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Zombies To Invade Olympia’s Capitol Campus, Pressing For Filmmaker Incentives

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Coming soon to Olympia...

A TV set depicting a Zombie Apocalypse will go up in Olympia on Tuesday.

The makers of the sci-fi series “Z-nation” are setting up shop at the state capitol to show how many kinds of jobs are involved when film crews come to town. They’re pressing lawmakers to approve more incentives for movie making in Washington state.

"Z-Nation" is filmed in Spokane, but for one day, an apocalyptic set inspired by the show will be in Olympia to demonstrate how many jobs are linked to film work.

“For every dollar that we invest, we get more than $10 back in economic boost and family wage jobs,” said Heather Weiner, working for a campaign that’s bringing zombies to Olympia to show how important movie industry work is.

She says it’s not just the actors, camera crews and make-up artists on the set. There are also construction crews building them and support work that comes along with all of it.

“Hotels, people eating food, the truck rentals, the set rentals, everything else that's going on and that has an economic multiplier," she said.

The effect of movies on tourism has been evident at least since the 1990s, when "Sleepless in Seattle" was filmed here. That has been great advertising for the region. And the "Twilight" series of films, based on the popular vampire romance novels, has brought in lots of tourism dollars to the Olympic Peninsula.

But Weiner says Oregon is now beating Washington at the subsidies game.

“The state of Oregon (...) currently has a film incentive program at about $10 million per year. And they're ramping up to $ 20 million per year.  We only have an incentive program that's worth about $3," she said. "So we certainly don't want to lose even more jobs to Oregon.” 

A proposal working its way through the legislature would lift Washington’s cap on tax breaks and extend the incentives through 2016.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.
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