Summer films mark a wrap for film industry in Wash. state

Summer films mark a wrap for film industry in Wash. state »Play Video
SEATTLE -- Four feature films are being made in Seattle this summer. But after that, it's a wrap for the film industry in Washington state.

Now that lawmakers are ending financial incentives, filmmakers will take their movies elsewhere.

The film "Fat Kid Rules the World" follows an obese teen saved by a street kid and punk music. The story is set in New York, but filmmakers are using Ballard as the backdrop.

"We rewrote it so that it would work here, and a big reason was because of the film incentives," said film producer Jennifer Maas.

The film is one of the final four receiving incentives. To lure Hollywood here, lawmakers let filmmakers get a 30 percent rebate for using local crews and vendors.

"This program gave out $14 million, actually got $54 million in direct spending in this state," said Amy Lillard, executive director of Washington Filmworks. "So the return on the investment is very clear."

And that money multiplied, but the budget crisis brought the curtain down. The Legislature didn't renew the program.

"Without an incentive, you're not going to get production up here," said producer Rick Rosenthal.

"The fact that the incentive is dead in this city is so bananas, it's ridiculous," said director Matt Lillard. "(It's) completely killing thousands of peoples' lives."

Out-of-work crews could follow cameras to one of the other 40 states still offering Hollywood deals.

"I fear a lot of films heading to Seattle will end up in Portland instead," Rosenthal said.

Washington Filmworks plans to to ask the Legislature again to look at the big picture, and bring back the incentive program before the spotlight on Washington expires.