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State means ‘action’ with new fund

Wed., Feb. 21, 2007

A Spokane film production company became the first beneficiary Tuesday of a new state fund set up to revitalize filmmaking in Washington.

Spokane’s North by Northwest Productions landed a $150,000 grant to offset some of the costs of creating a feature-length movie, tentatively titled “A Family for Christmas,” for the Lifetime TV network, said Harry Sladich, a board member of WashingtonFilmWorks and president of the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Filming will begin “very soon” and will be done over 21 days in Spokane, said Rich Cowan, president of North by Northwest. The grant will make up a portion of the film’s budget, which Cowan declined to disclose.

Nearly all the actors and a film crew of 40 or more will be local people, he said.

“I think it’s going to be great for the city and the state because it puts us on a level playing field with all these other states and countries” offering incentives to filmmakers, Cowan said.

A romantic comedy, the movie is about Doc Holiday, a 40-something bachelor, who “adopts” a couple of orphans and a wife to qualify for an inheritance, Cowan said.

Cameras will capture downtown Spokane, Riverfront Park and other sites.

“Everybody will see the charms of Spokane in the movie. And it’s going to be shown in virtually every country of the world,” Cowan said.

The film will air and be released on DVD during the Christmas season.

Sladich said he’s thrilled a Spokane company is receiving the commission’s inaugural grant.

“I’m very proud that Spokane was not only the first to contribute to the fund, but it’s the first to be approved for a project. It shows we know how to step up,” said Sladich, following the Seattle-based film board’s meeting.

Such local companies as Washington Trust Bank, Sterling Savings Bank and Advantage IQ were among the first companies to help fund the film initiative, established by the Legislature last year, Sladich said.

Corporations may count their contributions as credits against business and occupation tax payments.


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