I’ll admit that I (and maybe you don’t much either) give scarcely a thought to film as it pertains to the world of politics. One comprises a vast collection of freethinking artists and technicians who aim to entertain the masses, the other a formal body of lawmakers governing those same masses. They cross paths at one crucial point, however: money.
On Wednesday, February 23, citizens can witness a rare union of these disparate spheres. Dubbed “Film Day” by Washington Filmworks, this Seattle-based organization invites moviemakers and cinephiles alike to join them from noon to 4 P.M. at our state capitol’s Cherberg Building in support of two pieces of legislation currently under discussion. If approved, House Bill 1554 and Senate Bill 5539 (what peppy names!) will reinvigorate the state’s Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, which grants funding to non-resident filmmakers who use Washington for their productions.
Denise Gibbs, owner of regional casting agency Foreground Background, knows firsthand the issues at stake on Film Day. “Our film community would be devastated with the loss of [the MPCP],” she says. “It is our number-one tool to bring and keep the big projects that come here [and] spend millions of dollars for crew, actors and support services. It pumps money back into our local economy and provides jobs even in a recession.”
Filmworks Executive Director Amy Lillard shares Gibbs’s viewpoint and offers us a straightforward, practical approach to the issue: “This bill is…not about Hollywood, or stars, or anything like that. It’s about keeping Washington workers employed.” She strongly encourages others to write their legislators.