Seattle actor and director Ben Andrews can recall the moment when the thought hit him – the idea that the Pacific Northwest is being overlooked as a source of content for Hollywood.
Ben wasn’t angry or upset, but determined to try and change that. Without adequate funding from the state’s film office to truly be an incentive to come to Washington, there had to be other reasons why Hollywood would look to the Pacific Northwest.
The answer was simple, a robust pool of creative talent and a diverse geography that rivals any state in the country.
And the Seattle Film Summit (SFS) was born. This year’s eventl is packed with more speakers and more sessions than the previous three events combined, a testament to the potential Seattle has of making a larger mark on the nation’s film industry.
“It’s time. Simple as that,” said Andrews, the founder of the event. “The Northwest is one of the most progressive, growing, and exciting parts of our country. We have the talent and the community needed to not only become an industry hub, but redefine storytelling.”
Andrews, who’s been a Seattle actor and director for the past 13 years, said the region’s focus on social responsibility comes at a time when the film industry is being forced to be more self-reflective. He believes this creates an opportunity to see a shift how and where films are created. And why not Seattle to be a haven for that?
With the goal of inspiring regional filmmakers, writers and producers, the Summit is featuring speakers and panelists who have worked for some of the industry’s most prolific companies, including SONY Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and WME.
Northwest content creators; writers, directors, and actors have an exclusive opportunity to connect with some of the TV and film industry’s top professionals at the (SFS), Saturday, Dec.9 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 10, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the HYATT Regency Lake Washington in Seattle’s Southport.
But this isn’t just about local creatives getting the opportunity to learn from some of Hollywood’s best. The event is intended to provide two-way opportunities.
Fellow Seattle Film Summit Partner, and longtime Seattle producer, writer and actor, Lorraine Montez said the event can shine a light on the local talent to many of the film industry’s decision makers attending the event.
“The Summit is a conduit to connect storytellers with content consumers,” she said. “I’ve been a part of the entertainment industry since I was a kid, but I’ve found our storytelling world is changing. This event is part of that change.”
The event brings industry experts from Los Angeles to the Pacific Northwest in a variety of fields including: screenwriting, distribution, funding and production. Panelists have worked on numerous popular film and TV series such as “Legend,” “Stand by Me,” and the new “Orville,” by Seth Macfarlane. They’ve worked with such notable actors as Will Smith, Richard Gere, and Denzel Washington.
The Seattle Film Summit relies on a group of passionate and talented independent film industry pros in the Northwest to forge new and unique partnerships in the creative industries.
In addition to inspiring local talent with presentations from top industry experts, the Summit also aims to showcase Washington’s proliferous geographic canvas for digital content creators.
“An entrepreneurial culture and one of the most attractive parts of the country are also reasons to consider projects in Washington state. It’s time we tell this story.” Andrews said.
Added to the workshops and guest speakers in 2017, the Summit expanded its programming to include a pitch conference and pitch sessions with industry professionals from Los Angeles, and workshops by local professionals.
Seattle native and professional screenwriter Jonathan Keasey believes Seattle can be known for more than technology. He sees the event as the catalyst for so much more.
“There’s no reason film and television can’t be on that list of things this region is known for,” said Keasey who is also a Seattle Film Summit partner. “The Seattle Film Summit can be a bellwether in the years to come.”
Andrews and Montez agree the Pacific Northwest could be on the verge of something significant with events such as the Seattle Film Summit to catapult the region into a higher level of film industry recognition.
A simple credo guides the group dedicated to putting the event on: The Seattle Film Summit empowers and inspires content generators to discover and develop innovative methods of storytelling, funding, and distribution towards the goal of creating a robust native media production industry that provides well-paying, stable jobs for Washington residents.
“The puzzle pieces have been here for a long time. Now we’re seeing the partnerships come together that could prove to be transformational,” said Andrews.