Urban Politics #108: Film: Shooting-In-Seattle


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By City Councilmember Nick Licata.

With assistance from my Legislative Assistant Newell Aldrich on this issue.

Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public policy developments and personal experiences with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle’s future.

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Film: Shooting-In-Seattle

The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), for the first time ever, will feature local filmmakers and their projects in a special series, “On Location – Shooting in Seattle”. As part of this new event – which I initiated – films shot and produced in Seattle, including narrative feature films, documentaries, short films and featurettes, will compete for a “A Shooting in Seattle Recognition Award” to be announced on June 17th at the Golden Space Needle awards ceremony.

The Seattle Arts Commission and the Mayor’s Film and Video Office also played a critical roles in bringing about this film series and an accompanying script read-through and a panel discussion focusing on making films in Seattle.

As chair of the Council’s Culture, Arts, and Parks (CAP) Committee, I proposed this addition to SIFF as a showcase for local filmmakers. The City should promote local film making the same as we promote visual and performance arts. Seattle may not replace Hollywood in the 21st Century, but we are becoming a vital center of creativity in cinema. Let’s nurish it.

The film selection process included a committee comprised of representatives from several of Seattle’s most respected film arts organizations including 911 Media Arts Center, Wiggly World and the Northwest Film Forum, Cinema Seattle, Microcinema, Inc./Blackchair Productions, and the Seattle Art Museum’s Film Program.

The series will be anchored by the world premiere of Farewell to Harry, a feature shot on Bainbridge Island and directed by Garrett Bennett. Preceding this feature is director Mark O’Connell’s short film, Strange Ships. Also premiering in the series is James Bazan’s feature length documentary, Rock and Roll Won’t Wait, an inside look at local music bad boys (and girl), The Murder City Devils. Screening with Bazan’s film is Paul Fraser’s featurette Chick Bloodhound, and Kelly Requa’s short Last Whiskey.

Other short films selected for this series are being presented under two headings that speak for themselves: Emotional Landscapes, and Cityscapes. All screening locations and times will be announced May 10th by the Seatle International Film Festival.

Festival programmer and longtime Seattle filmmaker Janice Findley recognizes how difficult it can be to get work shown in Seattle. She says that SIFF is paying a highly visible tribute to Seattle filmmakers with SIS; a terrific and welcome change in the community for our wide spectrum of filmmakers.

A jury comprised of the series’ programmers will select one of the SIS films to be awarded with special recognition. The winning filmmaker will receive an extensive prize package made up of generous donations by Kodak, Glenn Sound, 911 Media Arts Center, and Wiggly World which can be used toward the production of another local film project.

The Seattle International Film Festival is one of the top five Film Festivals in North America, as cited in The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Atlantic Monthly, Film Comment and Variety. The SIFF Box Office can be reached at (206) 324-9996. A full line-up of films is available on line at www.seattlefilm.com

Hopefully “On Location: Shooting-in-Seattle” will spur more local filmmaking by becoming a regular feature of the SIFF.

Developing A Kiosk Program

There will be a Public Hearing on Tuesday, May 15 at 6PM before a joint meeting of the Culture, Arts, and Parks Committee and the Neighborhoods, Sustainability, and Community Development Committee. The purpose of the Public Hearing will be to take testimony about proposed changes to the City’s off premise sign code.

The changes to the sign code are prompted by my and Councilmember Conlin’s desire to start a citywide Community Kiosk Program. You may recall that in 1998 Councilmember Conlin and I co-convened a Community Kiosk Task Force (CKTF). The task force was to make recommendations to promote the public posting of community notices, lost pet fliers, and other types of local, neighborhood communication.

The Task Force discovered early on that kiosks are off-premise signs. The City has an ordinance restricting off premise signs because of traffic/pedestrian safety and esthetic concerns. In order to develop a Kiosk Program the City must amend the off-premise sign code, but must do it in a way that traffic/pedestrian safety and esthetic goals are not jeopardized.

The proposed amendments to the Sign Code are available through the Department of Design, Construction, and Land Use (DCLU).

In order to amend the Sign Code, it is important to demonstrate that the amendment will serve a public purpose. The Community Kiosk Task Force identified public communication and political discourse as the public purpose but it’s crucial that a part of the legal record be the testimony of people who care about the importance of communication as a tool in a democratic society.

For more information about the amendments to the Sign Code, you can contact Kristian Kofoed of DCLU at (206) 233-7191, or by e-mail

Another recommendation of the Community Kiosk Task Force was to streamline the policies and procedures of the City Departments involved in kiosk development. The City’s Department of Transportation (SeaTran) has developed a Director’s Rule to address the concerns ranging from traffic safety to maintenance to design and land use concerns.

Design —-

The Task Force recommended that 2 design options be provided by the City for those communities that want maximum ease of implementation. City Light offered to fabricate a prototype. A subcommittee of the CKTF worked to develop a design. The Seattle Design Commission has reviewed this design for the prototype kiosk and enthusiastically approved it. We just have some finishing touches before City Light can move ahead and fabricate the prototype kiosk. City Light anticipates completion of the kiosk prototype by mid-June.

Getting the word out —–

Finally, the CKTF recommended that the Department of Neighborhoods prepare a brochure describing the program and each of its elements. If you’d like to review the draft brochure, give Shireen Deboo a call at: 684-0547, or e-mail

Is your neighborhood group interested in using community kiosks as a way to help get the word out about local events? garage sales? lost dogs? Are you wondering how to get a kiosk for your neighborhood? Attend the workshop on kiosks!

Where: Seattle central Community College, 3rd floo;r Pine/Broadway on Capitol Hill; When: Saturday, May 19 9am workshop starts at 9:30am For more information, contact Shireen Deboo, 684 0547

 
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