Movie set on Whidbey featured at Seattle film festival
— Created April 13, 2022 by Kathy Reed
By Kathy Reed
A movie filmed on Whidbey Island last year is premiering this week at the Seattle International Film Festival. The film, “Midday Black Midnight Blue,” will be screened in person Thursday, April 21 and again Friday, April 22, but those interested can also stream the movie beginning today, allowing Whidbey Island audiences the opportunity to participate in the film’s debut.
“It’s a great honor for this film to be recognized at the Seattle International Film Festival, as this is a fairly competitive festival,” said Whidbey and Camano Island Tourism’s Film Liaison, Sherrye Wyatt. “It’s appropriate that the premiere of ‘Midday Black, Midnight Blue’ should be in Washington state.”
Written and directed by Samantha Soule and Daniel Talbott, “Midday Black Midnight Blue” tells the story of a man still trying to cope with his grief two decades after the death of the woman he loved. According to Wyatt, often residents of Whidbey and Camano Islands don’t get to see the final results of film projects that happen locally.
“Some are not distributed locally and may only be seen on the other side of the world,” she said. “It will be nice for locals to have the chance to see familiar icons they’ll easily recognize, like Cozy’s Tavern, Blue Fox Drive-In, the Coupeville Wharf and SUVA.”
Wyatt said Soule and Talbott, producers Lovell Holder and Addie Johnson Talbott, and actor McCaleb Burnett are all scheduled to attend the in-person screenings.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Inslee signed ESHB 1914 into law last month, which increases funding for the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program. Funding went from $3.5 million to $15 million per year, which should help make Washington state more competitive when it comes to winning film projects. That could help bring more film projects to Island County.
“Passage of this legislation is good news for Island County,” Wyatt said. “I am extremely encouraged. I do believe Whidbey and Camano Islands have the potential to become a very important film destination.
“Helping rural destinations such as the islands was identified as a priority for lawmakers, because of the economic boost this industry provides, both during and after the production,” she continued. “It’s a good industry that does not seek to alter our sense of place, but rather celebrates the very assets locals also hold dear.”
Wyatt said the previous $3.5 million in annual funding for film projects didn’t stretch very far and was typically depleted within a few months. Funding also had to be re-authorized every year. The new funding remains in place until 2030. According to Wyatt, the new law will make the state even more competitive.
“The increase in the film incentive helps to level the playing field for Washington state and should mean more stories set in the Pacific Northwest are actually filmed here,” she explained. “It also means industry professionals living on the islands will have more reasons not to leave. There are actually quite a few prominent industry professionals here and we look forward to [seeing] what projects they’ll now be more encouraged to bring home.
“There is also an increased focus in this legislation on lifting up marginalized communities to open new doors,” Wyatt continued. “I’m encouraged this will create new collaborations for our county and arts community.”
It could also lead to a wider variety of projects, from episodic series to independent films to large studio productions.
“This is a very big deal for the state as a whole, but especially for the wide variety of rural destinations which are all available within a few hours of each other,” said Wyatt.
For anyone interested in having their business or private property included in the state’s film location database, they should go to the Washington Filmworks’ website and build their profile. Wyatt suggests they also familiarize themselves with guidelines provided on how to work with productions. All that information is available at www.washingtonfilmworks.org/locations/list-your-property.
“There is so much to offer filmmakers,” said Wyatt. “We really do have it all.”
“Midday Black Midnight Blue” will be available to stream today through April 24. In person screenings will be held at the Pacific Plaza in Seattle at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 21, or at 12:30 p.m. Friday, April 22. Information is available and tickets may be purchased for in-person or streaming at www.siff.net/festival/midday-black-midnight-blue.