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Funding Filmmakers

Are you a filmmaker in search of funding? Have you considered applying to Washington Filmworks – they manage the State’s economic development spending on film production – only to learn your budget was too small?

Well, this may be your chance. Washington Filmworks has initiated a new program aimed at funding films too small to qualify for their standard funding program.

I’m getting the word out on this program because I’ve always had a love for film. In 2003 I wanted to encourage the production of smaller films in Seattle, so I added a provision allowing so-called “low-impact productions” filming in Seattle to pay a flat $25 permit fee for up to 14 days of filming rather than the usual fee of up to $300 per day.

Washington Filmworks’ new program is called Filmworks Innovation Lab. They are committing up to $350,000 annually to fund up to 30% of the budget for motion picture productions that:

  • Are narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, or a series pilot, feature-length or shorts.
  • Spend $50,000-$499,999 on qualified in-state expenditures upon award of Filmworks Innovation Lab funding. Their standard funding program requires a minimum of between $150,000 and $500,000 in expenditures.
  • Have 85% of their workforce reside in Washington State.
  • Utilize Washington residents in at least two of three positions: Writer, Director, and Cinematographer.
  • Utilize at least one Producer residing in Washington State.
  • Utilize at least one Lead Actor residing in Washington resident.

Washington Filmworks awards funding through the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program (MPCP). The MPCP was created by the Washington State Legislature to “revitalizing the state’s economic, cultural, and educational standing in the market of motion picture production, and assisting and providing services for attracting the film industry” to do business in Washington. In March of this year, legislation passed that renewed the MPCP.  This new legislation allows Washington Filmworks to commit up to 10% of its annual funding allocation to provide financial support for local filmmakers and film projects using new forms of production.

Preliminary applications are due August 31st. From among those, Washington Filmworks will invite eligible applicants to submit more detailed information by September 30th.

For more information click here, on their Factsheet and Guidelines publications.

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