The news that James Keblas, director of Seattle’s Office of Film + Music, has lost his job under the new mayor is not sitting well with some in the city’s arts community. Keblas got the news last night from Mayor Ed Murray and issued a statement today that reads, in part,
Seattle has earned a reputation as a film friendly destination and most importantly, our local filmmakers are having success. Just this month Seattle was ranked the 5th best city to live and work as a moviemaker.
Murray’s office also announced that Kate Becker, who blazed a trail for all-ages music in Seattle will replace Keblas. Becker founded and managed the Old Fire House in Redmond, helped overturn Seattle’s Teen Dance Ordinance, and co-founded the Vera Project in Seattle.
Shortly after Keblas released his news, local director/screenwriter Douglas Horn launched a Change.org petition asking Murray to reappoint Keblas. By midday it had more than 900 signatures – including from local filmmaker Megan Griffiths. Musicians, hair/makeup artists, actors, and others who rely on the film industry for a living posted sometimes detailed commentary about why they back Keblas.
“I and many others in the city’s film and video industry fear that this may be a disastrous decision,” Horn wrote in an email to The Seattle Times.