THE MISSISSIPPI Film Office is hoping that the Disney release “The Adventures of Huck Finn” serves as a travelogue for the state. The film prompted Gov. Kirk Fordice to proclaim last Friday “Huckleberry Finn Day” throughout the state.The Film Office was launched in 1973 with location production of Robert Altman’s “Thieves Like Us” and has since participated in more than 50 projects, ranging from “Ode to Billy Joe” to “The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag.” Mississippi Film Office manager Ward Emling said “Huck Finn” could not have been started without Natchez Film Commission officers Connie Taunton and Anne Mohon. A FOUR-DAY familiarization tour for film producers and industry decision-makers in the city of Santa Fe, N.M., is scheduled to wrap today. Convention & Visitors Bureau marketing director Alan Silow organized the tour because the first familiarization tour “two years ago led to a made-for-TV movie on the life of Betty Egan.” THE MINNESOTA Film Board announcedthat it scored simultaneous production of four movies in the state at the end of March, including the Jack Lemmon/Walter Matthau/Ann-Margret starrer “Grumpy Old Men” (which is skedded to wind principal filming this week), the Joe Pesci/Brendan Fraser pic “With Honors,” the Macaulay Culkin/Elijah Wood vehicle “The Good Son” and the 1917 dog-sled piece “Iron Will.” The features are expected to bring more than $ 12 million into the state. o A FOUR-STORY-HIGH movie theater carved out of solid rock opened last month beneath the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The Arch Odyssey Theatre features high-definition 70mm projection. WRESTLER Hulk Hogan is set to shoot the two-hour CBS pilot “Thunder in Paradise” entirely in St. Petersburg Beach, Clearwater and other areas of Pinellas County, Fla., according to Jennifer Parramore, Clearwater-St. Pete Film Commissioner. “Hulk Hogan is very highly regarded by us hometown folks,” Parramore said. The Hulkster grew up in nearby Tampa and lives in Belleair. Production on “Thunder in Paradise” will start this month, to be followed by work on 13 episodes in October if the pilot is picked up. o ATLANTA’S TAKE 3 Prods. has formed the city’s first monthly mixer for people involved in the film, video, entertainment, music and theater community. Los Angeles and New York agents are among invitees. The next event is scheduled for April 28 at the Hotel Nikko in Atlanta suburb Buckhead. For information, call ( 404) 252-7259. THE METRO-DADE County Film Print & Broadcast Advisory Board, in association with the Miami Beach Fashion, Film, Television & Recording Committee, will hold a public hearing on how to fine-tune the production process in the county. The print meeting — for fashion photography and the recording industry — is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. April 14 at the City of Miami Beach Commission Chambers. A second forum in May will cover television and commercial industries. For information, call Deeny Kaplan at (305) 372-3456. Also in the Sunshine State, the second annual Florida Film Commissioners Conference is scheduled for May 17-18 in Jacksonville. Hosted by the Jacksonville Film Commission, the event will be held at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel and feature speakers from Warner Bros., Walt Disney Pictures, Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures. For information, call Bonnie King at (407) 633- 2110. o DOWN UNDER, the New South Wales Film & Television Office announced that its initial $ A1 million production fund has closed 49 submissions overall. The top 21 submitted movie and television productions amounted to aggregate budgets of $ A47 million. New South Wales film director and chief executive officer Greg Smith said, “We are very pleased that the relatively modest sum of $ A1 million has identified so much additional work for NSW.”
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