Councilmember Nelson, Community Celebrate Passage of Legislation Creating Seattle Film Commission

Passage is a ’milestone’ in efforts to retain and attract film production in Seattle

Seattle, WA – Councilmember Sara Nelson (Position 9, Citywide) was joined by dozens of film industry professionals, community members and special guests this morning at Seattle’s Ark Lodge Cinemas to celebrate the unanimous passage of her legislation to create the Seattle Film Commission. 

The Film Commission will advise the City on policies that strengthen Seattle’s film industry, generate inclusive career pathways into the industry, and advance the City’s economic development priorities in the creative economy. 

How the Commission Will Work 

Building on momentum from Washington State’s recent increase in film incentives and recommendations from the City’s Film Task Force, the Seattle Film Commission will serve as a conduit between the City and the film community to help bring film making back to Seattle and ensure creatives already in Seattle have more professional opportunities in their city with equity at the center of these efforts.  

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

Learn more about the legislation here

Ben Haggerty, better known as Macklemore, added: “Seattle is my home and I love making art here. I’ve filmed so many of my music videos with exceptional crew and beautiful locations. I’m excited to support Councilmember Sara Nelson’s bill creating a Seattle Film Commission.” Macklemore concluded: “This legislation will help pave the way for new and emerging artists to film their own music videos, documentaries, films, and tv shows. It’s time to give more support to creatives and highlight the many scenic areas that make this city great.” 

“Seattle has always been a hub for visionaries, and we need use every tool we can to help our creatives grow, thrive, and share our city’s story,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “This legislation will help uplift our film industry in Seattle, bringing us back into the spotlight while also boosting our creative economy and creating new job opportunities.” 

“Seattle has always been a center of arts and culture but our creatives are being priced out of town and we’ve lost our competitive edge to other cities when it comes to attracting film and television production,” said Councilmember Nelson. “That’s why the film community has been advocating for a commission of industry experts to help the City revitalize our film industry and better align with county and state efforts, driving job growth and economic development in the creative economy and beyond.” 

Set in Seattle, shot elsewhere 

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. Even the upcoming blockbuster Boys in the Boat being directed by George Clooney, which tells the story of the University of Washington men’s rowing team, is being filmed in the UK, not Seattle. View a list of just some of the movies set in Seattle, but shot elsewhere: 

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

Next Steps 

With Council passage, the legislation will be sent to Mayor Bruce Harrell for his signature. The legislation will take effect 30 days after it is signed. The Office of Economic Development will be tasked with staffing the commission. 

(Photo Credit: Seattle City Council Staff)
(Photo Credit: Seattle City Council Staff)