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Friday, September 8, 2006

Seattle, B.C.

Posted by on September 8 at 11:03 AM

From the Seattle Times:

Charlize Theron will play a pregnant bystander who loses her baby in Seattle’s WTO riots. Susan Sarandon may take the part of a newscaster sympathetic to the protesters… “It’s going to be the next ‘Sleepless in Seattle,’ “ said James Keblas, head of Seattle City Hall’s film office. “Once you capture a star like Charlize Theron, you are instantly a big picture.”

Except it isn’t going to be filmed in Seattle.

Keblas said he is working hard to get more of the shooting done in Seattle. But industry economics, including cheaper labor and other financial incentives, are driving the production across the border.

We can’t even get a movie about the WTO shot in Seattle. That’s just… sad. As hot tipper Gavin puts it:

So basically the city government that botched WTO, is letting everyone but Seattle profit from a movie that is not only set in Seattle but essentially about Seattle. The city is also failing to regcognize a growing trend of using Seattle as a setting. It continues to raise the question, as an actor, “Why the hell am I here?” …people don’t move to New York or L.A. for the traffic and crime.

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While I certainly don't dispute my good friend's suppositions, the situation is rather more complicated than what he describes.

While Seattle, and indeed the State of Washington has consistently given a cold-shoulder to film & video production (every two years the industry has to battle with the State legislature over whether to close the WA Film Office), things are getting better. The Governor recently signed into law the Washington Film Incentives Act, which creates a commission empowered to find economic incentives for local film production.

But, the economic realities cited in the original article are some that even local and state governments are challenged to meet. The exchange rate between the U.S. & Canadian dollar, along with extremely generous tax incentives offered to Hollywood by the B.C. Government (incentives WA state is constitutionally prohibited from offering), combined with nearly two decades of concerted building of the film industry - both in terms of infrastructure and relatively cheap skilled labor - in Vancouver has put Seattle far behind our sister city to the north.

Some of these factors are ones that CAN be rectified, particularly investment in production facilities, but others such as government-sponsored lowering of union wage-scales within the industry, would ultimately do more harm than good, even if the State were in a position to do so, which they are not due to (still reasonably effective) federal labor law.

So, yes, it is extremely disappointing that "The Battle In Seattle" will be shot on Vancouver locations, but the general situation of film/commercial production in this area IS improving, albeit perhaps not as quickly as all of us in the industry would ideally like to see.

" said James Keblas, head of Seattle City Hall’s film office."

Isn't it this dickwads job to help get films made in Seattle?

Nice work.

Easy there Pony Boy. That's my hard-working brother you're calling a dickwad.

Easy there Pony Boy. That's my hard-working brother you're calling a dickwad.

It's his job to get films made here, but it's not unheard of for studios to film in Canada for the bulk of their urban shooting. It happens for a LOT of movies that are supposed to happen in New York--they film the bulk of the movie in Toronto, and go to NY when they need real NY scenery.

Either way, for the most part, a film about Seattle is a good thing for the city. It gets people thinking about us and has some positive impact on tourism. But it would be cool for them to film some more of it here.

Yes, a movie about 100,000 assholes rioting in the streets is going to do wonders for the city.

Sorry for the harsh words.

I would think that rather than being excited about the movie he would be remorsful that filmakers chose to not film here in Seattle. Afterall, it's his job to advocate for films to be made in Seattle, not Canada.

It's kind of like saying: "We're getting new American flags for the Fourth of July party! And they were made in China!"

Why must you be snippy about EVERYTHING, Fnarf? I was talking about movies about Seattle in general.

Plus, I'm sure there will be time for sweeping shots of the bridges, the Space Needle, the SODO cranes, and a ferry--done in just the right sequence to make outsiders think "what a pretty city" and make Seattleites dizzy as we wonder where the hell they're going (a la Greys Anatomy).

There’s a second slap to Seattle from North of the Border: some of the voices listeners hear in local and regional radio commercials. it is not at all uncommon for Canadian talent to come south, lay down a voice-over or two, be paid a lump sum – in Canadian dollars – and return home to Vancouver in time for dinner. This is not a reciprocal arrangement.

Most of the rioting I saw was being done by cops.

Doug: you have very selective vision.

Ginger: I'm sorry, it's the way I'm made.

FNARF... I was there, were you? Or are your eyes channels 4, 5 and 7?

The Film Office isn't really a marketing office anyway, it's a permit office for local companies to shoot commercials, corporate video and other types of shoots, which is the bread and butter of the video (most of these things are shot on video now, not film) industry.

Sigh. "100,000 assholes rioting in the streets" seems to be how fiction-history (a la "Path to 9-11") will record the WTO protests here, regardless of how many people (myself included) witnessed it first hand and object to that simplistic and one-sided spin of history. If the movies (and FNARF) say it, it must be so.

It sure was a drag how all 100,000 of those protesters and Eugene anarchists (disguised as cops) were setting off tear gas and concussion grenades in my neighborhood. Lousy hippies!

It's like the punchline to an old joke:
"Who're you gonna believe? Me, or your lyin' eyes?"

Doug's right, FNARF. They even tear-gassed my ex-wife - who was not just pregnant, but dressed up for office work for the City of Seattle, wearing her City badge at the time.

Now, when you've been on both sides of riots like some of us have, you can critique the "reality" of it.

In travelling around the world, though, being from Seattle gives you a pass from being lumped in with the Reds in DC.

100,000 assholes. Wow. Maybe it would be better for people to just keep to themselves and never say a peep about the world around them and just let the business community run everything.

We could go on and on about WTO, but there is plenty of blame and stupidity to go around.

When you decide to join a mob, you are responsible for all the actions of that mob. The "handful of anarchists" excuse doesn't fly.

The rioters started it when they smashed store windows and physically attacked delegates, including such figures of evil as the Governor of Iowa and the Ambassador from Peru, trying to get to the first meeting.

Remember that mass of assholes marching up from downtown to Capitol Hill, pushing the police back and throwing rocks and bottles? I do.

I was rooting for the cops. I'm sorry that more of the rioters weren't more seriously injured.

The blame lies with the city, ultimately, though, for allowing it to happen. Nick Licata INVITED those anarchists in the first place, didn't he?

Then of course there's the matter of the WTO being generally a good thing, and the mass of Sony-camcorder-wielding rioters being a bunch of hypocritical morons. All of the arguments against the WTO came directly out of the Pat Buchanan playbook -- he was here -- and frankly didn't sound any better coming out of the mouths of dirty hippies than they do coming out of the mouths of the anti-UN black-helicopter crowd.

I'm sorry your wife got caught up in it, Will. But I'm not going to pretend that attempts to maintain order are equivalent to brutality.

From your comments, Fnarf, it's pretty clear you were no where near any of the WTO events.

I was close enough. I waited at the bus stop with a couple of raggedy hippies hoping to catch some cop brutality on their shiny new camcorders which they bought courtesy of Free Trade. I saw plenty on the teevee and the papers, including the Stranger -- pro-rioter as they were.

You can talk all you want about context and "you weren't there, maaaan" but the things I saw were not excusable by provocation. The attacks on the delegates were real. The bottle throwing horde was real. The broken shop windows were real.

The rioters deserved to be beaten, gassed and shot, as far as I'm concerned. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and they were just gently herded around a bit for the most part.

The whole thing was a travesty, a desperate attempt for brain-dead "revolutionary" glory by a bunch of flabs who wished they were alive for the mostly-imaginary 1960s. The relatively few who were actually hurt by cop interaction were thrilled to receive such groovy validation. Right on, bro.

Might I remind the myopic crybabies that of those rioters, a tiny few were trouble makers from Eugene. The rest we're blue collar teamster's members, and like-minded activists promoting free trade.

Funny, I didn't see any Teamsters "rioting". Maybe they were at the bus stop with Fnarf.

If you're in a huge mob, and people in that mob are rioting, then you are as guilty as they are. If you don't want to attach yourself to those pesky "Eugene anarchists", don't march with them.

FNARF, I just described that she wasn't "part of a mob". She was walking back from lunch to her city job, wearing her nice dress with heels, wearing a City of Seattle badge.

How un-mob can you get?

Now, Fnarf, when you get some more experience in these things, we'll listen to your uninformed opinion.

Some of the days of the "riot" I went and had lunch at the hotel restaurants in the hotels where the delegates were staying.

Sure doesn't sound like a riot to me. Didn't look like one either. I've seen riots, been in the plastic flip-down helmet with all the riot-gear, and just because TV cameras showed you sensational shots by 12 black ski-masked Eugene OR wilders doesn't make it a riot over the entire city.

Teamsters marching against the WTO are stupid. Their jobs are 100% dependent on trade. Most of the people marching against the WTO were idiots who don't know where their own interests lie.

It's true -- I feel so foolish for forming my own opinion based on things I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. Ditto all those crazy things I read in books about economics! I should have waited until I could check in with a bitter old crank posting his opinions in the comments section of a blog to tell me what's what. Didn't you hear? He was at the BUS STOP with a hippie with a camcorder. Therefore all the protesters were hippies with camcorders. He saw a bottle get thrown on TV. Therefore all protesters were throwing bottles. He owns an i-pod. Therefore global "Free-market" trade is an unqualified good.

In other news, all those who engaged in legal protests to express their concerns with the effects of unfettered global trade carried out be un-elected and unaccountable organizations whose sole motive is profit were a bunch of smelly dead-heads who were sad they missed out on Altamont and deserved to be shot dead in the streets. Lucky for them the SPD are too kindhearted to do that.

See, this is the beauty of the internet. In the old days, I would have had to get a haircut at the corner barbershop in order to hear gems of cogent political analysis from the neighborhood grouchy old know-it-all. Now I can get it all from the comfort of my desk. It's too bad the internet didn't exist back in the sixties so that the FNARFs of the day could have had a better forum for pointing out how stupid all those people marching for civil rights were! (Didn't they know that they depended on The Man for their economic well-being? How dare they bite the hand that feeds them? So uppity!)

Perfect. You hit all the high notes. "Unelected" -- why, that's just like the UN! Oh my gosh! Black Helicopters!

"Civil Rights" -- except that in this case the people working for civil rights were not out in the streets marching, they were trying to get into the fucking hall so they could talk about trade. The WTO rioters were philosophically more in line with the marchers AGAINST civil rights who blocked the school doors. Their techniques and principles resembled Selma not one iota.

Your arguments about trade are completely without merit. Few opponents of the WTO understand the first thing about what they do or how they do it. The Seattle Ministerial was in fact an attempt to incorporate the very voices that the protesters falsely believed they represented. Those protesters were blocking access of third-world countries to address the WTO, for instance. There's a reason that Pat Buchanan and the other right-wing nativists were in Seattle and siding with the protesters.

If you march with bottle-throwers, you are a bottle-thrower. Simple as that.

So, did anyone actually "lose" their baby at the WTO or are they just making shit up?

Actually, "my arguments" against global trade weren't really stated in this thread, because my feelings on the issue are complicated and this isn't a proper forum for a thorough treatment of those issues. It is clear that you and I have different thoughts on how global trade should be conducted, and that's fine. But when you say things like "I'm sorry that more of the rioters weren't more seriously injured." you cross the line in into batshit-crazy freak. Sorry, I don't make these rules, I just observe them. I don't even say that kind of thing about Fred Phelps.

The fact that certain things I say bear certain superficial similarities to things said by Pat Buchanan and the Montana Freemen no more negates the substance of what I'm saying than the fact that you share their opinions about Michael Moore negates yours. What negates your opinion, to my mind, is that you clearly don't know what you're talking about. And the more you talk the clearer that becomes.

Blanket dismissals of anyone who disagrees with you as uninformed idiots is a popular tactic among grouchy old know-it-alls, by the way. So well done on that front.

People have a right to protest the actions of their government and the effects of international agreements to which their governments are signatories. In any sufficiently large group of people illegal activities will occur, be it a protest or a sporting event. To hold the whole movement accountable for both the vandalism of a few unidentified individuals AND the heavy-handed police "response" to same is a completely ridiculous standard that could no more be met by a protest of 100,000 people than it could by a big-ten football game. I know this from firsthand experience too, by the way. And no, not because I once waited at a bus stop with somebody on their way to a "riot."

If a significant portion of 100,000 people at a football game start throwing things, I'll say the same thing about them, too. It's happened; there was the famous ice-throwing incident at a NY Giants game a few years ago. Those people deserved a good old-fashioned beat-down, too. I'm just not a big fan of huge violent crowds.

You're right, of course; "I'm sorry more of the rioters weren't seriously injured" is over the line. It was meant to be, as a way of conveying how nekc-vein-poppingly angry those rioting shitheads made me then and make me now. It is a good thing that I was not in charge of the cops, and that cooler heads prevailed. The cops were for the most part remarkably well-behaved.

You claim to hold "complicated" views on trade, but nuance and complexity are EXACTLY what gets lost in a big crowd. Using a huge protest march to express complexity is like using a nuclear bomb to scratch your back. It's stupid. BY DEFINITION all large protests get reduced in their impact to the simplest possible expression of their core idea, and the idea behind the WTO protests is simply "TRADE IS BAD" and more than a little bit of "INTERNATIONAL DISCUSSION IS BAD", mixed with a fair amount of "IF I DON'T GET WHAT I WANT I'M TRASHING THE PLACE".

Then of course there's the problem of the hundreds of other idiotic messages being carried about, all those sea turtles and stupid signs with their single-issue slogans. Even the "peaceful" parts of the march looked like a right-winger's worst fantasy of what liberals' thought processes look like.

NONE of the marchers were expressing an intelligible political viewpoint. Not a one of them. It's not a question of disagreeing with them; it's a question of not having anything there to disagree with. You can't reason with a mob.

If you want to have a discussion about the pros and cons of trade, let's go. I'll bet we can even find quite a bit of common ground. Despite my rabid lust for the blood of shithead rioters, I'm quite keen on reasoned discussion with sensible well-behaved people in small groups.

But big marches with anarchists aren't going to get us there -- not for me, not for anyone. I'm not dismissing the "ideas" of the rioters out of hand, as you suggest, because the mob cannot HAVE ideas.

This is a lesson that liberals need to understand more than anyone. Remember '68? Remember NIXON? Remember McGovern? That's what your rioting gets you.

And if you ever look to your side and see Pat Buchanan marching next to you, it's time to reevaluate where you're going with this.

Ahhhhhh ha ha... "none of the marchers were expressing an intelliglble political viewpoint..."

You can tell so much from your seat at the bus stop, can't you! Ahhhhhh ha ha ha ha ha...

Yeah, Doug's got you there. When I was down there, nobody was throwing any bottles and it was remarkably well-ordered. I was standing next to a bunch of teamsters whose political viewpoint was pretty intelligible (not to mention prescient) from where I stood.

The real shit went down after I went back home, in the evening, when I noticed that phalanxes of cops were marching into my neighborhood in riot formation and tear gas was filling the air and they were setting off concussion grenades and telling everybody to "disperse." Kind of hard to do when you live there.

Again, I come from a college town where once a year minimum, after the big rivalry game, there is a level of vandalism and "criminal mischief" that easily exceeds what was going on at the WTO -- broken windows, overturned cars,etc. From which I conclude that if the police are sufficiently prepared and have good leadership they can usually manage to separate the few out-of-hand idiots from the crowd without turning it into a full-scale donnybrook.

Once the police start pepper-spraying whole masses of people and using Chicago '68 tactics (overstated in this case, but you get my point) things tend to get out of hand pretty quickly. I think this is more a reflection of the mishandling of this particular situation than a reflection on the anarchistic bloodlust of the Sea Turtles and Grannies for Fair Trade.

I saw the signs, Doug. I saw the famous sea turtles. I saw the thousand-and-one hobby horses: whales, patriarchy, Mumia, Leonard Peltier, troops out, UN out, corporate this, revolution that. These are not arguments, they are slogans.

Oh, don't even get me started on college football.

The last comment above is by an imposter "Fnarf" and does not represent my views. Nice try, Paul.

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