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Mayor Harrell Announces Virginia Bogert as Recipient of the 17th Annual Mayor’s Film Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film   

Inaugural Seattle Film Commission Supports Seattle International Film Festival as First Public Action

SEATTLE (May 9, 2023) – Today, ahead of the start of the Seattle International Film Festival, Mayor Bruce Harrell recognized Virginia Bogert as the 2023 recipient of the Mayor’s Film Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film. Mayor Harrell will present the award to Virginia Bogert on May 11, 2023, at the Seattle International Film Festival Opening Night Gala at the Paramount Theatre.  

“I am proud to present this year’s award to Virginia Bogert for her exceptional work and steadfast commitment to elevating women’s voices in our film industry,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “Virginia is well deserving of this recognition. She is visionary who has worked to capture Seattle’s beauty and uniqueness on film and has consistently supported growth of our local film industry. As we continue to write a new chapter for our city, leaders like Virginia are integral to our efforts to grow our local film industry and support the industry workforce so that we can continue creating great art and telling stories that reflect our values and our communities.” 

Virginia Bogert has directed, wrote, edited, and produced award-winning media for three decades. From features, shorts, music videos, and commercials, to corporate, documentaries and television. Her company, Laughing Dog Pictures, focuses on human rights and the arts. Bogert served as Director of Film and Media at MoPOP, producing national and international video programs; founded the Post Alley Film Festival, a woman-centric and eccentric film festival; and served as President of Women in Film Seattle. Her many credits include documentaries for PBS: Pike Place Market: Soul of a City, which garnered six Emmys and a Telly; and the award-winning Healing a Soldier’s Heart; and Fields of Plenty. Bogert created documentaries for National Endowment for the Arts (American Masterworks) and her PSA, Spoonman for the United Nations, was distributed worldwide winning another 1st prize Telly. Virginia’s romantic comedy The Delivery, a SIFF Fly Film, won Best Short at Port Townsend Film Festival. Tootie Pie, her dramatic short, premiered at SIFF, screened at Langston Hughes Black Film Festival, and is broadcast on PBS. 

“I am honored to receive this award for a craft I love, in the city I love. It’s been a privilege to be a part of this filmmaking community and to lead Women in Film, helping to create a path and visibility for diverse storytellers,” said Virginia Bogert. “I’m proud my community and the City of Seattle will continue to pave the way for new creative voices.” 

“Congratulations to Virginia Bogert and thank you for your lifetime of contributions to the Seattle film industry. SIFF is ground zero for Seattle film, and I am thrilled to kick off the festival on the heels of Council confirming the new Seattle Film Commission. Film is having a moment right now in our city and it’s fitting that in May we are celebrating the work that’s been done, while joining as a community to envision what the future holds and the premier filming destination Seattle will become,” said Councilmember Sara Nelson, Position 9—Citywide.  

As its first public action, the newly established Seattle Film Commission is supporting SIFF. The Seattle Film Commission was formally confirmed on April 18, 2023, by unanimous vote from Seattle City Council, acting on the recommendations crafted by the Seattle Film Task Force, a group of film professionals who laid the groundwork and created the blueprint for the Commission. 

Five members of the Seattle Film Commission were selected and seated by Mayor Harrell, and five members were selected by City Council, leaving one position to be selected and seated by the commission once assembled. In its first week, the Commission conducted its first official meeting, selected Kat Ogden (film crew position) and Michael Huang (creative agency position) as chair and vice chair; established the policy, workforce and economic development, and marketing and branding priority committees; and established the process to select the 11th commission position. This final position will represent the immersive and emerging technology discipline, which includes augmented, extended, mixed, and virtual reality filming.  

The Seattle Film Commission will advise and make recommendations to the City of Seattle on the development of policies and programs that enhance the economic development of Seattle’s film industry. The goal is to provide growth opportunities for local film industry businesses and workers, connect talent to quality jobs, advance racial equity within the industry, and make Seattle an attractive location for film production. 

Headshot of Virginia Bogert.


Markham McIntyre, Director of the Seattle Office of Economic Development  

“Congratulations to Virginia Bogert on this award. This is a moment to celebrate all who work so hard in our film industry. With a full Seattle Film Commission now in place, the increased state film incentive, and Harbor Island Studios opening soon, the timing and investments are aligned to better support our local film industry businesses and workers.” 

Beth Barrett, SIFF Artistic Director and Seattle Film Commissioner  

“SIFF is thrilled that Virginia Bogert is being honored with the Mayor’s Award this year. Virginia has been a pillar of the community for decades, not just as a terrific filmmaker, but also as the founder of the Post Alley Film Festival, serving on the Film Task Force which led to the seating of the Seattle Film Commission, and her work with Women in Film Seattle. She is dedicated to the film community here in Seattle, and we are all better for it.” 

Dow Constantine, King County Executive  

“I look forward to ongoing collaboration across our region and extend my congratulations to Virginia Bogert on this well-deserved recognition of all she’s done for our local film industry.” 

Amy Lillard, Executive Director of Washington Filmworks 

“Virginia Bogert personifies the best of what Washington State has to offer.  Her tireless efforts have helped lead us to this incredible moment as we celebrate increased funding for Washington Filmworks and the formation of the Seattle Film Commission.  We look forward to working with our partners at the City of Seattle to build a robust and sustainable film industry in Washington State.”   

More information on the Seattle Film Commission can be found on the Seattle Film Commission webpage.