Seattle’s New Challenges

It’s been a long road to finishing what started as a simple little film about Seattle, the city we love. But since the project began in 2013 the climate in our city has changed, and the meaning of the WE in the title has shifted too.

The intent for the project was to remind us, both locals and people who are considering moving here, that what makes our city great is how we’re connected to each other. But now, as the project finishes, we’re all too aware that those connections are under stress. There are wider gaps now between communities, and the commons we share have been challenged.

This includes four major observations:

  1. The rising rents and making it hard for the artists who shaped the city to stay.
  2. A backlash against rising tech dominance in Seattle’s economy.
  3. Seattle has more homeless people than ever.
  4. Increasingly worse traffic on major roads and stressed infrastructure.

We considered shifting  the nature of the film to address these important problems, as the future of our city depends on us all contributing to solving them. But we realized the promise we made to our sponsors and backers of the film made it difficult to serve multiple thematic masters.

Instead we’re hoping our film inspires other filmmakers to take on these issues directly. And we are happy to help them achieve those goals, including the reuse of our many hours of footage. We’d love to see a series of films about the best things, and the greatest challenges, Seattle needs to remind itself of, and to extend the label “We Make Seattle” to include them all. If you’re interested, please get in touch.

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5 thoughts on “Seattle’s New Challenges”

  1. I’m really glad that this update was posted. I watched your film via LinkedIn yesterday, and it tugged at my heartstrings because it was beautifully made, yet the realization of what has been happening over the course of the last three years (while this was in production, and while I, a Seattle native have been away completing my BFA in printmaking) is truly distressing. I’m not a filmmaker, but a fellow creative that is currently working on my own body of printed work that addresses the neighborhood icons, landmarks, and places of the past that either no longer exist or are threatened by the urban development boom. I am returning to Seattle in June, and I’m afraid that I will soon become a statistic and be priced out of my home. I’m afraid of what my once quaint neighborhood will look like. And don’t even get me started about the traffic. I’d definitely be interested in discussing these issues of concern with you, if only to enjoy a cup of coffee and conversation. Maybe the next phase of this project should be #We Make Seattle Better, and the efforts should be put into solving some of the problems that are facing this beautiful city?

    1. Thanks for the comment Amy.

      The forces at work in Seattle are much larger than any of us, and I’m not sure there’s any one reason for it, or one remedy. Cities change, and often in ways, both good and bad, than no one could predict. I’m inspired, this month, to see light rail finally open for UW and Capitol Hill – it can’t remedy out traffic woes, but it does show a way forward for the city involving sharing resources, rather than competing for them.

      As far as other projects – I’d love to see works of various kinds made that explore the issues I raised in the post and you did in your comment. Happy to chat and see where it goes.

  2. Not to be pedantic, but it’s “Capitol Hill,” not “Capital Hill.” Perhaps you’re a newcomer to Seattle and didn’t know any better?

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