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Zombies invade state Capitol to lobby for film tax breaks

by caprecord
Zombies invaded the state Capitol Tuesday to lobby for bigger film tax breaks. Photo by Ashley Stewart.

Film crews transformed Washington’s Capitol into a zombie apocalypse Tuesday to convince lawmakers to boost tax breaks for film and TV production within the state.

More than 200 cast and crew members from productions including SyFy series Z-Nation were there in support of a bill they say would keep more jobs in Washington.

Right now, Washington has $3.5 million in tax credits for in-state film and television production. Senate Bill 6027 would expand the pool to $5.25 million in 2016, $7 million in 2017, $8.5 million in 2018 and $10 million in 2019.

The state’s current tax break pool isn’t big enough, writer and director of Tuesday’s shoot Sue Corcoran said. She’s moved one of her own projects to Canada, she says, because was more affordable for the $6.6 million film. “That’s a lot of jobs,” she said.

Supporters say that’s nothing new. Washington can’t compete with $250 million in annual incentives in Vancouver, B.C. and $10 million in Oregon.

That’s partly why some of most famous production set in Washington, including Twilight and Grey’s Anatomy, were shot in other states. Russell Hodgkinson, a Seattle-based actor who plays “Doc” on Z-Nation, says that’s a shame. “Seattle is a beautiful place to shoot,” he said. “People love it here, we have outstanding crews and really top notch actors, but filmmakers don’t have much of an incentive to film here.”

Gov. Jay Inslee, who visited the Spokane set of Z-Nation last year, during a Tuesday press conference said it’s difficult to consider expanding tax breaks when lawmakers have an obligation under the McCleary decision to fully fund education this year. “It is a serious issue to see if we can help the movie industry,” he said. “But it’s just a matter of priorities.”

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Click through to see a timelapse of a zombie getting made up: