SALEM, Ore. - Yesterday, House Democrats passed House Bill 4153, which sets aside 2% of the $20 million invested in the Oregon Production Investment Fund (OPIF) annually to attract and retain Oregon talent for film, video and TV productions across the state.
The bill creates jobs and pathways for filmmakers to break into the industry through providing grants to individuals and production projects, fund matching, creator and storyteller support, investment in production and development and educational programming.
“Our community is overflowing with creatives and hard-workers eager to develop their talents and pursue their dreams. They are in desperate need of the access to resources to make those dreams a reality. This bill is one way to fill that gap,” said Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas), a chief sponsor of the bill, movie buff and self-described documentary nerd.
Oregon has a long history of filmmaking, starting back in 1908. Eugene, the Cascades and Coast have all been locations for major productions for adventure films and cult favorites like “Twilight.” Most notably, “The Simpsons” was in Springfield, Oregon.
“Oregon’s creativity and storytelling is on display in every bill that we draft and in every voice on this floor and while I’d like to think I’m pretty creative I know that the real creative ones are back in our districts creating new projects that unlock the secrets and narratives of who Oregon is and what we can do,” said Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn), a chief sponsor of the bill and former amateur ballroom dancer.
Already, Oregonians have launched careers from OPIF grants. Emma Duvall, a grant recipient, was able to launch “Julia" into pre-production, allowing her to tell her mother’s unique story. After filming, Duvall received Bend Film Festival’s BIPOC Women Film Production Grant, which provided the funding they needed to finish up post-production.
“This bill will give more of those opportunities to Oregonians and help us create new jobs in the growing film industry right here,” said Rep. Mark Meek (D-Clackamas County), a chief sponsor of the bill and trained opera singer. “The Creative Opportunity Fund is not just for actors and performers, though. Film, animation and interactive media are only possible through the hard work and talents of an entire team – including those working in production, editing, filming, writing, safety compliance and more. House Bill 4153 will help us grow this important workforce and ensure these opportunities reach every corner of the state.”
Sika Stanton, also a grant recipient, was one of the first Pathways participants on “Shrill,” the TV series, in the camera department and is now at the prestigious American Film Institute.
“There is incredible talent in Oregon, but if we do not fund these programs to allow Oregonians to get their shot in this industry, we end up having to recruit from California and BC rather than using local talent,” said Rep. Rob Nosse (D-Portland), a chief sponsor of the bill. “We need to show people in Oregon who are interested in this industry that they can have a career here, so we do not lose talent.”
The bill passed 43-10 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.