For Immediate Release
Contact: Andrew Espe, Communications Coordinator
(Andrew@WashigntonFIlmworks.org / 206.264.0667)

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Washington Filmworks
Announces Funding Assistance Recipients
For March 2015 Cycle of Innovation Lab

 $100,000 Allocated to Filmmakers from Seattle and Bellingham

Seattle, WA – April 6, 2015 – Washington Filmworks is pleased to announce the recipients of funding assistance from the fourth cycle of the Filmworks Innovation Lab. The program, which is part of a long term economic development strategy, invests in the future of film by capitalizing on Washington’s creative community and artists while encouraging original storytelling that uses new forms of production and technology.

Following a “Pitch Session” of the program in which finalists presented new business and revenue models that leverage Washington’s film infrastructure in the digital era, the jury made their official recommendations and the Board has approved their decisions. Washington Filmworks is pleased to announce that funds have been allocated to two exceptional projects.

“I am so pleased with the decisions of both the jury and the Board of Directors,” said Washington Filmworks’ Executive Director Amy Lillard. “The projects selected for funding represent interesting and cutting edge business models that will truly shape the future of film and the creative economy in Washington State. We look forward to partnering with these extraordinary storytellers as they make their projects over the next year.”

The following is a list of projects that have been approved for funding assistance and the teams associated with each production. Also included are a brief synopsis and jury statement for each project:


Automata – Van Alan (Writer/Director) and Will Lummus (Producer)

Synopsis: Automata is a comic property created by Penny Arcade, a Seattle based web-comic conglomerate. It is a serialized science-fiction noir comic set in an alternate 1930’s Prohibition-era New York City. In this alternate history, it is not alcohol that is illegal, but rather the continued manufacturing of highly intelligent robots known as automatons. Former police detective Sam Regal and his robot partner Carl Swangee tackle cases involving the seedy underbelly of New York City. While they work to solve the case, they also work to understand each other in this dystopian America.

Jury Statement: “Penny Arcade, the Seattle-based media giant behind the thrice weekly comic strip, the global charity Child’s Play, and the enormously successful PAX gaming conventions, trusts local filmmakers Van Alan and Will Lummus to bring to life the popular characters of Automata. In an alternate Prohibition-era America, it’s not liquor that’s outlawed but robots – living among us as an underclass of social outcasts, the victims of human prejudice and strict laws governing their existence. The filmmakers have scripted a pilot that has the potential to engage a global audience and achieve mainstream success by fully revealing the complex relationship between a human detective and his brilliant automaton, who seek only to help the helpless in a despairing world.”


Strowlers – Ben Dobyns (Director)

Synopsis: Strowlers is a shared multi-platform world from Zombie Orpheus Entertainment. Set in the modern day, it tells the story of the misfits, outcasts, artists, and activists who exist on the magical fringes of society. Released under a Creative Commons share alike attribution license – which allows any creator to make and sell works based in the Strowlerverse – Zoe is currently developing the first round of short films and webisodes that will introduce the fantastic, magical, and unexpected world of the Strowlers.

Jury Statement: “A chronology-bending tale of modern day misfits, outcasts, artists and activists, Strowlers is a complicated world of relatable characters and stories revealed in a tightly woven script and bible that will serve as the inspiration for a global storytelling movement. Filmmakers and entrepreneur Ben Dobyns exploits his business and audience development experiences achieved from prior feature film and web-series success, to now leap forward into an entirely new model of global engagement with viewers and creative collaborators. Defined by magic and rebellion, this Strowlerverse is the blending of traditional storytelling and crowd sourced creativity.

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About Washington Filmworks: Washington Filmworks is the non-profit 501(c)(6) organization that manages the state film office and production incentive programs. Our mission is to create economic development opportunities by building and enhancing the competitiveness, profile and sustainability of Washington’s film industry. We do this by creating possibilities for local and national filmmakers and offering comprehensive production support as well as financial incentives.

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