The Art of Filmmaking in Southwest Washington

January, 26 2023

The Art of Filmmaking in Southwest Washington

In the late 1920s and into the 1940s, the American film industry experienced a boom that would later be regarded as Hollywood’s Golden Era. While the country was consumed in an attempt to rebuild from The Great Depression, films offered an escape for restless minds in tough times. The success of the Hollywood film industry allowed it to expand beyond Southern California and into other locations, including Washington State. Movie-making in Washington State created a mutually beneficial relationship in which film production brought local establishments, cities, and towns exposure while Hollywood used the scenic beauty of the state as an alternative to filming abroad or in a studio. Southwest Washington was no exception; its relationship with the film and television industry boasts a variety of tv episodes and films, including:

  • “Wild,” starring Reese Witherspoon, filmed at Paul’s Restaurant Nov. 7, 2013.

  • “Portlandia,” TV series, filmed at the Bonneville Power Administration Ross Complex and PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. The producers also contracted with a Vancouver-based tree service for one episode.

  • “Leverage,” TV series starring Timothy Hutton, filmed in various Vancouver locations in 2009 and 2011.

  • “Extraordinary Measures,” 2010 film starring Harrison Ford, Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell, partially filmed in the Vancouver City Hall building.

  • “Twilight,” the 2008 film starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, shot at Kadow’s Marina, Washougal, Bonneville Dam and Bridge of the Gods.

  • “Nowhere Man” 1996 TV series starring Bruce Greenwood, scenes shot at The Columbian.

  • Vancouver’s most successful film and video project, with more than 100 million online video views, 190,000 subscribers and a Hollywood book and movie deal, is the Vancouver-made “The Haunting of Sunshine Girl” by local director Nick Hagen. 

    And Vancouver filmmakers continue to use the art of film to present local history to a global audience. Beth Harrington is an Emmy-winning, Grammy-nominated filmmaker based in Vancouver, Washington, specializing in documentary features that often explore American history, music and culture. The filmmaker’s documentary “Fort Vancouver” for OPB explores Fort Vancouver during the era of the Hudson’s Bay Company. 

    Vancouver filmmaker Dru Holley has been working for years to shine a light on lesser-known American history and the hidden figures who have shaped our nation. Holley is the director of a new documentary, “Buffalo Soldiers: Fighting on Two Fronts,” which premiered at Seattle International Film Festival and was a recent winner at the Tacoma Film Festival. The film illustrates the plight of Black Americans serving in the military from the Civil War into the 20th century, including Moses Williams, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Indian Wars and who spent his last months in Vancouver, died in 1899 and is buried in the Vancouver Barracks Post Cemetery.

    Filmmaker Jason Brock called Vancouver home, producing a variety of pop-culture documentaries, including “Charles Beaumont: The Short Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man” 

    One thing is certain: Southwest Washington’s rich film history is a strong pillar in the creative foundation that comprises the arts in our region. And its future looks bright. The city of Vancouver and local business associations have an opportunity to reach out to independent filmmakers in the region in support of more productions here. Washington Filmworks has a database of locations and businesses willing to work with film productions in different regions around the state. Both people and businesses can go to the agency’s website at and go to the “locations” section to list their properties.

    Keeler, Zachary / “When Hollywood Went to Washington: Film’s Golden Age in the Evergreen State” / / University of Washington / accessed 1/25/2023 

    Vorenberg, Sue / “Is Clark County ready for its close-up?” / / The Columbian / November 30, 2014

And Now For This Week’s Top Picks…

Clark College 59th Annual Jazz Festival Jan 26 - 28

Clark College 59th Annual Jazz Festival Jan 26 - 28

As rich as the heritage of Clark College itself, the Clark College Jazz Festival has been host to one of the largest jazz festivals in Southwest Washington for over 50 years! Held the last weekend in January in Gaiser Hall on the beautiful Clark College campus, the festival attracts over 60 middle and high school instrumental jazz ensembles for the three day competitive festival. During the day, groups perform to an esteemed panel of adjudicators made up of renowned jazz educators and performers for the privilege of returning to perform in the evening finals competition where they will be ranked for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. On the final evening of the festival, one band from the entire festival is selected to receive the coveted Sweepstakes Trophy, a tradition which has been passed down since 1963. January 26 - 28 Clark College, Gaiser Hall 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver General Admission: $5 per day. Clark College students and children under 12 accompanied by an adult are admitted free of charge.

Lunar New Year Celebration

Lunar New Year Celebration

"Only after experiencing the epidemic can we know the warmth of friendship; only after experiencing isolation can we know the meaning of communication." On January 28, 2023, the Vancouver Chinese Association once again presents a cultural feast for friends in Vancouver and nearby areas - the Chinese New Year Gala in Vancouver. With exquisite dance moves and beautiful music, release your long-sleeping happy energy, regain the joyful memories of the past, and celebrate the Chinese New Year, which represents auspiciousness, renewal and hope. To celebrate the New Year, people all over the world gather together to eat festive dishes, watch performances, and enjoy decorations. With 2023 being the Year of the Rabbit, you may see a lot of them hopping around! January 28, 2023 Skyview Concert Hall 1300 NW 139th St, Vancouver 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM Tickets: $15

Music Teachers Association of Clark County Annual Benefit Concert

Music Teachers Association of Clark County Annual Benefit Concert

Join us for our annual Benefit Concert! Local Music Teachers Association of Clark County teachers and students will collaborate together in a benefit concert raising funds for our local music students who wish to pursue music at the higher education level. The concert will include multiple instrumentalists, feature highly qualified local musicians, and a wide variety of musical styles. Come support YOUR community! January 28 Church of the Good Shepherd 2424 NW Elgin St., Camas 5 - 6:30pm Entry suggested: $10 Donations accepted