“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King’s words speak of a singular dedication toward a common goal of justice. Sacrifice. Suffering. Struggle.
Sounds kind of like making a film too, doesn’t it? Who endures struggle and tireless exertions if not for a cause greater than any one individual – a cause that with hope, leads to progress in the human condition.
Washington has made great strides toward progress in 2012. Our state approved landmark legislation for marriage equality and social justice in November. Of particular interest to us filmmakers – in June, Washington’s elected officials reapproved the Motion Picture Competitiveness program (i.e. Washington’s film incentive) – empowering our state to compete on a level playing field with our neighbors to the north and south of us. What it does, simply, is offer producers 30% cash back on production expenses incurred in Washington State. That’s crews, hotels, rental cars, restaurants, safety personnel, critter wranglers – you name it – 30% of a budget spent within Washington returned to the producer within 30 days. It means jobs for Washingtonians and exceptional value for filmmakers who want to take advantage of the stunning locations Washington State has to offer. Not to mention expert, seasoned crews. It’s a win-win for producers, filmmaking as a whole and Washington’s economy – and it progresses us forward toward a perpetual, totally sustainable industry here in the Great Northwest.
On a parting note of film, gorgeous locations and justice – Along with a super talented team, I’ve had the privilege of directing a feature documentary this year called The Breach that will chronicle several stories of hope vs. several stories of potential disaster for remaining wild Pacific salmon stocks. Our cornerstone story of hope is the beautiful Elwha River on the Olympic Peninsula. For 100 years the Elwha people have sacrificed, suffered and struggled after two dams were built that blocked the wild salmon that fed them for millennia. 40 years of tireless exertions and passionate concern by scores of souls dedicated to seeing the Elwha run free once more, saw the light of justice when both dams were removed between September 2011 and November 2012. The human effort involved in achieving the largest dam removal in history has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. The return of salmon to the Elwha People after 100 years gives hope for justice and our progress as a species.
If you have a tireless cause – or a story you’d like to tell to move us, further – we’d love to have you join us, and tell it here in Washington.
Originally published in Washington Film Magazine – January, 2013
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