Union actors with former Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski at the Governor's Office of Film and Television (GOFT) Annual Report meeting on December 17. L-R: Tobias Andersen, SAG and AFTRA Portland Council, AEA member; Michele Mariana, SAG Portland Council, AFTRA Portland VP, AEA member; Governor Kulongoski; Mary McDonald-Lewis, SAG National Board member, Portland, AFTRA Portland president. While presenting the award, Mariana and McDonald-Lewis briefly addressed the gathered industry members. Also on stage, presenting and speaking from the dais: Robert Blanche, SAG Portland Branch president and AFTRA council member.
The event was held at Portland State University in the newly-renovated LEED-certified Lincoln Hall, which turns 100 years old in 2011. Vince Porter, executive director of GOFT, reported that the year was a good one, thanks in large part to the hard work of Governor Kulongoski, whose term just ended. Revenue was up, and 13 projects have already applied for next year's film incentives.
In attendance were industry members from all walks of the work, including AFTRA and SAG members (council member Anita Barry among them). Also present were a group of rangers from Oregon State Parks and Recreation there to receive recognition for that department's hard work in making it easy to film here. A large contingent of producers, writers, and other staff members from Electric Entertainment, creators of Leverage were also there. Though Leverage's fourth season doesn't begin for another two months, the group is back in Portland lensing their second project here, Brain Trust, starring D.B. Sweeney. Dean Devlin, Electric's principle and the creative mind behind both Leverage and Brain Trust, sent his greetings and his thanks to Governor Kulongoski from set, via video.
The event was joined remotely by filmmaking organizations representing all of Oregon. In Ashland, the teleconference was hosted at Southern Oregon University, organized by Gary Kout, executive director of Southern Oregon Film and Television (SOFAT). In Bend, the newly-branded Central Oregon Film Alliance (COFA) hosted the event at OSU-Cascades Campus. And in Eugene, the Mid-Oregon Production Arts Network (MOPAN) hosted the teleconference at the University of Oregon. Go, Ducks!
The Governor's Office of Film and Television invited AFTRA, IATSE and SAG to present a a final award to the governor, along with the award's sponsor, Oregon Media Production Alliance (OMPA). This was the event's capper, and included a montage of film and television work produced in the region this year. The statue, video and presentation were produced by OMPA, with executive director Tom McFadden taking the lead. The statue itself features a replica of the "Golden Pioneer" found atop Oregon's state capital, with AFTRA, IATSE, OMPA and SAG's names prominently displayed as the organizations thanking the governor for his tireless efforts on behalf of the working women and men of Oregon. It was impressive to have that many union organizations welcomed to the stage at a civic event.
A party followed, held at Portland's City Hall — a fitting place to toast an industry that benefits so many citizens of the great state of Oregon.
Photo courtesy Mary McDonald-Lewis