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The Year in Northwest Production

It was a stellar year for film, TV and commercial production in Washington and Oregon. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Locations Lauded by MovieMakermoviemakerlogo444
The year kicked off with MovieMaker Magazine releasing its list of the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2014. In the Big Cities category (pop. 500,000 and up), Seattle was ranked fifth, while Portland was ranked eighth. In the Towns category (pop. 100,000 and under), Ashland, located in Southern Oregon, was ranked second. The judges evaluated locations based on six criteria: Film production in 2013; film community and culture; access to equipment and facilities; tax incentives; cost of living; and a general category that includes lifestyle, weather and transportation.

Kate Becker

Kate Becker

Film Office Shakeups
A series of stunning film office shakeups began in February when James Keblas, director of Seattle’s Office of Film + Music, was not reappointed to the position under new mayor Ed Murray. Amidst the ire from the production community at large, it was announced that Kate Becker, strategic advisor for the City of Seattle, had been named as his replacement, while Keblas was hired as president of Creature. He continues to work in production as co-chair of the Washington Filmworks Advocacy Committee. In Oregon, meanwhile, Vince Porter left his post as executive director of the Governor’s Office of Film & Television to work as Governor Kitzhaber’s senior policy advisor on jobs and the economy. After several long months of searching, the Board named Tim Williams as Porter’s replacement.

Why Not Us?

Blue Plate's commercial with Richard Sherman. Photo by Ernie Sapiro

Blue Plate’s commercial with Richard Sherman. Photo by Ernie Sapiro

The Seahawks were ripe for commercial production fodder during (and after) their 2013-2014 Super Bowl run, resulting in several ad spots shot in Seattle. Among them were Blue Plate Digital’s commercial for CenturyLink, starring Richard Sherman, and Duracell’s viral spot featuring Derrick Coleman, the only current NFL player who wears hearing aids. Sherman and Seattle were again featured in a series of Nike commercials from ad agency Wieden+Kennedy.

 

Noah Wyle (left) and Dean Devlin. Photo by Scott Patrick Green

Noah Wyle (left) and Dean Devlin. Photo by Scott Patrick Green

Portland Gets Electric (Again)
Principal photography for the TNT series The Librarians began in Oregon on April 10, and continued throughout the summer. The series, starring Rebecca Romijn, Noah Wyle and Christian Kane, is from executive producer Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment, which also shot Leverage in Portland from 2009-2012. The series premiered on December 7.

Incentive Fund Exhausted

Z Nation. Photo by Oliver Irwin

Z Nation. Photo by Oliver Irwin

Washington Filmworks announced at the end of April that with its funding of a new film, Captain Fantastic, and series, Z Nation, the state’s film incentive program had been essentially exhausted for the year. While those two projects brought jobs to local production professionals and pumped money into the economy, it has been reported that Washington missed out on many other opportunities because of the state’s $3.5-million incentive cap.

 

Brittany Murphy on set.

Brittany Murphy on set.

Something Wicked Finally Comes This Way
Five years after crew completed production, Something Wicked finally hit theaters in April. Shot at nearly 30 locations in and around Eugene and Lane County, Something Wicked wrapped up in late 2009 but was delayed in post-production due to the tragic and sudden passing of actress Brittany Murphy.

SIFF Turns the “Big Four-Oh”SIFF Seattle International Film Festival
2014 marked the 40th anniversary of the Seattle International Film Festival, recognized as one of the top film festivals in North America. This year’s festival boasted more than 400 film screenings, such as opening night film Jimi: All is by My Side, closing night film The One I Love, a slew of premieres, and more archival films than in previous years. In addition to film screenings, special presentations included tributes to actors Laura Dern and Chiwetel Ejiofor, a Quincy Jones Lifetime Achievement Award Presentation, and many competitions, panels and presentations.

 

Filming Runestone.

Filming Runestone.

Northwest on the Small Screen
While mainstay Oregon-based series Grimm and Portlandia were gearing up to film season four and five, respectively, Washington was prepping for a series of its own. Filmed in Spokane and surrounding areas of Eastern Washington, Z Nation wrapped up its first season (13 episodes in total) for Syfy and was picked up for a second.  Also (possibly) getting into the series game was The Man in the High Castle, a pilot from Amazon Studios that shot in numerous Seattle locations in the fall. There has been no announcement as yet if the pilot has been picked up. Finally, Runestone, from Road’s End Films, is currently filming in Wilsonville, Oregon.

LAIKA’s Latest: The Boxtrollsboxtrolls-poster
Following in the footsteps of Coraline (2009) and ParaNorman (2012), both critical successes and both Academy Award nominees, Oregon-based production company LAIKA released its latest stop-motion animated feature, The Boxtrolls, in the fall. With 79 sets and over 20,000 handmade props, The Boxtrolls is the biggest production ever to be made in stop-motion animation, and is only the fourth stop-motion movie to be made in stereoscopic 3D. The film was a box office success, grossing more than $17 million in its opening weekend—the biggest opening weekend ever for LAIKA.

 

Lynn Shelton with some of her local cast. Photo by Regan MacStravic

Lynn Shelton with some of her local cast. Photo by Regan MacStravic

Laggies’ Homecoming
Although it premiered at Sundance earlier this year and had screened at other festivals, Lynn Shelton’s latest film, Laggies, finally got its Seattle debut in September as part of SIFF’s Women in Cinema event. Held at the newly reopened Egyptian Theatre, Shelton joined her local cast and crew for a red carpet premiere and post-screening Q&A. The film hit 300 theaters nationwide in October, garnering positive reviews for the director and the film’s star, Keira Knightley.

Oregon’s Triple Feature

Bill Pullman on set. Photo by Lacey Jarrell

Bill Pullman on set. Photo by Lacey Jarrell

Three feature films shot in Oregon throughout the late summer/early fall, including Brother in Laws, Green Room and Cabin Fever:Reboot. The comedy Brother in Laws, from producer Lorne Michaels, was filmed in Klamath Falls and stars Saturday Night Live cast member Taran Killam and Bill Pullman. Green Room, filmed in Portland, also has a star-studded cast, featuring Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin and Alia Shawkat. Cabin Fever:Reboot, meanwhile, filmed in Molalla and Clackamas County with executive producer Eli Roth. All three films are scheduled for release in 2015.

 

Douglas Horn and James Keblas celebrate the relaunch of WAfilmPAC.

Douglas Horn and James Keblas celebrate the relaunch of WAfilmPAC.

The Relaunch of WAfilmPAC
As the legislative session draws nigh (January 12, to be exact), the Washington film community is gearing up to fight for an increase in the annual film incentive cap. One of the first steps toward this goal was to relaunch WAfilmPAC, a political action committee that was originally formed in 2010. WAfilmPAC aims to elect state legislative candidates who are likely to support the film industry and helps raise money to support the campaigns of those candidates. Oregon, meanwhile, is also looking to increase the state’s film incentives when the legislative session begins in February. Stay tuned to www.media-inc.com as both Washington and Oregon’s legislative session unfolds.

Going Wild

Reese Witherspoon in Wild. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Reese Witherspoon in Wild. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Finally, December 2014 saw the release of Wild, the highly anticipated film starring Reese Witherspoon, which filmed throughout Oregon in 2013. The fact that Wild was made completely in Oregon is a testament to the strong—and growing—film production industry in the region. The film opened to rave reviews, especially for actresses Witherspoon and Laura Dern (both of whom have been nominated for Oscars), director Jean-Marc Vallée, and the state of Oregon’s wondrous locations.

Behind the Scenes with LAIKA

Oregon animation production studio takes us inside the making of The Boxtrolls

Michael Hollenbeck works on one of the Red Hat puppets during production of LAIKA and Focus Features' family event movie The Boxtrolls. Credit:  John Leonhardt / LAIKA, Inc.

Michael Hollenbeck works on one of the Red Hat puppets during production of LAIKA and Focus Features’ family event movie The Boxtrolls. Credit: John Leonhardt / LAIKA, Inc.

Released on September 26, The Boxtrolls is the latest animated masterpiece from Hillsboro, Oregon-based LAIKA. Shot on-site in 3D, The Boxtrolls is a stop-motion, hand-drawn, and CG hybrid movie based on Alan Snow’s bestselling fantasy adventure book Here Be Monsters.

The film is several years in the making, including three years from pre-production to release. Part of the reason for this is the meticulous process of stop-motion animation.

Single frame by single frame (and there are 24 frames per second in a motion picture), animators subtly and painstakingly manipulate tangible objects (characters, props, sets, etc.) on a working stage. Each frame is photographed for the motion picture camera—twice, if the camera is a 3D one, as on The Boxtrolls. When the thousands of photographed frames are edited and projected together sequentially, the characters and environment come alive.

With 79 sets and over 20,000 handmade props, The Boxtrolls is the biggest production ever to be made in stop-motion animation, and is only the fourth stop-motion movie to be made in stereoscopic 3D following LAIKA’s own Coraline (2009) and ParaNorman (2012) as well as Aardman’s The Pirates! (2012).

Here, LAIKA takes us behind the scenes of The Boxtrolls

Florian Perinelle works with the Lord Portley-Rind puppet.  Credit:  John Leonhardt / LAIKA, Inc.

Florian Perinelle works with the Lord Portley-Rind puppet. Credit: John Leonhardt / LAIKA, Inc.

Creative Supervisor of Puppet Fabrication Georgina Haynes explains the background on one of the puppets to voice talent Isaac Hempstead-Wright while Director of Rapid Prototype Brian McLean listens in. Credit:  LAIKA, Inc.

Creative Supervisor of Puppet Fabrication Georgina Haynes explains the background on one of the puppets to voice talent Isaac Hempstead-Wright while Director of Rapid Prototype Brian McLean listens in. Credit: LAIKA, Inc.

A painter adds some green paint to carrot stocks. Credit:  John Leonhardt / LAIKA, Inc.

A painter adds some green paint to carrot stocks. Credit: John Leonhardt / LAIKA, Inc.

Director of Photography John Ashlee Prat adjusts a backlight reflection. Credit:  Jason Ptaszek / LAIKA, Inc.

Director of Photography John Ashlee Prat adjusts a backlight reflection. Credit: Jason Ptaszek / LAIKA, Inc.

Danail Kraev works on the Eggs puppet. Credit:  John Leonhardt / LAIKA, Inc.

Danail Kraev works on the Eggs puppet. Credit: John Leonhardt / LAIKA, Inc.

David Pugh works on the extensive Market scene. Credit:  Eric Adkins / LAIKA, Inc.

David Pugh works on the extensive Market scene. Credit: Eric Adkins / LAIKA, Inc.

Caitlin Pashalek works on the floors in Lord Portley-Rind’s house. Credit:  John Leonhardt / LAIKA, Inc.

Caitlin Pashalek works on the floors in Lord Portley-Rind’s house. Credit: John Leonhardt / LAIKA, Inc.

Voice talent Isaac Hempstead-Wright visits with LAIKA CEO and Lead Animator Travis Knight. Credit:  LAIKA, Inc.

Voice talent Isaac Hempstead-Wright visits with LAIKA CEO and Lead Animator Travis Knight. Credit: LAIKA, Inc.

Effort Underway to Raise Washington Film Incentive Cap

Washington Governor Jay Inslee poses with zombie extras on the set of Z Nation during a recent visit to Spokane.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee poses with zombie extras on the set of Z Nation during a recent visit to Spokane.

By George Riddell Editor

Currently, the state of Washington is one of 38 states offering film production incentives. Qualifying feature films, episodic TV series and commercials can receive rebates of as much as 35 percent of their in-state expenditures. However, with an annual cap of just $3.5 million, Washington’s incentive is one of the smallest in the country, and can’t realistically compete against states with much larger caps (or no cap in many states).

This year in late April, before the popular summer shooting season even began, Washington Filmworks, which oversees the state’s film production incentive program, announced that after just four months, the state’s entire allotment of funds available as production incentives for feature films and TV series had been exhausted. The cap had been met.

Washington Filmworks reached the cap for the most part because of two major summer production projects: Z Nation, a 13-episode TV series for Syfy network shot this summer in Eastern Washington, and Captain Fantastic, a feature film shot this summer in Western Washington, starring Viggo Mortenson.

Over the next several weeks, Amy Lillard, executive director of Washington Filmworks, watched in frustration as multiple projects that she had been courting to shoot in Washington chose locations in other states, where production incentive money was available.

“After we announced we were out of funds, Washington Filmworks continued to receive calls daily from greenlit projects that were ready to hit the ground running in Washington State,” she said. Lillard estimated that “these projects would have had an estimated $55 million of economic impact over the summer months.” The impact is felt in the form of jobs for local actors, film crewmembers, hotel rooms, catering companies, restaurants, rental companies and many other businesses that support the film industry, both directly and indirectly. And she said there has likely been more business lost, as well.

Z Nation and Captain Fantastic provide strong examples of the benefits these productions can provide to the Washington film industry and the state’s general economy. These two projects alone employed hundreds of workers this summer. Filmworks estimates that Z Nation provided more than 12,000 worker days to Washington cast and crew during its summer shooting schedule, while Captain Fantastic was expected to employ more than 350 Washington residents.

But Lillard sees the potential for much more: “We need to grow the incentive program to keep up with demand.”

The demand to shoot in Washington is clearly plentiful among filmmakers, but the competition among states that offer cash-back incentives to producers is very high. Lillard knows the key to being more competitive is raising the state’s cap. So, while the legislation that created the current incentive program is scheduled to remain in place until 2017, Washington Filmworks is acting now to start the wheels of change moving towards increasing the state’s cap before the current sunset period.

Their first order of business was to form an Advocacy Committee, headed by James Keblas, former director of the Seattle Office of Film + Music and now president of Seattle advertising agency Creature, and entertainment attorney and longtime Northwest film advocate Lance Rosen. Rosen and Keblas will work with Lillard to connect with legislators across the state, and work towards a new solution that will make Washington more competitive in the film incentive marketplace.

Douglas Horn and James Keblas celebrate as they make the first contributions to WAfilmPAC.

Douglas Horn and James Keblas celebrate as they make the first contributions to WAfilmPAC.

In addition to Washington Filmworks’ efforts, the local film community is stepping up to the plate. What started as a Facebook group called the Seattle Film Industry Caucus is now a group of concerned film professionals that have met numerous times in person, including once with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

Writer/director Douglas Horn, one member of the Caucus, said the group is committed to engaging elected officials with Washington Filmworks in an effort to develop legislation that supports a more competitive incentive program. They have identified potential tools that can help with this effort, as well.

One such tool is the resurrection of the previously dormant political action committee formerly known as Film PAC. Formed in 2010, Film PAC was created during the last round of legislative action by Seattle film industry member and activist Ron Leamon. Today, Leamon is joined by others in the state’s film community in relaunching the organization as WAfilmPAC.  Current leadership of WAfilmPAC consists of chairman Leamon, vice chair Lacey Leavitt, treasurer Joanne Ort and secretary Krk Nordenstrom.

Leavitt said WAfilmPAC’s immediate priority is clear.

“The film incentive cap needs to be raised,” she said. “Our industry has been so successful at cultivating and drawing production work that we became victims of our own success this year, running out of incentive funds not even halfway through the year.”

(l to r) Spokane filmmaker Mischa Jakupcak, Z Nation star Pisay Pao, Seattle producer Lacey Leavitt, plus unidentified zombies celebrate the re-launch of WAfilmPAC.

(l to r) Spokane filmmaker Mischa Jakupcak, Z Nation star Pisay Pao, Seattle producer Lacey Leavitt, plus unidentified zombies celebrate the re-launch of WAfilmPAC.

Leavitt added that the demands to shoot film projects in Washington State have increased over the past several years. “What we’ve been able to accomplish with the fifth-smallest fund in the nation is impressive but we can and should build on the amount of dollars spent on Washington State labor, small businesses and local vendors.”

The organization’s stated goals are based around the common objectives of helping elect state legislative candidates who are likely to support the film industry. Like any political action committee, WAfilmPAC exists to help raise money from supporters of its political agenda, in order to pass those funds along to support the campaigns of candidates who also support that agenda. But Leamon believes there is more to it than that.

“Our agenda is not only increasing the incentive, but increasing awareness of who we are as an industry,” he said. “I believe they go hand in hand. This has been the ongoing education of our communities of legislative, film, and non-film.”

Leavitt and Leamon are big believers in the general economic benefits the state would realize from an increase to the state’s incentive cap.

“A local economy that experiences a film, television or commercial project in their area will feel a positive financial impact and, depending on the project, a boost in tourism,” said Leamon. “By supporting these legislators that believe in our industry, we support the economic future of Washington State.”

Leamon sees the value of WAfilmPAC in communicating these benefits. “It’s an important tool to talk with candidates about industry issues,” he said. “WAfilmPAC also hopes to engage filmmakers, film crew and talent in Washington State to be active and effective participants in government affairs.”

The alternative to increasing Washington’s film incentive cap is to continue with the status quo until it reaches the legislation’s sunset in 2017. But the cost could be high for Washington’s film industry.

“One of the great success stories of the incentive program is our investment in our local storytellers like Lynn Shelton, Lacey Leavitt and Megan Griffiths,” said Lillard. But, she continued, “as their success has increased, so have budgets for their projects. With only $3.5 million in our fund annually, our homegrown talent is being forced to take their projects to states with more competitive incentives.”

Robust film production in Washington would reap widespread benefits for the state’s general economy, and allow the growth and development of the region’s fertile creative talent pool for years to come. Lillard is determined.

“The production incentive program remains the most powerful tool that we have to win motion picture business,” she said. “There is great interest to produce films, commercials and episodic series in Washington State, but not the business model to support it.”

A series of WAfilmPAC fundraising events is being scheduled throughout the state in the weeks ahead, and will continue beyond. For up to date information about these events and more, visit www.WAfilmPAC.org and follow @wafilmpac on Twitter.

Bringing the Undead to Life: The Magic’s in the Makeup Team

Makeup artist Corinne Foster and actor David Schaefer.

Makeup artist Corinne Foster and actor David Schaefer. Photo by Daniel Sawyer Schaefer

By Stephanie Hoover & Crystal Foley Guest Columnists

Blood, gore and guts—all the stuff we love about zombie flicks—wouldn’t be possible without a great makeup team.

However, with the exploding popularity of zombie shows, it takes more than greatness for a series to stand out. It takes a unique spin on the oft-created apocalypse, which is exactly what Syfy’s newest show, Z Nation, aims to do. Corinne Foster, the makeup department head, said finding the originality in her interpretation of zombie makeup is her favorite part.

“I love the creativity of it, and the chance to just do something [the way] you think it should be, rather than what other people think it should be,” said Foster. “Creating zombies gives you the chance to create the unknown, so nothing you do is wrong and it doesn’t matter, ultimately, as long as it looks really cool.”

Zombified actors (l to r) David Schaefer, Brian McElroy, Nicole Suba, Caleb Miller and Benjamin Ginsborough-Hron.

Zombified actors (l to r) David Schaefer, Brian McElroy, Nicole Suba, Caleb Miller and Benjamin Ginsborough-Hron. Photo by Daniel Sawyer Schaefer

Z Nation takes us three years into the apocalypse with a cast of survivors on a mission. As the survivors in the series travel across the country, we meet a variety of zombies along the way—including nuclear zombies, toxic zombies, oil zombies, and dust cloud zombies.

As opposed to many other zombie series and films, many of the ‘Zs’, as zombies are dubbed in Z Nation, are characterized. Because the show takes place a few years into the apocalypse, several current zombies have been surviving for a while before being infected; therefore many of them have background stories and connections with the present survivors. Foster said she and her team have enjoyed the variety and challenge of emulating the characters in the zombie makeup.

David Schaefer

David Schaefer. Photo by Daniel Sawyer Schaefer

“Because we’re playing with the idea that their speed is varied based on how long they’ve been decaying, it makes it a lot funner [sic] in the fact that every zombie kind of has its own style of movement and personality from each episode,” she said.

It’s not enough to just think up an awesome looking zombie; Foster must also think about how that zombie will appear after it goes through post-production. She says she did about 10 makeup tests in order to make the zombies look realistic once filters were applied.

“We had to find the right color palette that translated through the color treatment to get that look of what we were going for,” she said. “In person they’re really green.”

Foster, who heads Synapse FX in Los Angeles, is no stranger to zombie makeup. She has worked on two other zombie specials for Syfy, Zombie Night and Rise of the Zombies. However, the team has run into a few issues with their preferred water-based makeup, Kryolan Aquacolor, while on set in Spokane, Washington. Retouching has been a constant, said Foster, because the makeup isn’t staying on as effectively. She speculates this may be due to the hard water in Spokane or possibly the difference in altitude and elements.

Corinne Foster puts the finishing touches on actor Derrick Walton-Cooper.

Corinne Foster puts the finishing touches on actor Derrick Walton-Cooper. Photo by Daniel Sawyer Schaefer

“We definitely have had a little bit more of a rough time in needing to stay on top of their touch-ups and… the fact that the weather changes constantly,” she said. “It’s so hard to figure out, like, ‘how much do we seal them today? It’s a sunny day! Oh wait, it’s raining.’”

The makeup team consists of four artists from L.A. and three recruited artists from Seattle. Due to the fast-paced environment and limited budget restrictions for the show, the team uses a modeling technique that is applied with sponges in order to get the right skin texture.

Going from human to zombie can take a while. Dependent upon the extent of prosthetic makeup needed, featured zombies may be in the chair for as little as an hour and a half or as long as four hours. Background extras are typically in the chair for 30 to 45 minutes. All the extras are from the Pacific Northwest, Foster said, and are refreshing to work with.

Actor Tommy Goodwin

Actor Tommy Goodwin. Photo by Daniel Sawyer Schaefer

“We’ve had a lot of really, really great extras that are all from the Northwest. I feel like the difference in people we have here versus in L.A. is that these people are excited at the idea of being a zombie,” she said. “Having them be excited…  makes it that much more fun and just makes it better because they want to be in it and they want to be scary.”

Foster has also enjoyed creating the looks for the main characters. Her favorite character to make up is “Murphy,” the only known survivor of a zombie bite, played by Keith Allan. As a survivor he has a few zombie battle wounds, to say the least, and is always in full character makeup.

“I think in general creating his look is by far my favorite thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of fun playing with the idea of him and what he is.”

Creating the undead every day is no easy task, and makeup has the longest days on set, along with wardrobe and transportation. Foster said her shortest day has been 13 hours, while her longest has been 20 when there are large scenes with a lot of extras. She said one day they had 53 extras, which understandably required all seven artists on set.

Luckily, Foster said she has had a few chances to unwind and explore a bit of the Pacific Northwest. She enjoyed an introductory visit to Seattle over the Fourth of July and also traveled out to the rainforest and Forks for a little Twilight sightseeing.

While the Z Nation crew may be filming in Washington, season one will not be taking us there in the show. However, Foster said there is still hope the survivors may make their way up to the Pacific Northwest.

“I believe they cross through on their way to California,” she said. “But that won’t be until season two, if there is a season two!”

Z Nation is giving a different perspective on the zombie story. Picking them out of the bumbling hoard, and creating individual characters. Zombie identity is changing and Foster and her team are going to show us what that looks like.

Movie Filming Gives Boost to Economy in Klamath Falls

Bill Pullman on set. Photo by Lacy Jarrell

Bill Pullman on set. Photo by Lacey Jarrell

By Holly Dillemuth Klamath Falls Herald and News

Between restaurant meals, hotel stays, catering, and everything in between, the filming of Brother in Laws in the Klamath Basin of Oregon is slated to bring $700,000 into the Klamath Falls area, according to film location manager Michael Chickey.

The economic boost is in addition to added publicity for the town, where many scenes in the movie are being filmed, including at the Klamath County Government Center, Adora Salon and Spa, and a downtown store owned by Linda Warner.

“It’s a wonderful industry to have visit here,” said Klamath Falls Mayor Todd Kellstrom. “They rent places and they buy stuff. It’s just a nice, clean economic boost for the industry.”

Filming Brother in Laws. Photo by Steven Silton

Filming Brother in Laws. Photo by Steven Silton

But while Klamath Falls made the final cut for the film, it was only one of several areas that were first under consideration.

“They brought me in and basically told me to find a cabin on a lake anywhere in Oregon,” Chickey said. “It was kind of a dream whirlwind scouting for two or three weeks.”

After scouting more than 10 lakes all over Oregon, including Crescent Lake, Detroit Lake, Devil’s Lake, Tenmile Lake and Odell Lake, Lake of the Woods stood out to Chickey. Many of the film’s scenes were shot at a westside Lake of the Woods Resort cabin in mid-August and early September.

“Once I got here, I was like, they’re coming here,” Chickey said on the set of the film in Keno in mid-September.

The cast at the cabin. Photo courtesy Instagram

The cast at the cabin. Photo courtesy Instagram

And the rest of the film followed, taking film crew and cast—including actors from Saturday Night Live, Bill Pullman and Rita Wilson—all over the Klamath Basin, and impacting a variety of businesses.

“We tried to source as much locally as we could,” Chickey said.

And that was noticed, particularly by Eric Peterson, manager of the Lake House Restaurant. Peterson and his restaurant staff catered two meals a day for the cast and crew for 15 days at Lake of the Woods, including an all-night film shoot in Keno. He emphasized the film staff searched out ways to utilize local establishments like the Lake House Restaurant at Lake of the Woods Resort.

“It was really nice of them to trust us local restaurants,” Peterson told the Herald and News. “They really cared. They ate in our restaurant a lot up here. It would be great to have more films (shot) here.”

And the menu for the cast and crew was piled with the restaurant’s favorites, such as smoked tri-tip, salmon, cod, tilapia, enchiladas and tacos, as well as salads and desserts.Brothers in Law IMG_2970

“We tried to change it up,” Peterson said. “They were really flexible. The whole cast and crew were amazing.”

Breakfast and lunch times varied from early in the morning to late at night, but the caterers made sure they didn’t leave hungry.

“We served anywhere from 70 to 110 people,” Peterson said. “It was a great experience. It was something I never thought that I’d be able to do.”

Local coffee shop a favorite
Gathering Grounds owner Brandon Sickler has been providing “craft services” to the crew and cast since filming began in mid-August. Sickler has kept busy during the filming of the movie, bringing coffee, tea, sandwiches and soup as needed.

“They’re pumping in hundreds of thousands of dollars into this community,” Sickler said, who added that the film has brought in at least $20,000 for his own establishment.

“It’s been a perfect thing, we were a newly established business,” Sickler said.

The cast of Brother in Laws. Photo courtesy Instagram

The cast of Brother in Laws. Photo courtesy Instagram

On set, he’s had a “backstage pass” to both cast and crew, and he said he has a new appreciation for the hard work they do.

“They called me ‘Crafty,’” he said. “I was everybody’s best friend as long as I kept them fed.

“They just need the calories to keep going.”

He also made sure to provide foods for vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free meals.

While the Brother in Laws film has created excitement in the Klamath Basin during the last several weeks, it’s not the first time crews have looked at the area for filming a movie.

Photo by Lacy Jarrell

Photo by Lacey Jarrell

Kellstrom said he remembers the Basin got some consideration for the filming of The River Wild, starring Kevin Bacon and Meryl Streep. But the film was shot in the Rogue River and in Idaho.

Some scenes from the film Night Moves, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard, also were filmed at Lake of the Woods in 2012, according to George Gregory, manager at the Lake of the Woods Resort. Last fall, the cast and crew of Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, were at Crater Lake National Park.

City, county pleased with movie presence
The set of Brother in Laws  on the Klamath streets and surrounding areas is something welcomed by the city and Klamath County, according to Kellstrom and Commissioner Tom Mallams.

“From the sounds of things, the crew has had a good experience here,” Kellstrom said. “That will resonate as they talk to other people in the industry.”

Mallams agreed.

“It’s a great exposure for the city and the county,” Mallams told the Herald and News. “They’re generating quite a bit of dollars into our community while they’re here.”

Mallams also emphasized that the film crew is “paying their own way” to utilize parts of downtown Klamath Falls, as well as the Klamath County Government Center.

“We want to encourage them to because they’re a business,” he said. “It’s a very good win-win.”

For location information or questions about filming in Klamath County, contact Klamath County Chamber of Commerce at 541-884-5193 or inquiry@klamath.org. To contact the author, email hdillemuth@heraldandnews.com.

Oregon Production Update: A Wrap and Welcome Back

(l to r) Grimm stars Russell Hornsby, David Giuntoli, and Schakal film an episode for season four.

(l to r) Grimm stars Russell Hornsby, David Giuntoli, and Schakal film an episode for season four. Photo by Scott Green/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

By Susan Haley Associate Editor

Oregon’s crew and vendors are scrambling to fill production needs as two successful TV shows return, and a number of smaller film productions start shooting this fall. The state is happy to welcome back Grimm (season four) and Portlandia (season five), both with production offices located in Portland. Greenroom (Portland), Brother in Laws (Klamath Falls) and Cabin Fever: Reboot (Molalla) are three feature films also in various stages of production.

Thanks to Oregon’s legislature and support for the film incentive program, increased filming in the state has allowed businesses to grow as they deal with the demand for gear and equipment. Suppliers are able to add to their inventory and services to meet needs, and that makes for a more sustainable growth.

Portland’s Gearhead Production Rentals moved into a new facility last year that includes 15,000 square feet. The company employs four people full time, several part-time employees and has eight trucks that stay busy. Gearhead’s Don Rohrbacker says, “We’ve seen steady increase in long-term projects, television series in particular. Both rentals and sales to feature work and local commercial production remains important. This has caused us to move into the larger facility, expand our offerings across the board. In addition to the trucks and supplies you may be familiar with, we now offer a two-ton production supply cube, overflow parking and an insert stage soon to be completed here at 4720 SE 26th.”

Grimm shoots season four in Oregon. Photo by Scott Green/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Grimm shoots season four in Oregon. Photo by Scott Green/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Larger shows also give local crew and cast opportunities to grow in their own experience and add to their resume. Many then go on to bring their talents to smaller shows. Christina Kortum, of Ravenous Studios, is one such crewmember. In 2006, Kortum had an opportunity to work on a small film. The increased demand for her work allowed her to form her own company in 2009. Since then she has worked on Grimm, The Librarians, Portlandia, Wild and numerous local films, and is currently the key SFX makeup artist for Cabin Fever: Reboot, shooting in Molalla, Oregon.

Says Kortum, “I feel incredibly fortunate living in Oregon in that I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in larger productions that come to town, as well as more intimate indie projects such as Cabin Fever, where I get to be a part of the design process.”

In addition to welcoming returning shows and new films, Oregon also saw The Librarians wrap its first season. This exciting new TV series is from Electric Entertainment, which also produced the highly popular shot-in-Oregon TV series Leverage, as well as the TV movie Librarian trilogy. Electric has proven itself as much a fan of Oregon as Oregon has of executive producer Dean Devlin and the company. They have consistently made a point of utilizing as much of the Oregon crew, cast and services as are available.

“We had an amazing time shooting the first season of The Librarians in Oregon. It was so great being back in the Pacific Northwest, working with the crew that we love on a project that is so special to us. I think I speak on behalf of Dean Devlin and all the producers of the show when I say that we certainly hope that we’ll be back next year. Our fingers are firmly crossed for season two and beyond,” said producer Rachel Olschan.

The Librarians premieres on December 7 on TNT.

Oregon appreciates the return business and is also proud of its talented crew, vendors and actors!

The Librarians: Around the World in Oregon

 

Librarians star Noah Wyle (left) with executive producer Dean Devlin.

By George Riddell Editor
Photos by Scott Patrick Green

Principal photography for new TNT series The Librarians began in Oregon on April 10, and is expected to continue through July. TNT has ordered 10 episodes of the series from executive producer Dean Devlin and Electric Entertainment, which previously produced MGM’s Flyboys and Emmy-winning mini-series The Triangle for Syfy Channel.

On set of The Librarians.

On set of The Librarians.

The Librarians centers on an ancient organization hidden beneath the Metropolitan Public Library dedicated to protecting an unknowing world from the secret, magical reality hidden all around. This group solves impossible mysteries, fights supernatural threats and recovers powerful artifacts from around the world. The series is based on The Librarian films starring Noah Wyle, which previously aired on TNT. The series stars Rebecca Romijn and Wyle, who will reprise his film character in a recurring role. Other cast members include Christian Kane, Lindy Booth and John Kim.  Emmy winners John Larroquette and Bob Newhart are cast to appear in recurring roles.

The series’ storyline, which features globe-trotting adventure in every episode, requires that the production team take full advantage of the wide range of available locations in Oregon. The Electric Entertainment team is already familiar with the many things Oregon offers to filmmakers. In fact, Electric shot seasons two through five of TNT series Leverage in Portland from 2009-2012.

Series producer Rachel Olschan said it’s no accident they came back.

“After Dean Devlin produced the show Leverage, he fell in love with the state and its talented crewmembers,” she said. “We worked with Vince Porter and his office, as well as the Oregon legislature, to make it possible for Librarians to come to Oregon.”

Executive producer Dean Devlin (left) with Christian Kane and Lindy Booth.

Executive producer Dean Devlin (left) with Christian Kane and Lindy Booth.

The Librarians is being shot over 73 production days on location in several counties around Portland, as well as on the Electric Entertainment soundstages in Clackamas. Electric created the facility by converting over 60,000 square feet of warehouse space into state-of-the-art soundstages. Stage shooting includes work on the studio’s blue screen stage—the largest in the Northwest.

Olschan said the shoots so far have been successful.

Emmy-winning actor John Larroquette (left) and Dean Devlin.

Emmy-winning actor John Larroquette (left) and Dean Devlin.

“Production is going fantastic,” she said. “While the show is more complex than Leverage, our cast and crew are doing a great job. We couldn’t be happier.”

According to Olschan, about 97 percent of the cast is comprised of Oregon talent.

“One of the best things about shooting here is the talent pool—both the crew and the local actors,” she said.

The Librarians is set to wrap production in July and premiere later this year on TNT.

Z Nation Invades Washington

Z Nation IMG_0703

By George Riddell Editor
Photos by Oliver Irwin

The zombie horde has overtaken Spokane and the Washington film production community is elated. On Thursday, May 15, production began for the first season of the new Syfy series Z Nation, an action-horror series that depicts the epic struggle to save humanity after a zombie apocalypse.

With a 13-episode commitment from Syfy, production is slated to continue in Spokane all summer. The five-month production will employ 200 actors, the great majority of them from Washington State, plus as many as 1,300 Washington extras. In addition, the 100-person production crew is largely made up of Washington residents, as well.

Series producer Rich Cowan stresses that it’s all by design.

“That’s the goal,” says Cowan. “The whole idea is to have this be a Washington State production through and through.”Z Nation IMG_0094 Z Nation IMG_0171

Nike Imoru is the lead casting director for Z Nation, and she is so enthused about the production that she has moved from Portland to Spokane. Imoru jumped at the chance to cast the series as soon as she learned that about 50 percent of the roles would be given to regional actors.

“This is unprecedented for the Northwest, not just for Washington State,” says Imoru.

At press time, the series’ lead regulars had not been announced, but Imoru confirms that three of the eight principal roles went to Washington actors.

The casting process for Z Nation generated “staggering numbers,” she says. “We received 1,100 submissions for the lead roles.”Z Nation IMG_0539 Z Nation IMG_0385crop Z Nation IMG_0398

On May 3, more than 600 people showed up for Zombie School Day in Spokane to apply for roles as zombies in the series. In all, there are 200 speaking parts throughout the 13 episodes, and Imoru expects to fill many of those with Northwest actors.

“This is my ultimate goal being realized,” she says.

Cowan agrees that Z Nation will boost the state’s stable of acting talent, saying, “Having a very high proportion of Washington actors will help build up the talent pool here.”

The decision by Syfy and series producers to shoot in Washington was greatly influenced by the approval of funding assistance through the Washington State Film Incentive program, which is administered by Washington Filmworks (WF).

Said Don Jensen, Filmworks Board chair, in a statement, “Securing an episodic series has always been a priority for WF, as it represents good paying jobs and consistent work.”

Crew jobs for the production have attracted workers from throughout the state. Cowan, who is the founder of Spokane production company North By Northwest, stresses that even with actors and production crew migrating to Spokane from all over Washington, there has been no need for a “settling-in period” for the new arrivals.Z Nation IMG_0716 Z Nation IMG_0639

“Many have been on our crews before,” he says.  “Everybody knows each other.”

Second AD Tony Becerra is a Seattle-based crewmember who has joined the Z Nation production for the summer.

“I’m happy to be side by side with some of the most experienced film crews we have in Washington State,” says Becerra. In addition to crewmembers from the Spokane area, Becerra says there is a mix of Seattle film people, as well.

“Everyone’s been very welcoming,” he says. “The production is fast-paced like any TV show, but not anything new for Washington State crew.”

Indeed, shooting got off to a fast start.

“The first day was a main unit day,” says Cowan. “They shot 6 to 7 script pages with about 30 different set-ups.”

And how do the large number of zombies affect the production?

Becerra says it’s mainly a scheduling issue, for “wardrobe distressing, prosthetics, and FX blood, to get people ready on set.” He adds, “Thankfully our costume designer, Lisa Caryl-Vukas, is always prepared for the additions and changes we go through during production.”

For Cowan, Z Nation marks the beginning of something really important for the state.

“This is a foundation for the future in Washington,” he says. “I firmly believe scripted television is the future in Washington.”

And it’s not just shooting. Cowan confirms Z Nation will be delivered in its entirety from Washington to the network, “including all post, sound, everything. Nobody in L.A. touches it. It leaves the state fully done and deliverable.”

At press time, VFX and sound providers had not yet been announced for Z Nation, but announcements are expected soon, since principal photography for episode one is schedule to be completed in June.

Oregon Story Board

Oregon Story Board Space

The State’s New Digital Storytelling Ecosystem

By Susan Haley Associate Editor

In December 2013, Nicholas de Wolff was recruited to serve as inaugural executive director of a new digital innovation lab, Oregon Story Board (OSB), a non-profit organization that “develops opportunities for job creation, talent attraction, and the establishment of a collaborative community of digital storytelling innovators.”

de Wolff has been deeply involved in new media business ventures, including Internet, social media, M&E technologies, IP, and mobile communications. He served for several years as a chief marketing officer at Technicolor, one of the world’s largest media and entertainment technology providers. de Wolff is a co-founder of the Producers Guild of America’s New Media Council, and is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, where he has served several times on the jury for the Primetime Emmy Awards.

Oregon Story Board actively promotes the growth of digital media production in Oregon through investments in Incubation, Research & Education, and Ecosystem Development. Plans for OSB include Incubation: Investing in startups that support a statewide digital media ecosystem; Research & Education: Helping Oregonians become leaders in the new wave of digital production; and Ecosystem Development: Catalyzing growth by creating and enriching the connections between new business opportunities and talented digital media professionals.

Nicholas de Wolff

Nicholas de Wolff

Beginning in Portland with plans to expand statewide, OSB is designed to further the burgeoning digital storytelling cluster—a broad spectrum encompassing everything from filmmakers to video game development to news and advertising organizations to the technology that enables those industries—in Oregon by focusing on education, research, community building, incubation, and promotion of both startups and established organizations that are making the state a compelling location for creative and technological exploration.

Oregon Story Board has already teamed with TrackTown USA for their first official project, the “Hack at Hayward.” In July 2014, Oregon will host more than 2,500 international athletes, team officials and journalists for the 15th IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships. In anticipation of this exciting event, OSB and TrackTown USA invited a select group of Oregon’s best technologists, creatives, and athletes to re-invent the way that the sport of track and field is presented to a global audience.

Oregon Story Board Space 2

Inside Oregon Story Board.

“Innovation has been the cornerstone of the TrackTown community since Bill Bowerman arrived at the University of Oregon in 1948, and we were thrilled to partner with Oregon Story Board in shaping the sport for the 21st century,” said TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna. The Hack was focused on conceptualizing a genuinely innovative platform that shines a light on the robust stories of competition and triumph that begin well before the athletes step on the track, and continue well after the event is over.

More recently, Oregon Story Board produced and hosted an event at OMSI called “Play/Interact,” aggregating 12 of the state’s leading video game and digital media companies in one large demonstration event, attended by nearly 1,000 people.

Less public, but possibly of most importance to their mission, the organization has already begun supporting and incubating startup companies, providing collaborative office space and business development resources to eight Oregon startups since May 1.  Oregon Story Board will be opening up the application process in June for their fall accelerator program.

For more information, go to www.oregonstoryboard.org and sign up for updates or follow @orstoryboard on Twitter.