Welcome to Pollywood
e know: a mention of the District of Columbia doesn’t exactly conjure up movie sets. But those who live here know differently. We’ve seen the film renaissance Washington has experienced in the past decade. In addition to the political and diplomatic scene, the character of the city has been changed by a thriving high-tech and real estate industry. But the next wave of growth comes in more creative areas: a thriving filmmaking and production industry. National Geographic, PBS, and the Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA) have been industry stalwarts for years. AFI SILVER and Discovery Networks have added their cachet in recent years. The city is now known internationally as a leading producer of documentaries. But it’s not just these major producers who are getting into the act. The Oscar-nominated documentary War/Dance was produced by two local residents, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine. Former AOL chairman Ted Leonsis has had two films at Sundance in the past two years, Nanking and Kicking It. The film Under the Same Moon, which is showing at Georgetown AMC this March, was produced by Washingtonians John Cecchi and Norman Dreyfuss. The film was picked up at Sundance last year by the The Weinstein Company. They also partnered on the 2008 Sundance film Red. And let’s not forget Daniel Snyder’s splashy 2006 investment in Cruise/Wagner Productions. Dig even deeper, and you see a budding next generation of filmmakers in the area, such as director Karim Chrobog, whose film War Child blitzed the Berlin
Film Festival this February.Throw the area’s numerous film festivals into the mix; add the Smithsonian Network’s association with Showtime entertainment; include the National Gallery of Art, and the Freer, Sackler, and Hirshhorn galleries, and think-tanks such as the Center for American Progress, which hold screenings and produce films, and we realize that we are witnessing the debut of what Washington Life likes to call“Pollywood.” At its center, Pollywood incorporates three main ingredients: First, network, production, and filmmaking professionals – including actors, directors, writers, crew, and film festival founders and staff. Then add the politicians, media personalities, lawyers, and lobbyists who all play a role in advancing the industry (e.g., Rep. John Conyers flying to Sundance to speak on a panel for the film Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North). Lastly, mix in the industry professionals and stars who come to town for cause-related activities (think Bono for The One Campaign or George Clooney and his work in behalf of Darfur). Our most extensive Pollywood issue to date includes many individuals who call Washington home and fit within these categories. This is not our Social List (although, you’ll find may of those individuals on the scene). This is not our Power List (although, many do exert power via the influence that film and entertainment wield.) This is not our Wealth List (although many of the names of the area’s top executive producers can be found here). We’ve gathered many of the top Pollywood Players in one place in order to provide a broader understanding of one of the capital region’s most vibrant, successful, and exciting industries.