Last night I went for a walk in my neighborhood and discovered a movie being shot just down the street from my house. A bunch of my neighbors were standing around. They said they’d just seen Brendan Fraser ace his scene. He walked from a car, into a house, and closed the door. Not much action, in my mind, but the neighborhood sure was buzzing about it. It made me start to wonder about the role of film in the Oregon economy. What’s the art of filmmaking here? And how is business doing?
According to the curators of the Oregon Sesquicentennial Film Festival (which begins this weekend at Marylhurst University in Lake Oswego), Oregonians have made “significant contributions to the movie industry.” While most people think of Free Willy, The Shining, and The Goonies, when they reflect on films made here, the Film Festival website lists many, many more.
The Governor’s Office of Film and Television — known as Oregon Film for short — works to entice companies to shoot their films in the state. They say every dollar they spend generates an estimated $53 in direct revenue from out-of-state productions. What is the state doing to attract these productions? Are they doing enough? Or are our Canadian neighbors drawing more of the business? What role does filmmaking play in the Oregon economy?
And what is it like for Oregonians creating films here? What does the state do to cultivate filmmakers? Is it a good, creative place to work? What mark does Oregon leave on filmmakers who call this state home?
- James Ivory: Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and co-founder of Merchant Ivory Productions who grew up in Klamath Falls and attended the University of Oregon
- Mike Rich: Oregon screenwriter whose credits include “Finding Forrester” and “The Rookie”
- Irene Taylor Brodsky: Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker who lives in Portland
- Vince Porter: Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Film and Television
- Shawn Levy: Film columnist and blogger for the Oregonian