Councilmember Nelson introduces legislation to create Film Commission, bring the film & TV industry back to Seattle 

Home » Councilmember Nelson introduces legislation to create Film Commission, bring the film & TV industry back to Seattle 

Seattle, WA – Councilmember Sara Nelson (Position 9, Citywide) held a briefing this morning on new legislation she’s sponsoring to create the Seattle Film Commission. The commission would advise city leaders on the development of policies and programs to bring the film/TV industry back to Seattle.  

How the Commission Will Work 

Building off momentum from Washington State’s recent increase in incentives, the Seattle Film Commission will advise Seattle city leaders on ways to bring film back to Seattle and serve as a conduit between the city and the film industry.  

The commission will consist of 11 members well-qualified to represent Seattle’s film industry. Five members will be appointed by the Council, five by the Mayor, and one by the commission itself. 


“Seattle’s film industry has been asking for this commission for years, and I have made it a priority since day one. Every movie or TV show set in Seattle but filmed elsewhere represents hundreds of jobs lost for our creative workers, millions of dollars not being spent in our local economy, and a lost opportunity to showcase our amazing city to the world. With this commission we’re sending a message to the film industry – Seattle is back,” said Councilmember Nelson

“Seattle is a film town through and through. By embracing a collaborative One Seattle approach we can reinvigorate our film industry – creating art and jobs at the same time. This effort will put the right leaders in the room to help storyboard our path forward and drive needed action. I look forward to continuing to work on this issue with Councilmember Nelson, our Office of Economic Development, and a wide array of film stakeholders and community leaders,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell.

“Our film industry is an important part of our economy and our culture – they tell our stories and lift up perspectives from across the City. This new film commission will partner with the City on the best ways we can support the workers and businesses in the film sector, and capitalize on new opportunities the statewide incentive will bring to our region for film production. It’s an exciting development that will help us grow our local film economy and bring more film productions to Seattle,” said Markham McIntyre, the Director of Seattle’s Office Economic Development. 

“This critical legislation from our partners in Seattle will create opportunity for some of Seattle’s most talented creatives to put their heads together and chart a path for Seattle back to the big screen. Under the leadership of Executive Constantine, King County is already seeing results from our work to bring film and TV back to the region,” said Kate Becker, Creative Economy & Recovery Director, Office of King County Executive Dow Constantine. 

The Problem 

Through the 1990s, many classic movies set in Seattle were shot in Seattle. That includes Sleepless in Seattle, Singles, 10 Things I Hate About You, and many more films that brought millions of dollars into the local economy and provided well-paying jobs in the arts and entertainment industries.  

However, over the past 20 years, we’ve been outcompeted. Films and TV shows set in Seattle are more often shot in Vancouver, BC than our city. That includes recent high-budget productions like 50 Shade of Grey, The Killing, Where’d You Go Bernadette, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Even the upcoming blockbuster The Boys in the Boat being directed by George Clooney, which tells the story of a University of Washington men’s rowing team, is being filmed in the UK, not Seattle. 

This commission would be tasked with addressing that problem and making Seattle a more attractive option for all sorts of film/TV projects.  

Next Steps 

The Council’s Economic Development, Technology, and City Light Committee received briefings about the legislation today. It is scheduled to be voted on by the Committee on September 14. If it’s approved, it would then go to Council for a final vote as soon as September 20.


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