EFS Spotlight - Q&A

Q&A – Tim Williams, Oregon Film

Q&A – Tim Williams, Oregon Film

Sidney Moore

March 8th, 2016

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While crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter have significantly increased opportunities for financing film productions, other funding resources exist in Oregon for filmmakers. Recently, the Oregon Legislative Assembly increased the amount of maximum total tax credits for certified film productions — through the Oregon Production Investment Fund — from $10 million to $14 million.

EFS Blogger, Sidney Moore, spoke with Tim Williams, Executive Director of the Oregon Governor’s Office of Film & Television, to learn more about what opportunities filmmakers have to finance independent films in the state.

EFS: What exactly will Senate Bill 1578 do for filmmakers?

Williams: The bill will increase the annual cap for indigenous filmmakers from 10 million to 14 million dollars. What this means is that there are now significantly more rebates that film productions can receive from the state.

EFS: How will the Senate Bill 1578 affect filmmakers in Oregon?

Williams: What we’re trying to do is get more filmmaking done in areas outside of Portland. A big part of this bill is what we’re calling ROPIF, or the Rural Incentives Program. It’s directed towards providing funding for filmmakers outside of the Portland Metro area. In theory, this will create a more balanced filming system, both by providing funding to filmmakers working in the area, as well as drawing filmmakers to these areas. It is our hope that established productions such as Grimm and The Librarians will shoot at least several episodes per season in areas outside of Portland. Moreover, it will give more filmmakers an incentive to work outside of the Metro area. It is the hope of the Oregon Film Office that within the next two years, there will be two to three productions based entirely in areas outside of Portland.

EFS: What effect does filmmaking have on the economy in Oregon?

Williams: In Portland alone, the film industry spends about 130 million dollars each year.  In addition, the Department of Employment has reported a nearly sixty percent increase in jobs in the film industry since the introduction of the incentives program.

EFS: How effective have the existing incentives programs been in increasing film and television  production in Oregon?

Williams: The incentives programs in Oregon started in 2005, and since then we have experienced a 17 fold increase in funding, up to ten million dollars annually. The program has caused filming in Oregon to grow slowly and steadily, and continues to rise, which is beneficial to Oregon filmmakers. The fact that it is not overgrown eliminates the need to pull crews in from outside the state.

EFS: Besides the incentives program, what other avenues exist for filmmakers looking for funding?

Williams: There are personal grants offered in most cities and counties, which are also funded by the state. Some of the grants offered are dependent on what the project is trying to achieve. There are certain grants which are allocated specifically for documentaries and projects which aim to have a social impact versus those which are purely commercial.

EFS: Do you hope to attract more filmmakers and films to Oregon from outside?

Williams: Right now, we’re focusing mostly on indigenous filmmakers, people who are native to Oregon or who have been here or worked here for a long time.

EFS: What type of content is being produced the most in Oregon?

Williams: One of the great things about the state for filmmakers is that not only do creative people want to work here, but they also want to live here. This contributes to a more stable and permanent workforce, versus a temporary workforce. It also lends itself to a collaborative environment, given that the same people often work with each other on several different projects. But probably the best thing about it is that it contributes to very diverse styles of filmmaking. We have great resources for animation here, but we also have features and series being produced here, as well as documentaries.

To learn more about crowdfunding film projects with Kickstarter, join local filmmakers and other film industry professionals at The Big Mix v2 on Saturday, March 12 at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets can be purchased at the Hult Center Box Office or on the Hult Center website.

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