New Look For Lensing Expo

Several significant changes, including a new venue (the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium), a new fulltime executive director’s position and a new type of exhibitor mark this year’s edition of Location Expo.

The Expo, a March 2-4 adjunct to the American Film Market, is an annual event where representatives of countries, states and cities around the world gather to pitch the appeal of their locales to the Hollywood production community. The event is sponsored by the 214-member Assn. of Film Commissioners Intl. and managed by the AFM.

Record for reps

According to Maggie Christie, v.p. of the AFM (which also has relocated to Santa Monica), the Civic Auditorium provides added floor space, easier parking and improved support facilities in contrast to previous sites (the Century Plaza and Beverly Hilton hotels). At press time, a record 171 film commissions from 12 countries and 103 cities and states were set to be represented at 137 booths, an all-time high for Location Expo (the 1990 event featured 160 commissions).

Among the new commissions are those from Tucumcari, Las Cruces and San Miguel in New Mexico; Amarillo and Wichita Falls, Texas; Rochester and Erie County in New York State; Barnaby, British Columbia; the U.S. Forest Service, and the Santa Monica Mountains.

Many of the participating 42 states share space with county and city film commisions within their borders; for example, Florida, with the largest contingent, will have 12 separate commissions, one representing the state itself and others for such locations as Daytona, Jacksonville and Miami.

Canada, with 14 film commissions, represents the largest international contingent. Among the other international commissions are those hailing from Australia, Austria, Munich, Hong Kong, Thailand, England and Scotland.

According to Leigh von der Esch, prexy of the AFCI and head of the Utah Film Commission, some 20,000 invitations have been issued to members of the film and television production industry, with the emphasis on decision-makers who determine where a project should be filmed.

$10 admission

A $10 admission charge for the general public has been introduced this year, designed mainly to keep out curiosity seekers and brochure collectors. AFM attendees with badges are admitted gratis as are guests bearing invitations.

For the first time this year, the AFCI will be represented by an exec director working out of an exec headquarters. Eastman Kodak executive Richard Crowley, a longtime AFCI volunteer supporter, has assumed the post and will supervise the fulltime office as an independent contractor while retaining his role at Kodak. Like the film giant, the exec office will be based in Rochester, N.Y.

Part of the exec director’s role will be to devise a system of compiling statistics to determine how effective the commissions are in bringing dollars into their areas, and to standardize what is considered added income to the economy as a direct result of location lensing (many commissions differ in their methods of tabulation).

Amtrak aboard

In addition, 1991 marks the first time non-commission groups, such as Amtrak and Holiday Inns, will be hawking their wares from Location Expo booths.

Others include the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Operators of the U.S. and Canada, Eastman Kodak, the Ontario Production Industry Council, the Assn. of Canadian Film Craftspeople, British Columbia and Yukon Council of Film Unions, Atlanta’s Hyatt Hotel, ITT Sheraton and Stouffer’s Hotels in Denver and Atlanta.

Hy Hollinger Contributed To This Report.

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