• Thursday, May. 18, 2017
"Bad Moms" Comes To Atlanta
Bad Moms

Filming has begun entirely on location in Atlanta, Georgia, on STXfilms’ A Bad Moms Christmas, reuniting the dynamic team that turned out the original feature Bad Moms--writers/directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, producer Suzanne Todd, and executive producers Bill Block and Mark Kamine.

Returning as the stars of A Bad Moms Christmas are the triple threat cast of Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn as Amy, Kiki and Carla. This time around, the bad moms receive a holiday visit from their own mothers, in new roles portrayed by Cheryl Hines (Kiki’s mom), with Christine Baranski (Amy’s mom) and Susan Sarandon (Carla’s mom).

Director of photography Mitchell Amundsen comes aboard to collaborate with returning members of the Bad Moms behind-the-scenes creative team--production designer Marcia Hinds, editor James Thomas, and costume designer Julia Caston.

A Bad Moms Christmas follows our three under-appreciated and over-burdened women as they rebel against the challenges and expectations of the Super Bowl for moms: Christmas.  And if creating a more perfect holidays for their families wasn’t hard enough, they have to do all of that while hosting and entertaining their own mothers.  By the end of the journey, our moms will redefine how to make the holidays special for all and discover a closer relationship with their mothers.

STXfilms will theatrically release A Bad Moms Christmas domestically on November 3, 2017.
Q1 Sees Decline In L.A. Location Lensing
On-location filming in Greater L.A.  decreased 2.1 percent in the first quarter of 2017, according to a FilmL.A. report. In all, 9,496 shoot days (SD) were logged during the period, including all categories tracked by the nonprofit. Among all filming categories, on-location feature production suffered the steepest quarterly decline, slipping 36.3 percent to 729 SD. Meanwhile, local production of short-form Web-based TV projects increased 33.7 percent, to 508 SD.

Feature production has been highly variable over the past year, but during the first part of 2017, the category dropped to levels not seen since 2012. FilmL.A. identified several possible explanations for the change, including a reduction in total number of locally made feature projects, and the local unavailability of sound stages.

Incentivized projects, brought to Los Angeles by the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program, contributed 22.3 percent, or 163 count, of the shoot days in the feature category in the first quarter. Eight incentivized features were in production in Greater L.A. in early 2017, vs. five such projects in 2016.

“Feature production levels are proving highly cyclical and difficult to evaluate on a quarter-by-quarter basis,” noted FilmL.A. president Paul Audley. “Last year local feature production hit a seven-year high--so trendspotting in this segment requires a deeper dive.”

On-location television production slipped 0.6 percent overall from January through March, with gains in Web-based television, TV comedy (up 9.2 percent to 608 SD), and TV reality (up 0.9 percent to 1,162 SD), offsetting decreases in TV pilots (down 15.5 percent to 223 SD) and TV dramas (down 8.4 percent to 999 SD). Overall television production is still tracking 10.3 percent ahead of its 5-year average.

Incentivized TV drama projects contributed 30.4 percent, or 304 count, of the total shoot days in that category in Q1. Incentivized TV pilot projects contributed 29 percent, or 64 count, of the total shoot days in that category. 

On-location commercials production slipped 2.6 percent in the first quarter of 2017, to 1,484 SD. The category is tracking 4.7 percent above its 5-year average, and was supported in the first quarter by the local production of spots for Super Bowl LI.

  • Friday, Mar. 24, 2017
Film Florida Looks To Save State Film Office
Kelly Paige

For the first time since 2004, Florida does not have a state-wide program to entice film, television and digital media projects and companies to the Sunshine State. Since last summer, Film Florida--headed by president Kelly Paige--has been working with stakeholders to create multiple options for the industry that would bring more work, jobs and spending to Florida. 

However, recently the Florida House also filed a bill (HB 7005) that would close, among other agencies, the Florida Office of Film and Entertainment (the State Film Office), an entity that has been in existence for more than 40 years. This bill would also end the Entertainment Industry Sales Tax Exemption program, a program thousands of Florida-based companies have benefited from since 2001, most of which are small businesses.

In response Film Florida has set its priorities which are to fight the proposed tax increase on the industry, to keep the Florida Office of Film and Entertainment open, and to ensure that the world gets the message that Florida is open for business and remains interested in recruiting films and television shows. Film Florida plans to continue meeting with and educating legislators so they understand the importance of our industry to Florida’s jobs and tourism economies.
AFCI Sets Speaker Slate For Locations Panel
The Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) and its industry partner Lightsource Asia Media Group unveiled their panelist slate for the Sustainable Production: Think Global, Act Local panel session as a part of the AFCI Locations, Global Production & Finance Conference, that runs April 6-8, 2017 at the Marriott Burbank and Convention Center in Burbank, Calif.  

Sustainable Production incorporates practices into the production process that reduce negative environmental impacts, engage positively with the community and align with the overall production budget.

Sponsored by Creative BC and supported by the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of BC and Western Economic Diversification, the Sustainable Production session is scheduled for Friday, April 7, from 2:45pm - 3:45pm, featuring panelists: Julie Bernard, manager of production services, Creative BC; Matthew Carlisle, EVP, Physical Production, Paramount Television; Lisa Day, director, Energy Initiative, 20th Century Fox; moderator.

Zena Harris, president, Green Spark Group; Emellie O’Brien, founder and president, Earth Angel (NY); and Mike Slavich, director, Sustainability, Warner Bros. Entertainment.

"We’re eager to offer such an important and timely session during the AFCI Global Production and Finance Conference focusing on best practices, incentives and engagement at the local level and how this strengthens the sustainable production movement globally," said Kevin Clark, executive director for AFCI.

The Producers Guild of America is an official industry partner for the Global Production & Finance Conference.

In addition to the conference, the AFCI Locations Show will provide more than 2,600 media content producers and industry professionals direct access to at least 80 AFCI film commission members and dozens of service industry partners exhibiting from more than 30 countries representing billions of dollars in film incentives and resources on-site.

Registration is open for the three-day event with info available at AFCILocationsShow.com.

Fast Color To Lens In New Mexico
New Mexico Film Office director Nick Maniatis announced that the independent feature Fast Color produced by LD Entertainment will began principal photography in mid-March running through mid-April in Albuquerque. The production will employ approximately 100 New Mexico crew members, five to seven New Mexico principal actors and more than 300 New Mexico background talent. The independent feature is directed by Julia Hart (Miss Stevens) and produced by Mickey Liddell (Jackie, Anthropoid, Risen, and upcoming 2017 release Megan Leavey), Pete Shilaimon (Anthropoid, Risen and Megan Leavey) and Jordan Horowitz (La La Land, Miss Stevens, and The Kids Are All Right). "Our film Fast Color is the perfect vehicle to showcase the majestic landscapes and the abundance of unique locations here in New Mexico. We are excited to work with the deep and talented artisans and technicians of the New Mexico film community, and we appreciate the partnership with the New Mexico State Film Office," said producer Shilaimon. "We look forward to building a relationship for this and hopefully more movies to come." 

Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beauty and the Beast, Miss Sloane, Free State of Jones, Concussion), Fast Color is the story of a young woman forced to go on the run when her superhuman abilities are discovered. Years after having abandoned her family, the only place she has left to hide is home. 

  • Friday, Feb. 10, 2017
Oregon Scores At Sundance
"I don’t feel at home in this world anymore"

I don’t feel at home in this world anymore (Netflix), Macon Blair‘s directorial debut and produced by Oregonian Neil Kopp, was honored with Sundance‘s Grand Jury prize in the U.S. Dramatic Competition last month. Blair has a history in Oregon as he starred-in, and co-produced, also with Kopp, another #OregonMade project, Green Room.  I don’t feel at home in this world anymore shot in Oregon last spring.

I don’t feel at home in this world anymore tells the story of Ruth (portrayed by Melanie Lynskey), a nursing assistant suffering through a crisis of existential despair. But when her house is burglarized, Ruth discovers a renewed sense of purpose in tracking down the thieves. Accompanied by her obnoxious martial-arts-enthusiast neighbor Tony (Elijah Wood), they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals.

In addition to I don’t feel at home in this world anymore and Green Room, Kopp has produced many features in Oregon, including Meek’s Cutoff, Wendy and Lucy, Night Moves and Paranoid Park.

Oregon also made its mark at the Oscars with the stop-motion animation feature Kubo and the Two Strings (Focus Features)—produced by Portland, Ore.-based studio Laika—garnering a pair of Academy Award nominations: Best Animated Feature Film, and Achievement in Visual Effects. Kubo and the Two Strings is the first animated feature nominated in the VFX category since 1994 when director Henry Selick’s stop motion The Nightmare Before Christmas earned that distinction. Kubo and the Two Strings marks the directing debut of Travis Knight, president and CEO of Laika.

AFCI Appoints New Officers To Board Of Directors
The Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) has announced the appointment of new officers to its 2017 Board of Directors: 1st vice-chairman Nick Maniatis, director of the New Mexico State Film Office; 2nd vice-chair Dr. Marijana Stoisits, CEO of the Vienna Film Commission; treasurer Karen Carberry-Warhola, director of the Maine Film Office, and secretary Jess Comoplia, sr. VP, U.S. production & events for the British Film Commission.

Kevin Jennings, executive manager, Film Otago Southland (New Zealand), continues as AFCI chairman, completing the final year of his two-year term that began in 2016. 
In October 2016, AFCI announced its elected two-year term board members: Tim Clark, Buffalo Niagara Film Commission; Sigmund Elias Holm, film commissioner, Western Norway Film Commission; Heather Page, director, Texas Film Commission; and Virginia Pearce, director, Utah Film Commission.

NY Gov. Proposes Extension of Incentives Through 2022
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2017-18 executive budget proposal includes a full extension of the The New York State Film Tax Credit Program, at $420 million per year, through 2022. The incentives program is responsible for a significant economic impact in the Empire State, leading to record job growth and more infrastructure, soundstages and postproduction facilities statewide.

From 2011, when Governor Cuomo took office, through Dec. 31, 2016, more than 1,000 projects (film and television combined) submitted applications to the program, generating an estimated $15 billion in spending and approximately 934,000 new hires in New York State. Additionally, the number of Qualified Production Facilities across the state has increased to 77, containing more than 270 soundstages.

  • Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016
Lensing/Film Commission Developments: Arizona Gets Film Office
Matthew Earl Jones

After a six-year absence, Arizona again has a film commission. Studio 48, the Arizona Office of Film and Media, is up and running, looking to showcase the state as a premium destination and location for the lensing of entertainment and advertising content.

The revival of the state film office was made possible in part through a sponsorship that includes more than $250,000 in financial contributions from Scottsdale, Arizona corporation, YAM Worldwide, Inc., owned by GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons, an entrepreneur and philanthropist.

“Supporting the establishment of a state film and digital media office [under the state’s economic development organization The Arizona Commerce Authority] will bring movie-making back to the great state of Arizona, and that’s good for the economy,” said Parsons.

With the state’s rich surplus of talent, resources, unique architecture and scenery—ranging from desert to forest landscapes—Studio 48 will offer location scouting, traffic assistance, talent sourcing and coordination with local and state agencies as needed. 

The Arizona Commerce Authority has appointed Matthew Earl Jones as director of Studio 48. He brings 30-plus years of experience on both sides of the camera in film and television, as well as the music industry.

Ballers Lured By Calif. Incentives
Fittingly, the HBO series Ballers—which stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a former pro football player looking to make his mark as a financial manager—has scored an economic touchdown with a move from Florida to California. After shooting its first two seasons in Miami, Ballers will settle into Greater L.A. for its upcoming season, a prime lure being a reported $8 million-plus worth of tax credits covering 10 episodes. The credits are provided by California’s ongoing filming incentives program covering TV and features.

Ballers becomes the seventh television series to relocate to California to take advantage of the Golden State initiative that’s designed to retain and attract high-impact lensing business. Prior series that have moved to California for the tax credits include FX’s American Horror Story which came over from Louisiana, and HBO’s Veep, a transplant from Maryland. Ballers departs Florida after one of that state’s key incentive programs ended this past summer. According to the California Film Commission, the third season of Ballers will hire 135 cast members, 209 base crew members and 5,700 extras. 

Fuglsig’s Horse Soldiers Begins Filming in New Mexico
The feature Horse Soldiers, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Black Label Media, is filming in early December through mid-February in and around Albuquerque, Socorro and Alamogordo. Announcement was made by Nick Maniatis, director of the New Mexico Film Office. The production will employ over 250 New Mexico crew members, 50 New Mexico principal actors and approximately 2,000 New Mexico background talent.

Directed by Nicolai Fuglsig (two-time DGA Award winner for commercials via MJZ), Horse Soldiers is based on the book by Doug Stanton, with a screenplay by Ted Tally and Peter Craig, and tells a powerful true story of events which occurred in the aftermath of 9/11.  When a U.S. Special Forces team and their untested captain are sent to a rugged, mountainous region of Afghanistan, they must join forces with a Northern Alliance warlord to fight against overwhelming odds to drive out the Taliban.

  • Friday, Oct. 28, 2016
On-Location Lensing In L.A. Rises 3% In Q3
Paul Audley

On-location filming in Greater Los Angeles increased 3 percent last quarter to a record-setting 9,795 shoot days (SD), reported FilmL.A., a not-for profit organization that serves as the official film office of the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles and 20 other area jurisdictions.

From July through September, an increase in television production (up 2.7 percent to 4,423 SD) offset modest declines in on-location feature (down 5 percent to 1,089 SD) and commercials (down 2.6 percent to 1,245 SD) production.

Local on-location TV production continues to be energized up by the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program. Incentive-qualified TV projects filming in Los Angeles last quarter included American Horror Story, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I’m Dying Up Here, Pitch, Scream Queens, This is Us, and Westworld. Approximately one fourth of all local TV drama and TV comedy production is incentive-driven.

But it was TV reality and web-based TV that powered last quarter’s growth, with TV reality posting its first increase (up 6.6 percent to 1,342 SD) in six consecutive quarters, and short-form web-based TV reaching a new quarterly high (up 72.2 percent to 651 SD).

“California’s film incentive is now helping to sustain local TV production after seven straight quarters of growth,” noted Paul Audley, president of FilmL.A. “We knew we’d see a leveling off as the program reached full utilization. With the program doing all it can to support filming in California, our focus is on the neighborhoods where filming happens and on managing the activity taking place.”

Overall area feature film production declined (down 5 percent to 1,089 SD), after three straight quarters of growth. Along with other, non-incentivized feature projects, four films retained by the state incentive filmed in Greater Los Angeles last quarter: CHiPS (for pickup shots), Sandy Wexler, Suburbicon and The God Particle.

Commercial production levels slipped for the second straight quarter, dropping 2.6 percent (to 1,245 SD). Year-to-date, the category is still slightly ahead of where it was at this time in 2015.

Woman Walks Ahead In New Mexico
Nick Maniatis, director of the New Mexico Film Office, announced that the independent theatrical feature Woman Walks Ahead which was financed and produced by Black Bicycle Entertainment and Bedford Falls in association with Potboiler, has begun principal photography in Santa Fe, Pecos and Albuquerque, NM.

“We’re honored that the production team chose this area for their project, which carries particular cultural and historic significance,” said Santa Fe County manager Katherine Miller. “We’re especially excited that as we head into fall this maintains the momentum of a tremendous summer of production throughout the entire Santa Fe region and brings millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs to the local economy.”

The production will employ approximately 150 New Mexico crew members, 15 New Mexico principal actors and 1,000 New Mexico background talent.

Michael Greyeyes (The New World), Sam Rockwell (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind), Ciaran Hinds (Silence, Munich), Chaske Spencer (The Twilight Saga, Cinemax’s Banshee) and Bill Camp (The Night Of) have joined the cast of Susanna White’s (Our Kind of Traitor, Generation Kill) Woman Walks Ahead which stars Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain (The Martian, The Help). Woman Walks Ahead is the story of Catherine Weldon, a portrait painter from 1890’s Brooklyn, who travels to Dakota to paint a portrait of Sitting Bull, and becomes embroiled in the Lakota peoples’ struggle over the rights to their land. The film is based on a script by Oscar nominee Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Locke).

  • Friday, Aug. 19, 2016
News From Film Indy, AFCI, "Bloodline" In Florida
Teresa Sabatine

In January 2016, Visit Indy, the Central Indiana Community Foundation, and the City of Indianapolis launched a new two-year marketing initiative called Film Indy.  Fast forward to today and they have hired the city’s first film commissioner.  The city’s Film Indy Advisory Board, made up of Central Indiana community leaders, has named Teresa Sabatine as the Film Indy commissioner.

Sabatine’s role will be to position Indianapolis as a production-friendly city for TV commercials, TV shows, corporate training videos, and movies--in support of driving additional tourism spending by visiting film crews, engaging local production companies, and generating marketing exposure for the city.

Sabatine leads Film Indy after a career in the marketing and film production industry, most recently serving as the director of business development for People for Urban Progress. Sabatine has also served as a page on the set of David Letterman; assisted producer Michael Bay with production for Transformers 4; worked with the City of Chicago and its Film Office; produced projects for Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, and 20th Century Fox in New York and Los Angeles; and worked in video production for Nike at its world headquarters.
Major corporations that have recently filmed TV commercials in Indianapolis include: Honda, Papa John’s, Apple, Visa, Reebok, TaylorMade, Delta Faucets, and Subaru. TV shows filmed here include: Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food and Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

The Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) announced Senator Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA), as the first confirmed speaker for its annual Cineposium conference scheduled for September 22-24 in Atlanta.  
Senator Dodd will provide remarks immediately following the opening welcome address at Cineposium on Friday, September 23.  

The MPAA is the voice and advocate of the motion picture industry in the U.S. and around the world. Its member companies regularly work with AFCI members before and during filming to find the right locations and navigate local laws, including film tax incentives, customs and other local procedures for on-location productions.

Building Your Business is the focus for this year’s Cineposium and will give attention to Infrastructure--How to Build It, Maintain It, and Manage Crew Development to Meet its Needs.

Bloodline, the hit Netflix  series based in the Florida Keys, will return to Florida for season 3 despite the lack of state financial incentives that were available for seasons 1 and 2. 
According to a recent market research study it was estimated that the season 1 of Bloodline was responsible for generating more than 39,000 incremental overnight household trips to the Florida Keys. The report also states, “as a result, incremental visits produced more than $65 million in travel spending over the seven months after season 1 launched that would not have otherwise occurred. Additionally, viewers of Bloodline are 20% more likely to positively promote the Florida Keys by word of mouth to their friends and family.”

  • Friday, May. 20, 2016
Hot Locations for May 2016
Bruce Hendricks

2,600+ Attend AFCI Locations & Global Finance Show
Last month’s Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) Locations & Global Finance Show (April 21-23) in Burbank, Calif., drew 2,608 visitors including executives from 20th Century Fox, A&E, ABC Studios, AFI, AMC, HBO, Leftfield Pictures, Lionsgate, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros., and Walt Disney. The opening address for the Global Finance Conference was delivered by Bruce Hendricks, co-founder and president of worldwide production for Dick Cook Studios. 

Hendricks earlier enjoyed a long tenure (1992-2011) as president of physical production at Walt Disney Studios where he supervised the making of more than 250 motion pictures and filmed in 30-plus countries. Among these films were The Sixth Sense, Armageddon, The Rock and Alice in Wonderland. His credits as executive producer are the Jerry Bruckheimer Productions’ Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, and the Michael Bay-directed Pearl Harbor. Hendricks’ directing credits include the record setting Hannah Montana 3D Concert film, The Jonas Brothers Concert Film, the IMAX film Ultimate X as well as music videos, television programs and commercials. As a director, Hendricks has been one of the early pioneers in live action digital 3D photography.

A self-described Texan learning the Mandarin language, Hendricks told the AFCI gathering that the theatrical box office business in China will soon be the world’s largest. He has made six trips to China in the last 12 months. And while reticent regarding details about Dick Cook Studios’ involvement in the Chinese market, Hendricks said in broad strokes that his company’s intent relative to China is simply “to make great movies.”
As for the business of deciding where to shoot--and for that matter whether a project will get off the ground--Hendricks said that in the indie filmmaking world tax credits/incentives can “mean the difference between a film being made or not made.”

Boding well for film commissioners, he added, is the proliferation of TV and online shows. Hendricks said that more than 400 original scripted shows were on TV last year as compared to less than 150 the year prior. There has never been more demand for content, he affirmed, citing beyond TV such platforms as Apple, Hulu, Netflix and Amazon.

The streaming online dynamic, though, takes some getting used to for Hendricks who noted that while he and his colleagues strive for optimum production values, his daughter watches movies on a 13-inch computer screen. 
Still, Hendricks insisted that the in-theater experience needs to be preserved, particularly in light of Sean Parker’s Screening Room venture which is looking to stream first-run movies for $50 each, thus undermining Hollywood’s long-standing business model of theatrical exclusivity. Relinquishing the shared communal audience experience that only a theater can bring would diminish the magic of the movies, he affirmed.

Quantico In A NY State Of Mind
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and ABC Studios (a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) have announced that the hit ABC TV series Quantico will be leaving Montreal and moving to New York.

The upcoming season will include 22 one-hour episodes, creating hundreds of local jobs and generating an estimated $68 million in New York State spending. All aspects of production, including the writing team, will be based in New York. Filming is set to begin in July, which will create at least 300 full-time jobs in New York State, and postproduction will continue through May 2017. Postproduction for Quantico’s first season was done in New York, and added over $5 million to the local economy.

Many major film productions and television series have touted New York State’s Film Tax Credit Program as a major factor when choosing the Empire State as the location to film. Since 2004, 1,382 film and television projects have participated in the program and are estimated to have generated more than one million new hires and $20 billion in new spending in New York State. In 2015 alone, a record 203 film and television projects applied for the program, estimated to generate 187,764 new hires and $3.05 billion in new spending statewide. Since 2011, Disney has directly contributed an estimated $500 million to New York State’s economy through television and film production, along with an estimated 37,102 jobs for New Yorkers.

Lensing in New Mexico
Principal photography on season 3 of From Dusk Till Dawn began mid-March in New Mexico and will continue through the end of June. The production will employ approximately 250 New Mexico crew members and 75 New Mexico background talent per episode. Produced by Miramax in association with Rodriguez International Pictures, Factory Made Ventures and Sugarcane Entertainment, From Dusk Till Dawn runs on the El Rey Network.

Meanwhile NBC is developing the fantasy drama Midnight, Texas based on a three-book series by “True Blood” author Charlaine Harris. The adaptation is shepherded for Universal Television by NBC-based producer David Janollari and penned by Monica Owusu-Breen. Both are exec producing. Midnight, Texas revolves around a small town in the Lone Star State where the supernatural world collides with the real world in dangerous ways. The production shot from mid-March through the beginning of April and employed about 150 local crew members and 90 New Mexico background actors.

  • Friday, Apr. 1, 2016
Reed to keynote AFCI’s Global Finance Conference
Jason Reed

The Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) has set its keynote speaker and confirmed panelists for its first-ever Global Finance Conference taking place during its Locations & Global Finance Show, April 21 – 23, in Burbank, Calif. Jason Reed, executive producer of the ABC TV Network series Of Kings and Prophets, filmed in South Africa, will deliver the keynote address.

Reed is scheduled to speak on Friday, April 22 at 9:30 a.m. with a keynote address focusing on his international experience with co-production and utilizing incentives. Reed previously served as the general manager of Walt Disney Studios International Production, a division focused on producing in China, Russia, India and the Middle East.

International film finance leaders from China, Latin America and India will present, discuss co-production opportunities in their territories and present an array of multiple funding sources. Confirmed Global Finance panelists at the AFCI Locations & Global Finance Show include: Rick Ambros, partner at both Lightsource Asia Media Group and Benchmark Studios; Catherine Bates, head of incentives, New Zealand Film Commission; Robert Cain, partner, Lightsource Asia Media Group, and president of Pacific Bridge Pictures; Aoni Ma, COO, Film Finances Asia;  Raghav Mani, global media and entertainment knowledge leader, Ernst & Young; Arnold Peter, founding partner, Peter Law Group; and Steve Solot, president of the Latin American Training Center.

FLICS sets new leadership team
Film Liaisons In California Statewide (FLICS)—the coalition of 42 regional film offices working together to enhance California’s status as the film/TV production capital—has put its new leadership team in place for 2016. The new FLICS board includes: President—Cassandra Hesseltine (Humboldt-Del Norte Film Commissioner); VP—Geoff Alexander (Santa Barbara Film Commissioner); Secretary—Alicia Vennos (Mono Film Commissioner); Treasurer—Tasha Day (Long Beach Film Commissioner); and Immediate Past President—Janice Arrington (Orange County Film Commissioner)

After playing a key role advocating passage of California’s expanded film and TV tax credit program, FLICS and its 2016 leadership team are focused on finding new ways to ensure California retains and attracts production.

NY State Launches Film Good/Do Good Initiative
Empire State Development (ESD) and the New York State Commission on National and Community Service announced the launch of Film Good/Do Good, a first-of-its-kind partnership that will connect film and television productions with volunteer service opportunities throughout NY State. The program will encourage cast and crew members to volunteer at non-profit organizations that are fighting hunger, homelessness and other root causes of poverty in some of the state’s neediest neighborhoods.

“We attract film and television productions from around the world to shoot in New York State, and today we are launching a program to help them lift up the communities in which they film,” ESD president, CEO and commissioner Howard Zemsky said.

Hillarie Logan-Dechene, chair, New York State Commission on National and Community Service, said, “This program will bring volunteers with specific skills to communities where those skills are needed. Craft services workers can cook nutritious meals at a soup kitchen and teach the basics of cooking on a budget. Skilled carpenters can train and assist neighborhoods to build safe and inviting playgrounds for their children. Expert programmers can create modern online tools that will help nonprofits reach those needing assistance. The impact will be significant.”

The New York State Commission on National and Community Service will hire a consultant to help develop and coordinate the program. Film Good/Do Good will be part of the Commission’s Volunteer Generation program, which focuses on using volunteers to combat poverty. It is funded in part by a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service in Washington.

The Governor’s Office of Motion Picture & Television Development, a division of ESD, will partner with the Commission to shape Film Good/Do Good into a one-stop shop for productions interested in contributing to local communities above and beyond the economic impact of hiring local businesses and vendors, and employing background actors and crew members. Any film or television show shooting in New York State may participate in Film Good/Do Good.

  • Friday, Feb. 5, 2016
L.A. On-Location Lensing Rises Slightly In 2015
Paul Audley

On-location filming in Greater Los Angeles increased 1.3 percent in 2015 to 37,289 Shoot Days (SD), thanks to a rise in scripted television production and the aid of the California Film & Television Tax Credit 2.0.  That was the key takeaway from FilmL.A.’s latest report, “2015 Production Retrospective.”  The not-for-profit FilmL.A. organization serves as the official film office of the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles and 20 other area jurisdictions. 

Scripted television production is again a growth industry in Los Angeles. In a year where TV reality production fell 8.0 percent (to 5,088 SD), the overall Television category posted a 9.5 percent gain in 2015 over the previous year (to 15,706 SD) and an impressive 19.4 percent increase over the category’s 5-year rolling average. 

Among scripted television categories, TV dramas and TV sitcoms led in overall production growth last year. TV dramas increased 19.3 percent (to 4,374 SD) in 2015 compared to 2014.  The smaller TV sitcom category increased 100.5 percent (to 2,268 SD) over the same period.  Meanwhile, Web-based TV production increased 28.3 percent (to 1,449 SD) and TV pilot production decreased 13.9 percent (to 638 SD). 

“Television’s importance to Greater Los Angeles can’t be overstated,” noted Paul Audley, president of FilmL.A.  “Scripted television provides long-term job opportunities and high economic value, so these increases should be celebrated.”   Once again, the impact of the California Film & Television Tax Credit was evident in the numbers reported by FilmL.A.  Incentive-qualified television projects generated 7.2 percent (1,130 SD) of local on-location TV production in 2015. Within select TV subcategories the incentive’s effect was more pronounced. Incentivized production made up 20.3 percent (887 SD) of the TV drama category, 8.4 percent (190 SD) of the TV sitcom category, and 8.3 percent (53 SD) of the TV pilots category.

Local on-location feature production decreased 4.2 percent (to 4,344 SD) in 2015, though the category began to perk up in the fourth quarter thanks to state-incentivized projects.  Between October and December, 2015, five state-incentivized feature projects got underway in Los Angeles (CHiPs, The Conjuring 2, Rebirth, The Sentence and The Disaster Artist), registering 101 SD, and accounting for 9.4 percent of total feature production for the quarter. 

Commercial production stayed flat in Los Angeles last year, with the category posting a negligible 0.2 percent growth (to 5,201 SD).  Nonetheless, the spotmaking industry remains a major production driver in the Greater L.A. Region.  For four straight years, commercials have produced more on-location shoot Days per year than feature films.

A Bid To Bring Back Incentives In Indiana
Senate Bill 125 proposes to reinstate the film production incentive program in Indiana. Highlights of the program include (info from Cast & Crew Entertainment Services, LLC):

For productions with qualified spend of less than $6 million, the program provides a refundable tax credit equal to: 40% of qualified production expenditures paid to an individual or entity located in a municipality or county in which either 25% of the households are below the poverty level as established by the most recent United States decennial census, or there’s an unemployment rate which is 1.5 times greater than the statewide average over the most recent 18 month period for which data is available. In other areas of the state, the tax credit is equal to 35% of qualified production expenditures.

For productions with qualified spend of $6 million or more, the program provides for a refundable tax credit of not more than 15% on qualified expenditures.

The incentives program, if passed, would take effect on January 1, 2017, with a sunset date of December 31, 2019.

New Jersey Incentives Bill Vetoed
Senate Bill 779, which proposed to re-establish the film production tax credit program, was vetoed last month by Governor Chris Christie (info from Cast & Crew Entertainment Services, LLC).

Amendment Proposed For Kentucky Film Program
Bill Request 436 proposes to amend Kentucky’s film production program by including all counties in the Appalachian region in the definition of an enhanced incentive county (info from Cast & Crew Entertainment Services, LLC).

Productions filming entirely within an enhanced incentive county are eligible to earn 35% on qualified expenditures.

  • Friday, Oct. 23, 2015
Hot Locations: AFCI Sets Board Of Directors
Jeanne Corcoran of the Sarasota Film and Entertainment Office

The Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) unveiled its board of directors for 2016 at last month’s 39th Cineposium film summit in Barcelona, Spain.

AFCI chairman George David of the Royal Film Commission of Jordan made the announcement during the closing remarks of Cineposium at the Disseny Hub Barcelona. Elected to two-year terms were: Kevin Jennings, Film Otago Southland (New Zealand); Jeanne Corcoran, Sarasota Film and Entertainment Office; Pamela Haynes, West Virginia Film Office; and Karen Carberry Warhola, Maine Film Office.

These newly elected board members join AFCI’s board of directors currently continuing their terms: Chairman David; Walea Contantinau, Honolulu Film Office; Nick Maniatis, New Mexico Film Office; Silvia Echeverri, Colombian Film Commission; Deny Staggs, Montana Film Office; Sigmund Elias Holm, Western Norway Film Commission; and Marijana Stoisits, Vienna Film Commission.

“The AFCI’s continual success hinges on the dedicated participation of our members to set the trajectory of our organization and embody excellence in service that is synonymous to the AFCI brand,” said David. “Diversity and inclusion are paramount and reflected in our board which is comprised of members from Austria, Colombia, Jordan, New Zealand, Norway and the United States.”

Chairman David looks forward to the AFCI board continuing its work of providing unique and insightful education, events and services to its over 300 members who assist film, TV and video production across the globe in their respective governmental jurisdictions.

Also during the closing of the Cineposium Film Summit, AFCI Chairman, David presented the organization’s Certified Film Commissioner designations to Craig A. Woods, Bahamas Film Commission; Angelika Pagitz, Cine Tirol Austria Film Commission; and Rodrigo Ardiles, Film Commission Association of Chile.

Made In NY Entrepreneur Grants Program Launched
At press time, the industry was awaiting an announcement identifying the recipients of the first Made In NY Entrepreneur Innovation Grants, which were created for New York City-based projects. The recently launched program will award several grants ranging from $5,000-$10,000 each to projects in early development focused on innovative approaches to content and delivery. The grants are open to projects and companies within Media/Technology, including virtual reality, gaming, filmmaking, animation, and postproduction.

“Funding is an important and necessary stage in the creative process,” said film commissioner Cynthia López, Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “With the Made in NY Entrepreneur Innovation Grants, New Yorkers will have the access and opportunity they need to better focus on the work at hand and bring their unique vision to life.”

“The Made in NY Entrepreneur Innovation Grants are a rare opportunity for a small business or early stage project to receive equity- free funding,” said Joana Vicente, executive director of IFP and the Made in NY Media Center by IFP. “This cash injection will allow entrepreneurs and innovators to kick start the progress of their businesses in their nascent stages. In a climate where investment and funding within the Media/Technology sectors are increasingly scarce and expensive, the Grants provide equity and stake-free support to those pushing the boundaries of creative innovation.”

The Made in NY Entrepreneur Innovation Grants are open to individual content creators and/or businesses residing in or operating primarily in New York City. Media and technology companies must be in the beginning funding stages at the time of their application. A wide range of projects is considered. The grants look to support those who are engaging new technologies that create and disseminate media. Grant awardees will become members of the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, a DUMBO, Brooklyn-based incubator developed through a partnership formed among Independent Filmmaker Project, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

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