By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index
Have you ever noticed that many of the most popular movies and TV shows set in or associated with the Puget Sound area aren’t actually filmed here?
The film industry has remained relatively dormant in Washington state in recent years, but not in neighboring Oregon and British Columbia.
Even the “Twilight” series, apparently centered in Forks, Washington, was actually filmed in various locations in Oregon and British Columbia.
If you’re a “Twilight” fan, you can see (but you probably already knew) the relevant details here: https://twilightsaga.fandom.com/wiki/Filming_locations.
Many films are set here, but few are actually filmed here.
We all know that movies make money, but few of us consider that making movies also makes money.
Film production requires a constellation of expenses ranging from housing to catering and much more.
A film shoot can reinvigorate a local economy and could, as in the case of Forks or Roslyn (set and filming location of the television series Northern Exposure) permanently lock this community into the landscape of American popular culture.
You can see a list of movies shot, but not necessarily shot in Washington, here https://www.imdb.com/list/ls009074184/.
Among the most obvious, like “Sleepless in Seattle” or the various films based on the eruption of Mount St. Helens, or “It Happened at the World’s Fair” (1963) centered on Elvis, who among did we know that movies like “Air Bud” or “An Officer and a Gentleman” had ties to Washington State?
For some reason, the heyday of film production in and around Washington was in the mid to late 1990s.
To say the least, a lot has changed since then.
From Tik-Tok to smart phones to COVID, technology, likes and platforms have been unrecognizable ever since.
For a combination of reasons, mostly financial, there was a film boom in British Columbia in the early 2000s.
Over 300 Hallmark movies have been shot in the Greater Vancouver/Victoria area from 2000 to 2020. (https://www.imdb.com/list/ls082646686/)
Hundreds of well-known films have been shot, at least in part, in British Columbia. Here is a partial list: https://www.ranker.com/list/movies-filmed-in-british-columbia/reference.
And if Netflix is more your style, you can see where many of your favorite shows were filmed here: https://www.netflixinyourborough.ca/?.
Many movies, TV shows, and commercials are shot in our area, but few in our state.
And many of us wish, for various reasons, to see more filming done here.
Enter Washington Filmworks
Since the launch of Washington Filmworks (www.washingtonfilmworks.org) in February 2007, more than 123 productions have achieved principal photography, including more than 44 feature films, 18 episodic projects, 57 commercials, three shorts and at least one virtual reality.
These productions, in just over a decade, have collectively spent more than $132 million in communities across Washington State, while receiving $37.9 million in financial incentives.
This return on investment represents tangible economic development and support for dozens, if not hundreds, of businesses in Washington State.
To put it simply, filmmaking is an easy investment with a lasting impact.
Washington Filmworks may be based in Seattle, but that doesn’t mean filmmaking is even remote there.
If you walk around our state, as I like to do, you know we have islands, dense forests, grasslands, small towns, a snow-capped Bavarian village, serene Japanese gardens, and a whole range of wine-growing vineyards. .
In fact, if you’re looking for a filming location, a wedding venue, or just a weekend road trip, take a look at nearly 2,000 locations here: https://wa.reel-scout.com/ loc_results.aspx.
For a little history of film production in our state, check out this recent segment on KUOW.