Margaret Longley
West Seattleite Gevin Booth is executive producer for The Servant, a feature-length film that will be shot in Washington state with financial backing from Washington Filmworks.

Local filmmakers score financial backing from Washington Filmworks

Here’s the pitch: This is the story of “a career politician who suffers a brain injury that begins to derail his promising career as he begins to experience supernatural visitors and a growing rift with his dedicated wife.”

Sounds a bit more interesting than Tyler Perry’s latest offering, right?

It’s the synopsis of “The Servant,” a film written by Seattle director and writer Nathan Williams, and coming to fruition with the help of two producers representing West Seattle – Gevin Booth and Ian Bell. All three have been involved in every aspect of independent filmmaking in Seattle for many years, and this will be all three’s first crack at leading on a full length film.

Making the picture all the more possible, “The Servant” was one of five projects selected by Washington Filmworks in their first ever Innovation Lab competition. The Innovation Lab “is designed to invest in Washington’s creative community and to encourage the development of original storytelling that capitalizes on new forms of production and technology.” By being selected, Washington Filmworks will provide Willams, Booth and Bell with financial assistance and professional development help along the way. Washington Filmworks is a non-profit focuses on building Washington’s filmmaking prowess.

We had a conversation with Gevin Booth – a 44-year-old West Seattle resident who’s been here for 17 years “and doesn’t plan on moving anytime soon, I absolutely love West Seattle,” - to learn more about the film.

Booth, who has dabbled in filmmaking since he was a teenager, became serious about working in the industry in 2005 when he connected with Williams for a short film called “Circled Wagons.” This is the first time Bell and Booth have worked together, but both know and respect each other’s work, he said.

According to a press release, “the group has collectively produced work that has been shown to audiences at SIFF, Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, Vienna International Shorts, One Reel, Local Sightings and on KCTS. The team prides itself on awards from SIFF and the Seattle Times 3-Minute Masterpiece.”

Getting the nod from Washington Filmworks was no simple task, as the crew had to present their script, budget (had to be below $500,000), materials, marketing strategy and distribution plan to a jury. Having been selected, they are required to shoot the film in Washington State (Booth said West Seattle is a possibility) and hire from within the state to receive funding assistance.

“We couldn’t be more excited about not only their financial support but their moral support and professional development (assistance),” Booth said.

As for the movie itself, don’t be fooled into thinking supernatural elements mean “The Servant” is all about cheap thrills and the associated shallow dialogue of a Hollywood thriller.

“It’s an amazing story, it’s very unique and different and we think it is going to touch people in a very unique way because it covers so many different themes,” Booth explained. “We think we are going to really surprise some people with this film.

“The story fuses political, religious, psychological and supernatural themes. The way we look at it is it is the Christmas Carol meets Dr. Strangelove. It acknowledges the ugly side of politics but also has hope in the capacity for good.

“It’s really just one man’s journey to follow the calling of his messengers towards a radical path of love in the modern, contemporary image and how he grapples with this calling he is on and this path that he sets on that he can’t return from, and whether that’s a positive or negative choice.”

Booth said the team is currently in the midst of pre-production with casting and fundraising. They plan to start shooting principal photography in September of 2013 and hope to have a final cut completed by February of 2014.

“It was a conscious choice to stay here in Seattle to make films,” Booth said. “All of us could have moved to L.A. or New York City and it’s not just the quality of life, it is the quality of the people here who are so jazzed about filmmaking … we feel we’ll be able to build upon the growing dynamic Seattle film scene by adding to the cinematic gumbo that already exists.”

Gevin Booth is executive producer, Ian Bell is first producer, and Nathan Williams in writer/director for “The Servant.”

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