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Amy Lillard, executive director of Washington Filmworks, the nonprofit that manages the Motion Picture Competitiveness program, said the Spokane area is, so far this year, the preferred destination for films shooting in Washington, with four movies in the works.
The Washington state film office, Washington Filmworks, and a Yakima County tourism advocate want more filmmakers to come to the Yakima Valley because movies and TV shows spark interest in the area and put money into the local economy.
An incentive program credited for bringing “Z Nation” to Spokane is set to expire in June, and local leaders are asking lawmakers to extend it for the second time.
There’s more than civic pride riding on Friday night’s premiere of “Z Nation,” the zombie-apocalypse TV show filmed and produced in Spokane. It’s also become the symbolic centerpiece of Democratic state Senate challenger Rich Cowan’s pitch as the candidate with the best economic development résumé. Cowan’s studio, North By Northwest, is producing the 13-episode SyFy network series, which has brought the equivalent of about 200 full-time and mostly union-scale jobs to Spokane, as well as hundreds of other part-time opportunities.
A report that recommends Washington renew a 4-year-old program that supports movie, television and commercial production was forwarded to lawmakers Wednesday by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee. The Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, with an annual price tag of $3.5 million, has helped pay for dozens of movies, television episodes and commercials, keeping almost 800 people employed in the process, the report says.