As the 2015 Washington state legislative session approaches, convening in Olympia on Jan. 12, interest groups all around are getting ready to make their cases for increased or maintained state funding. One of those is Washington Filmworks, the nonprofit tasked with managing the state's film production incentive program.
At an annual industry update last week at Nectar Tasting Room in downtown Spokane, Washington Filmworks' Director Amy Lillard, and Board of Directors Chair Don Jensen, shared successes of the year, and the organization's goals for the upcoming session.
Throughout this year, Washington Filmworks provided funding assistance for 13 TV episode (Z Nation), seven commercials, three projects at its Innovation Lab and one feature film (Captain Fantastic). That funding assistance was split roughly in half between projects in Eastern (51 percent) and Western Washington (49 percent).
Combined, projects in 2014 resulted in an estimated $33 million in economic impact for the state.
However, Lillard pointed out that even with those notable successes, Washington Filmworks was forced to turn away five big projects that would have generated an additional $55 million into the state economy. That's because Washington Filmworks' annual $3.5 million film industry incentive cap was spent by May.
Washington's film incentive program works like a cash rebate for qualifying productions made in-state. Funded by a portion of the state's business and occupation tax liabilities (corporations/individuals can choose to contribute to this fund, getting a dollar for dollar tax credit, up to $1 million), qualifying productions can apply to get 30 percent of what they spent here back from the state.
Washington's program to encourage filmmakers to work here is the fifth smallest in the nation, but interest in making films here is growing, Lillard told the group of about three dozen at the presentation last Thursday.
"We spent the summer looking to what we can do during the [legislative] session because it's hard to come up with the money," Lillard says.
While Washington Filmworks plans to ask state lawmakers to increase its incentive budget, Lillard says no official request has been determined at this point. However, if the state were able to take advantage of all the projects interested in shooting here, an estimated $24.3 million in funding assistance would be needed.
Anticipating the challenges ahead of legislators as they work to balance the 2015-17 biennium budget during the 2015 session, it's going to be a tough battle for everyone. The biggest priorities on the table are education, mental health services and the voter-approved class size reduction initiative.
Still, Lillard and Jensen urged attendees last week to reach out to their legislators, and to ask them to fight for increased funding for the film incentives.
"We know it's made a difference in employment," she adds. "We're committed to being transparent, and $24.3 million — is that feasible? I don't know."
When she grew tired of throwing on boring sweats on her way to work after exercising, former Spokane resident Danielle Hatch — now in Houston — began taking the comfy materials found in workout clothes and creatively piecing them together.
Georgie Wear products cater to a demographic of active women who don't feel the need to get all dolled up to transition from sweating it out at the gym to the rest of their daily activities. With backgrounds in fitness and art — she's a former member of Saranac Art Projects — Hatch gathered inspiration from her varying interests. Partnering with her husband, the idea for Georgie won the Rice University Jones School Owl Tank Business Plan Competition this year.
Like many modern entrepreneurs, Hatch and business partner Meikel Reece — friends since they were co-captains of their high school volleyball team — are using Kickstarter to raise $20,000. If they meet their goal, that money will go to a first run of Georgie clothing and an e-commerce site.
Based on the size of their pledge, backers of Georgie Wear on Kickstarter will have the option to pre-order products, such as various skirts and dresses.
Not halfway into its current, 68th season, the Spokane Civic Theatre has already announced the lineup of shows it plans to produce for its 69th year, starting in the fall of 2015.
Right now, the theater is staging a musical version of the classic Dickens' tale A Christmas Carol, running through Dec. 20. Read Inlander theater writer E.J. Iannelli's take on it in this week's issue, out a day early, on Wednesday, Nov. 26, in light of the Thanksgiving holiday.
For the 2014-15 season, the community theater kicked things off with a bang, opening with an impeccable production of Fiddler on the Roof. And those who saw it won't soon forget the previous season's sold-out run of Les Miserables.
Keeping with its theme of musicals and other familiar favorites, the Civic's 2015-16 season opens on the Main Stage with Catch Me If You Can, The Musical, Sept. 18-Oct. 18, 2015.
It will be followed by these shows, on the main stage:
Downstairs in the cozier Studio Theatre, the 69th season features:
I see it all too often. The playful, undeniably adorable little kittens (and puppies) are always picked over the calm, quiet, snuggly older cats (and dogs).
It's natural to gravitate toward the kittens. Baby animals are damn cute, and if someone brought me a kitten right now I wouldn't turn it away. But the senior cats and dogs, once adorable babies, too, who've been abandoned and surrendered to a shelter — these are the animals who really need more human attention and affection.
November is recognized nationally by shelters and rescue groups as "Adopt a Senior Pet Month," but this doesn't mean we should forget about those sweet oldies the rest of the year.
While the cons — health problems/risks, cost of care, emotional attachment fears — of adopting an animal nearing the end of its life are often the reasons people choose kittens first, older pets have many positive qualities often overlooked. They're calm. They're (usually) trained, or if not, they're actually better at catching on than younger animals. And, in more cases than with a younger animal, you're probably really saving a life when you adopt an older pet.
I'll admit I used to more often gravitate to the cuter and more active younger cats hanging out in the shelter's kitty room where I volunteer. But in the past couple years, a very special senior cat entered my life, and I've become totally won over by the quirks and qualities of senior cats.
But there are too many cats out there like her who aren't as lucky to have such a loving home. Countless senior pets are patiently waiting, right now, for the day they're not overlooked, and someone comes to pick them instead of their younger, rowdy kennel neighbors. Pets like Star.
This beautiful, regal calico came to the Spokane Humane Society in March of this year, and because of her age and a (manageable) health issue, she's been waiting for a home for the eight months since. Shelter staff can't pinpoint why, because Star is the definition of a "star" cat. She's already declawed in the front, although she's so quiet and well-mannered, she'd probably never think of being destructive.
Just because a cat has passed their kitten stage doesn't mean they're done with play time, and Star loves to bat around a toy or two when she's feeling frisky.
Since coming to the shelter, Star has been diagnosed with a very manageable condition, common in older cats, called hyperthyroidism. This requires her to take an inexpensive ($16/month) tablet twice a day, mixed into her food.
Star would do best in a calmer, quiet home. She doesn't particularly enjoy being around kids, who don't always understand she can't play all the time. All she really needs is someone who'll let her snuggle in their lap every once and a while. She doesn't really mind other cats, and lived with a feline companion before she was surrendered to the shelter.
Star was recently featured at last weekend's Spokane Humane Society Furr Ball gala, at the Davenport Hotel, where many guests doted over her beautiful, silky fur and her incredible calmness in such a busy, loud setting. Unfortunately, even though she seemed to win the hearts of many that night, she didn't find the home she longs for.
How wonderful if Star found a home for the holidays. She's not the only senior cat at SHS looking for a human to snuggle, though, and her other longtime friends at the shelter include Tigger, Stash, George, Fancy, Sam and Luna. SHS's partner shelters (SpokAnimal, SCRAPS) also have senior pets looking for homes, so if Star's not the cat for you, that's okay. We believe her special day will come!
Wow, no comments? I expected at least one person to troll this article.
I think you're missing someone and his honor.
he got tired of the b.s. too, such a shame to lose him...
So, let me get this straight. The governor and the state legislature abdicate their responsibility…