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Film Task Force: Introduction to the Priority Committees

The Film Task Force is a diverse group of film industry and community stakeholders assembled in February 2020 to advise the Office of Film + Music and the City of Seattle on ways to best support the local film industry and community.  

The Film Task Force was developed in response to the Office of Film + Music’s 2019 film industry roundtable recommendations. Film Task Force members were selected through a public application and nomination process from December 2019 through January 2020, with members seated through recommendations by a panel of industry experts and stakeholders. 

Equity, inclusivity, and support and prioritization of BIPOC and underserved businesses and communities are the foundation of the Film Task Force’s advisory work. Through this lens, coupled with the recommendations from the 2019 film industry roundtables, the Film Task Force has the established four key priorities in their work over the last four months in the form of subcommittees.  

With the Coronavirus pandemic and the complete shut-down of the film industry, the subcommittee’s work is additionally lensed through prioritizing City policies to support reopening of film production and recovery of the film industry. 

Equity and Inclusivity Subcommittee 

The Film Task Force recognizes that civil rights are human rights. The Seattle film industry, like all industries in the United States of America, is entrenched in institutional racism, and has been historically inequitable to people of color, women, queer, transgender, nonbinary, people with disabilities, and people from economically disadvantaged areas. The Film Task Force Equity and Inclusivity subcommittee leads and advise the City on policies, initiatives, and procedures that address equity and inclusivity for underserved communities and persons of color’s access to and integration within Seattle’s film industry. The Equity and Inclusivity subcommittee works to ensure that the OFM embeds the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative in all functions of the office, and leads its work through the lens of race and social justice, in support, prioritization, and advocacy for underserved communities. 

Subcommittee members:

  • Shellea Allen, Executive Director, SAG-AFTRA 
  • Ashley Ball, Senior Producer, C+C 
  • Virginia Bogert, Laughing Dog Pictures, LLC., President Emerita of Women in Film Seattle and curator of Post Alley Film Festival 
  • Sarah Crowe, Senior Producer, Amazon 
  • Abie Ekenezar, Seattle-based actress, singer, screen writer and producer 
  • Maria Gargiulo, Emmy award winning director-producer 
  • Vivian Hua, Executive Director, Northwest Film Forum 
  • Susan LaSalle, Senior Producer at Kully Struble, Unit Production Manager in the Directors Guild of America 
  • Lacey Leavitt, Co-founder/CEO of Electric Dream Factory 
  • Myron Partman, Owner, Chameleon Creative Services 
  • Anthony Tackett, CEO Tackett Films, producer at One Vibe Africa 
  • Cleven Ticeson, Senior Post Production Editor at KCTS 
  • Netsanet “Netsie” Tjirongo, writer, director, and community organizer 

The Film Commission Subcommittee  

While supporting the film industry for 30 years, first through the Film Office and then the Office of Film + Music, an official film advisory commission has never existed in Seattle or Washington State. The Film Commission subcommittee has prioritized the formation of an ordained Seattle Film Commission, by writing bylaws defining the structure and purpose of the proposed commission. The Film Commission subcommittee recommends the commission’s mission be to assist and advise in perpetuity the City of Seattle, Seattle Office of Economic Development, and Office of Film + Music, on the economic development, sustainability, and the vital importance of Seattle’s film industry as part of the City’s prioritization of the creative economy, through the lens of equity and inclusivity. 

Subcommittee members:

  • Virginia Bogert, Laughing Dog Pictures, LLC., President Emerita of Women in Film Seattle and curator of Post Alley Film Festival 
  • Brice Budke, Seattle-based producer and partner at Shep Films 
  • Susan LaSalle, Senior Producer at Kully Struble, Unit Production Manager in the Directors Guild of America 
  • Melissa Purcell, Northern Business Agent at I.A.T.S.E. Local 488 

Prioritization of Film Production in Seattle 

The Office of Economic Development stated in 2019 that the film industry is at the center of the creative economy and the future of the City’s prioritization of creative industries. The Prioritization subcommittee is tasked with leading recommendations related to the City of Seattle’s film-related policies. This includes advocacy for film work as a critical component of Seattle’s creative economy, analysis of policies that prioritize film permitting and use of public property, and strategies for protecting and supporting film industry workers and businesses. The committee is spearheading the Film Task Force’s efforts to establish and maintain robust relationships with the City officials, and departments and private organizations that partner with Seattle on film policies. The subcommittee is advising on policies and procedures for the City and other tax-funded organizations to hire local production companies and workers to produce content. The subcommittee is also highlighting the issues of payroll protection and job misclassification for gig and freelance workers and technicians in the film industry. 

Subcommittee members:

  • Dave Drummond, Seattle-based location manager  
  • Brice Budke, Seattle-based producer and partner at Shep Films 
  • Maggie Stenson, actor and Executive Producer, Showtunes Theatre 
  • Myron Partman, Owner, Chameleon Creative Services; 
  • Melissa Purcell, Northern Business Agent at I.A.T.S.E. Local 488 
  • Gregory Smith, Gaffer/Key Grip, Principal Partner-Elevation Grip & Lighting. 

Market Seattle as a Filming Destination 

While Seattle is a strong indie film and commercial production center, Seattle cannot rely on looks and strong crew alone. Seattle’s industry relies on strong marketing and branding as the place to bring film production. The Market Seattle subcommittee is charged with advising on development of branding and marketing platforms that will effectively market Seattle as the filmmaking destination. By working with existing stakeholders and data, the Market Seattle subcommittee prioritizes two primary marketing objectives: Work across the industry to define how Seattle can be positioned as a great place to bring a project, and work with local agencies and stakeholders to build Seattleites support for the work the film industry brings to our neighborhoods and City. These recommendations will take the form of traditional marketing, regional and state-wide collaboration, and innovation on ways to bring local industry and community together to support film production in Seattle. 

Subcommittee members:

  • Peter Barnes, CEO, Clatter&Din, Inc., Production&Post 
  • Beth Barrett, SIFF Artistic Director 
  • Virginia Bogert, Laughing Dog Pictures, LLC., President Emerita of Women in Film Seattle and curator of Post Alley Film Festival 
  • Dave Drummond, Seattle-based location manager 
  • Myron Partman, Owner, Chameleon Creative Services 
  • Gregory Smith, Gaffer/Key Grip, Principal Partner-Elevation Grip & Lighting 
  • Maggie Stenson, actor and Executive Producer, Showtunes Theatre 

Over the next few months, we will introduce all members of the Film Task Force and take a deeper look at each of the subcommittees, and the work that they are doing to engage Seattle’s film industry and community.