WASHINGTON’S FILMFRIENDLY OLYMPIC PENINSULA BY DIANE SCHOSTAK Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau
ense rainforest valleys, wild Pacific shores, alpine meadows. These are the signature landscapes of the Olympic Peninsula, the primary parts of Olympic National Park. The park offers soughtafter backdrops for features, commercials and stills, but is often daunting to reach when federal regulation and fees come into play. The good news is that Olympic National Park is nearly 1 million acres, but the Olympic Peninsula is over 3.4 million acres. Beyond the park are more lush forests, mountain peaks, and amazing beaches—situated on the more film-friendly lands of the U.S. Forest Service, local tribes, and private timber lands, as well as many state and county parks. Add to these natural landscapes the historical, vintage and architecturally significant buildings, and you have locations that can be used in a myriad of ways. Victorian Port Townsend is very filmfriendly, both in the variety of visual landscapes and in the city’s permitting and enthusiasm for film projects. From catalogue shoots to feature films to commercials, Port Townsend is satisfying many a producer for the perfect setting—visually, financially and business-wise. Puzzle-like shorelines abound all across the Peninsula. Finding a secluded spot to wash up, fall in love, or commit a murder—or whatever your storyboard dictates—is within reach. Olympic Peninsula communities have distinct looks, starting with the Victorian brickwork of Port Townsend and the WWI military barracks at Fort Worden. Port Angeles has retained its 1950s–era facades in this waterfront village, with the Olympic Mountains rising behind it. Sequim offers a sweet,
WASHINGTON FILM MAGAZINE 2014
clean downtown, with a wide valley spreading to the shore in the rain shadow of the Olympics, with many farms with old barns, lavender fields and dairies dotting the landscape. To the west, one finds the quintessential logging town of Forks, the iconic images of First Beach at LaPush, and the fishing resort village of Sekiu on the Strait of Juan de Fuca National Scenic Byway. Speaking of scenic, winding roads with forest and water views stretch all across the region, from the Hood Canal to Neah Bay to Lake Quinault. The entire Olympic Peninsula has benefited not only from the popular Stephenie Meyer Twilightbook series and the films that followed, but from many commercials, catalogue shoots, and travel story coverage. The rural nature of the region, an overactive grapevine of information sharing, and the friendly attitude of the locals means that they approach film projects with a welcoming, “can-do/git ‘er done” attitude. The regional film office is the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau, with a strong network of locals who can help a scout find the special place/building/vista/machine, or fill the must-have request between the Big Bend of the Hood Canal to the shores of Lake Quinault. Every town has a company or two willing to repurpose equipment to hold lights, piping or screens. WF Visit www.OlympicPeninsula.org for more inspiration!