UNLV makes studied attempt to get prods.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has kicked off an education and job-training project to enhance its ability to attract film production.Sponsored by the Entertainment Development Corp. (EDC) and funded by $20,000 in grants from Citibank Nevada and Nevada Title Co., the curriculum in film production is designed to create a trained Nevada work force equipped to serve emerging film industry needs. “This 15-week accredited program is the first of its kind in Nevada that will provide working individuals with the technical training and hands-on experience to work in a film or television production crew,” said professor Francisco Menendez of UNLV’s Department of Film Studies. The education component of EDC, initiated by Citibank’s Barbara Mulholland and Nevada Title chairman Terry Wright was embraced by EDC’s president, Mimosa Jones and implemented by UNLV’s Menendez. “The goal of EDC is to create a new industry in Nevada for film and television production, a business that will provide thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to the local economy,” said Wright, EDC founding chairman. “By creating this type of education program we are able to provide incoming and visiting productions with professionally trained crews to work on their projects. More importantly, we begin to build the strong professional base needed to establish Las Vegas as a serious, permanent production hub.” Call the UNLV Dept. of Film, (702) 895-3547 or the EDC at (702) 368-2890 for class info.
* * *Richard Murgatroyd’s “Eloy” was this year’s $1,000 Cox Communication Award winner in the Film in Arizona Screenwriting Competition. “Eloy,” a story revolving around a former jazz musician visiting friends on a road trip through Arizona, was among 162 entries from 12 states and two foreign countries, a 25% increase over last year’s entries, said Arizona Dept. of Commerce director Jackie Vieh at the group’s annual awards breakfast at L.A.’s Mondrian Hotel. “This competition not only gives the industry and winner what they each want, but also sets the stage for future economic development,” Vieh said. The state’s film commission created the contest three years ago to promote location filming in the state, which provides an annual economic impact of $100 million. Competition rules require 85% of the script be set in Arizona. “We make no bones about aggressively going after film business for Arizona. And we appreciate the screenwriter as the creative point of origin for all future projects,” said Film commish Linda Peterson Warren. Arizona’s film commission and department of commerce showed their writer appreciation by awarding Murgatroyd donated prizes from Cox Communications, Southwest Airlines, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Merv Griffin’s Beverly Hilton Hotel and the Screenwriters’ Room.
* * *Increased Antelope Valley film revenues have prompted the formation of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce Film Committee, similar to that of Palmdale. The announcement was made by Antelope Valley Film liaison and Lancaster film office head, Pauline East. The committee will help productions that come to the area link up with local businesses. Antelope Valley recorded a $3.1 million economic impact last year from showbiz. The film office tracked 206 productions last year compared to this year’s 202, amounting to an estimated $3.3 million spent on services and vendor payments. Although revenue from feature films are down this year, income from commercials and still photography shoots are up. The valley touts itself as a double for Arizona, New Mexico and Texas on the east side, and Kansas, Montana and Nebraska on the west side. Added East, “The west side is the Plains states. On the east side we’ve even done the Australian outback.”