Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope has linked up with Bay Area commercial production house Complete Pandemonium to establish a production alliance that aims to allow local directors opportunities to helm projects in both the feature and commercial worlds.
Under the agreement, Pandemonium, which specializes in TV spots incorporating live action and visual effects, will guide development and production of commercials. Zoetrope in turn, will play a similar role in guiding the development and production of feature projects.
“Our idea, since we’re uniquely situated in the Bay area, is to tap into commercial filmmakers who want to make the jump into features, ” Zoetrope president Fred Fuchs said. “Obviously there are a lot of talented directors in the commercial field who often don’t have the opportunity to find their way into narrative film. By having this affiliation we can offer those directors the best of both worlds.”
Fuchs pointed to the growing presence of several established feature film directors in San Francisco as further motivation for this alliance.
“It’s a way of providing an opportunity for (feature) directors like Wayne Wang, Michael Lehman, John Toll and others who are coming up here and occasionally want to make commercials. Pandemonium is an established entity, so this represents a two-headed, flexible company.”
The first director to benefit from the nascent alliance is Gary Gutierrez, a veteran commercial director who also has supervised the effects on such films as “The Right Stuff,” “Top Gun” and most recently, the Coppola-helmed “Jack.” Fuchs said they already have two projects in development with Gutierrez attached.
Julie Costanzo, a producer on several Zoetrope projects, will serve as Zoetrope’s executive producer on projects spawned from the new venture. Stelio Kitrilakis will oversee Pandemonium-related projects. Both companies will share development costs and will be housed in the Zoe-trope production headquarters.
THE ORANGE COUNTY film commission reports that film production accounted for $5.3 million in direct economic impact for 1996, up 29% over last year and a remarkable increase from the $220,000 posted in 1993.
There were 360 productions lensed in the area in 1996, including 31 feature films, 30 TV shows and 156 commercial and industrial reels.
Production companies rang up 932 production days in the county, which accounted for an overall economic impact of $13.25 million for the year.
Among the films Orange County hosted were “Starship Troopers,” “Jerry Maguire,” “Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion,” “Austin Powers” and “Kiss the Girl.”
TV shoots included “Melrose Place,” “Pacific Blue,” “Arli$$” and “J.A.G.”
IN AN EFFORT to promote New Mexico’s local film and TV industry, talent and crew, Santa Fe-based producer Jim Terr has put together a videotape sampler of New Mexico actors and productions.
The video was designed to attract the attention of Hollywood to the state’s assorted talent, production and film locations.
To launch the video, and to stir up interest in local production and investment, Terr hosted networking event Schmoozarama ’96 earlier this month.
The event drew more than 250 industryites and speakers, including New Mexico Gov. David Cargo. For copies of the video, Terr can be reached at (505) 989-9298.