ACTION! New effort to promote film production in King County

As part of his $169 million supplement to the 2019-2020 budget transmitted to the King County Council on Sept. 13, Executive Constantine included funding requests to launch the inaugural Creative Economy Initiative in King County. The initial budget prioritizes film production in King County.

Included in the $306,000 request:

  • $100,000 for grants to film producers who seek out and employ populations traditionally disadvantaged in the film industry. The grants will be a percentage of overall production costs.
  • $206,000 to hire an industry consultant to coordinate film-friendly policies. The funds will also sponsor community events such as film and music career days. In addition, King County will reduce the permit fee to film on County property from $500 to $25 to encourage film production across the region.

Executive Constantine also signed an Executive Order directing the County to leverage its real estate to help generate film business. While continuing to prioritize long-term real estate for affordable housing, the County will focus on short-term real estate for film production. Vacant county office properties are currently being used by a national television series as a production headquarters.

“For far too long, we’ve watched other locations steal film productions that rightfully belonged to King County. This budget request and Executive Order sends a signal that we value the movie industry, and want it to grow and thrive. No more business as usual – I am shaking things up and encouraging the creative economy so that we not only bring more jobs, but add to our cultural life, and share our unique Northwest perspective with the world,” said Executive Constantine.

Pressures on the creative economy include artist displacement, affordability, lack of production spaces, music venue closures, and lack of competitive film incentives.

Executive Constantine began his push to support the music and film industries by hiring a Creative Economy Strategist, Kate Becker, who started in April. As the first such arts-focused strategist at King County, Becker has been charged with working with elected officials and industry leaders to support a vibrant creative economy, beginning with the film and music sectors.

Director David Lynch, whose television series Twin Peaks was set at Twede’s Café, said he looks forward to watching the region’s film and music industry grow with the County’s support.

Executive Constantine was the only local elected leader who met with Lynch and his crew when they filmed the sequel, “Twin Peaks: The Return,” filmed partly in North Bend and Snoqualmie.

“I love the people in King County. I love the locations in King County. We had a perfect place to shoot Twin Peaks and perfect people to work with. Both Dow Constantine and Kate Becker are great! ” said David Lynch, director. “All in all it made shooting Twin Peaks there a dream.”

“I am excited that King County is advancing this Creative Economy Initiative that will initially support the important film and music sectors throughout the County,” said King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles. “As a State Senator, I championed film industry development for many years, and I am happy to now continue supporting this industry and other creative industry sectors at the County level. King County is the home to many creatives who produce work and generate content that puts King County on the map as a creative hub. We should do everything we can to ensure that these important creative sectors thrive. They are important to both our culture and our economy.”

“My district, King County District 3, has been home to some of the region’s most memorable films and episodic series, including Northern Exposure, Twin Peaks, The Vanishing, and Captain Fantastic,” said King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “I look forward to working with County and industry leaders to bring more film production, and the associated jobs and economic benefit, to our beautiful region.”