Perennially “on the cusp,” it seems, Seattle is finally creating new moviemaking opportunities on a scale not happening in any other market, and is now a bona fide hotbed, says the city’s Office of Film + Music Director Kate Becker, for the emerging VR/AR industry. A cluster of Seattle-based companies such as Pixvana, Zoo Break Productions and Electric Dream Factory, are driving development in this field, while University of Washington’s CoMotion Labs is bringing artists and VR companies together to plot the industry’s future. Becker also points to a year-over-year increase in film permits and notes the city’s strength in both traditional Hollywood and indie productions, which are prospering in sync due to a robust, talented crew base, and to Seattle’s natural beauty and livability.
Adding further to the city’s growing reputation for film excellence are numerous recent accomplishments by Seattle women in the industry, including director SJ Chiro’s film Lane 1974 receiving multiple festival nods and Beth Barrett being named as the first female Artistic Director of SIFF. In so many ways, Seattle is laying the groundwork for its future: its film incentive program (the state provides funding assistance for in-state spend of up to 30 percent for films and some episodic TV) was given a 10-year renewal in 2017, providing stability for another decade.