‘Postman’ delivers for the Northwest

Location News

The arrival of Warner Bros.’ “The Postman” crew has made quite an economic splash in a couple of Northwest towns.

After kicking off production in Tucson, Ariz., in early March, the Kevin Costner pic pump-primed businesses in Bend, Ore., to the tune of $6 million in April and May, Warner Bros. production accountants estimate.

Even Bend’s Mountain View High School got a boost last month when a wave of crew members, looking for a little entertainment on a Saturday night, helped sell out a Mountain View High theater version of “Grease.”

“The Postman” since has moved on to its Metaline Falls, Wash., location until mid-July. There, according to Warner Bros. estimates, lensing will contribute $7 million worth of direct spending in the region.

The windfall to Metaline Falls, a town of 200 tucked in the northeast corner of the state, came from a serendipitous phone call late last year to the Washington State Film Office from a “Postman” location manager, who happened to be scouting in Idaho that weekend.

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ROSALIE ZALIS, Gov. Pete Wilson’s senior policy adviser for the entertainment industry, says state officials are examining the creation of a new tax incentive for homeowners who allow their property to be used by filmmakers. The incentive would curb the incidents where residents gouge production managers.

The proposed law would give a tax credit to individuals who do not break a set limit for use of their property.

One of the holdups, according to Zalis, is creating a fair formula for determining what is a reasonable threshold for the use of a Beverly Hills mansion vs. a more modest residence.

* * *

SPEAKING OF INCENTIVES, Pennsylvania lawmakers have passed a state sales tax exemption on production expenditures by any feature film with national distribution.

In addition, Greater Philadelphia Film Office exec director Sharon Pinkenson was in Hollywood this week marketing Philly’s new soundstage and production facilities at the now closed Philadelphia Civic Center. The 1-million-square-foot complex includes 220,000 square feet of usable production space. Filmmakers who use the Civic Center are only charged for their electric bills.

* * *

JEFF PEEL has been elected prexy of the Florida Film Commission, which represents 43 statewide organizations. Peel, Miami-Dade film commissioner, says he expects the state to be more aggressive during his tenure.

“Florida needs to create real incentives to attract both location filming and entertainment infrastructure,” he said in his acceptance speech. “We are not going to achieve our potential in this industry unless we all get very serious about creating and marketing our competitive advantages.”

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