying race of survival and psychological mystery.

Casting for the film will begin in January 2017 underway with the lead, Dr. Riley Stone, being considered for numerous named Hollywood Female lead actors whose intellectual strength have already graced well know Film/TV productions.

As one of the most fierce and vocal advocates in the independent film sector of the industry for Women in Film, Capestany is strategically positioning  this partnerships with some of Hollywood’s elite leaders in this current fight for equality and diversity in the work place.  “My lead character Dr. Riley Stone is a reflection of some of the strongest and most influential women I have met in this business and throughout the world in my business travels whom I respect”.  She’s what I consider an authentic representation of a person that women can and should aspire to be.  Strong (emotionally and psychologically), Intelligent, dynamic leader and most importantly well-respected among their male counterparts”, Capestany Said.  “The days of commercially viable scripts describing a woman as sexy, beautiful and alluring are reaching a breaking point and soon to be replaced by stories of strength from within”.

Capestany has begun assembling quite the impressive Pacific Northwest crew, including Seattle producer Ben Andrews (founder of the Seattle Film Summit) and Vashon Island resident Tim Everitt (SFX animator who has worked on Pirates of the Caribbean and The Last Samurai). Capestany is a frequent speaker at regional industry events and an instructor at the Northwest Film Forum teaching emerging filmmakers the importance of connecting commerce and creativity.

Production for The Rainforest is slated for late August 2017 with a projected 22-day filming schedule. The official films proof of concept launch party was held this summer at the 7 Cedars Casino in Sequim, WA, August 29th.  Story intro to the general public, live music by award-winning singer/songwriter Melanie Dekker (www.melaniedekker.com), catered food, raffle and gaming were part of the festivities.  More can be found on Facebook (Capestany Films & The Rainforest) and  on Twitter @CapestanyFilms and @MediaIncMag. All inquiries may go to producer@capestanyfilms.com.

Ashland article_Bagshaw

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

Ashland article_Bagshaw

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!

Twede's Cafe in North Bend, Washington, will reprise its role as the Double R Diner in the revived Twin Peaks series. Photo by Michael Martin

Return to Twin Peaks

Twede's Cafe in North Bend, Washington, will reprise its role as the Double R Diner in the revived Twin Peaks series. Photo by Michael Martin

Twede’s Cafe in North Bend, Washington, will reprise its role as the Double R Diner in the new Twin Peaks series. Photo by Michael Martin

North Bend & other Washington towns co-star in the revived series, helmed by David Lynch

By Katie Sauro Editor

When it was first announced back in the fall of 2014 that David Lynch and Mark Frost were reviving Twin Peaks for Showtime, fans of the cult TV series were understandably beside themselves with excitement to see Special Agent Dale Cooper in action once again. After all, it’s been 25 years since that last cup of damn fine coffee and slice of cherry pie at the Double R Diner.

But their bubble was burst in April, when, citing concerns over budget (or lack thereof), Lynch and Frost announced they had reached a stalemate with the network.

David Lynch with North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing.

David Lynch with North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing.

Lynch said, via Twitter, that while Showtime might still be pursuing the series, he would no longer be involved as director. “After 1 year and 4 months of negotiations, I left because not enough money was offered to do the script the way I felt it needed to be done,” he said. “I love the world of Twin Peaks and wish things could have worked out differently.”

Cue the collective angry groan of fans everywhere.

But ever the mystery man, Lynch reneged on his statement just a month later, telling the world, “The rumors are not what they seem… It is happening again!”

Filming in North Bend. Photo by Michael Martin

Filming in North Bend. Photo by Michael Martin

And with that, the series was off and running, with plans to film 18 episodes set in the present day and continuing storylines from the second season. The anticipated release date has reportedly changed from 2016 to 2017, but that’s no matter to the series’ devotees because not only have Lynch and Frost returned to create the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington, but so have stars Kyle MacLachlan, Sheryl Lee, Dana Ashbrook and Sherilyn Fenn, among many others. Newbies to the cast include Amanda Seyfried and Balthazar Getty.

Of course, Twin Peaks would not be complete without its iconic exteriors, a great number of which were filmed in the small neighboring towns of North Bend, Snoqualmie and Fall City, just 30 miles east of Seattle. It has been reported that many of these locations will reprise their respective roles in the revamped series, including the famed Double R (aka Twede’s Cafe in the town of North Bend).

Mt. Si sunrise with Twede's in foreground. Photo by Danny Raphael

Mt. Si sunrise with Twede’s in foreground. Photo by Danny Raphael

The original series was released in 1990, and tourists have flocked to the region ever since to see where their favorite characters lived.

“Since the Twin Peaks series was released over 25 years ago, it has had a positive impact on North Bend’s economy by bringing tourists to our region to visit our beautiful town,” said Londi Lindell, City Administrator for the City of North Bend. She added, “We hope that the return of the series will produce a whole new following of Twin Peak fans who will also want to visit North Bend and all the beautiful natural treasures in this special valley.”

Londi Lindell and the North Bend team with David Lynch.

Londi Lindell and the North Bend team with David Lynch.

At press time, the production was in the midst of six weeks of filming in the area and, according to Lindell, it was going “very smoothly.”

“We have worked closely with Showtime and David Lynch in issuing all necessary permits to ensure the least amount of disruption to our citizens as a result of the filming activity,” continued Lindell. “They have been wonderful to work with and incredibly courteous of the local residents. Our citizens have been very understanding of minor disruptions to traffic flow and inconveniences associated with the filming.”

Twin Peaksshot for at least six weeks in North Bend and surrounding areas. Photo by Michael Martin

Twin Peaks films in front of the historic Cook Building in downtown North Bend. Photo by Michael Martin

The Board of Directors at Washington Filmworks approved some funding assistance for the project. While executive director Amy Lillard was unable to comment on the specifics, she was able to say that Washington Filmworks “has enjoyed the experience of working with the production.”

Washington’s film incentive program has a $3.5-million annual cap, which was met earlier this year. Attempts to raise the cap during this year’s legislative session were unsuccessful despite an enormous effort undertaken by the state’s production community.

Photo by Michael Martin

Photo by Michael Martin

Sources told Media Inc. that because the production received limited funding assistance, they brought some of their crew up from Los Angeles. However, as with any production filming in state for an extended period of time, Twin Peaks still equals an economic boost for Washington in terms of hotel night stays, meals in local restaurants, and other influxes of outside dollars.

But perhaps if Lynch and his team had gotten a bigger boost from the state, the series would have brought even more jobs, even more filming days, even more prestige to the Washington production industry in a time when it’s still reeling from a legislative loss and in need of some good news.

 

Inside the Strowler-verse

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Photos by Regan MacStravic

Director Ben Dobyns and his Seattle-based production company Zombie Orpheus Entertainment spent the month of September filming the pilot episode of Strowlers. RM-Strowlers-0023 RM-Strowlers-0018 RM-Strowlers-0026 RM-Strowlers-0028

Dobyns took part in this past spring’s Washington Filmworks Innovation Lab, and Strowlers was one of only two projects selected to receive funding assistance. The Innovation Lab aims to invest in the future of film by capitalizing on Washington’s creative community and artists while encouraging original storytelling that uses new forms of production and technology.

Strowlers will do just that via “an entirely new model of global engagement with viewers and creative collaborators” and by the “blending of traditional storytelling and crowd sourced creativity,” according to Washington Filmworks. Set in the modern day, Strowlers tells the story of the misfits, outcasts, artists, and activists who exist on the magical fringes of society.

The pilot stars Spokane native and musical theater actress Tanesha Ross, along with Trin Miller, G. Valmont Thomas and Lisa Coronado.

To find out more, visit www.zombieorpheus.com or www.facebook.com/strowlers.

The Rainforest Launch Party

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Photos courtesy of Capestany Films

On August 29, a launch party for the television pilot The Rainforest was held at 7 Cedars Casino in Sequim, Washington. 12032968_10156053577505183_3511655742726845559_n

The party featured a presentation by Scott A. Capestany, the show’s creator, writer, director and executive producer, as well as cast introductions, live music from singer/songwriter Melanie Dekker, catered food, raffle and gaming.

At press time, the pilot was set to began filming in late September in various Olympic Peninsula locations.

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Beloved Seattle TV Icon Passes Away

Rob Thielke, best known to Northwest viewers as “Vern Fonk” in the fonkVern Fonk Insurance TV commercials , passed away yesterday, August 16, after a battle with cancer.

Thielke starred as Vern Fonk for the past 24 years, becoming a local television icon and a beloved celebrity in the Seattle area and beyond.

His presence in the community and on television will be greatly missed. Look for a tribute to Thielke in the upcoming issue of Media Inc.