State launches location-scouting site

CinemaScout fetes more than 5,000 images

The California Film Commission has unveiled its CinemaScout Web site with images from more than 5,000 locations to help retain production in the state.

“As the filmmaking world grows more and more competitive,” said Gov. Gray Davis, “CinemaScout will give California a new high-tech advantage by making it easier than ever for directors, producers and location managers to find the perfect settings they need in California.”

CinemaScout, which has been in development since 1998, uses a search engine to allow selection by location, previous film usage, historical period or geographical appearance. The site then provides pictures and information about facilities, contacts, permits and shooting requirements.

Commission director Karen Constine said the site is the most comprehensive Internet database ever developed by a film commission.

“By making it easier for filmmakers to explore the unmatched diversity of locations available in California, CinemaScout will help the film industry grow and become an even stronger part of California’s economy,” she added.

The commission, which estimates that the film industry generates $28 billion in revenues annually, said the site should have more than 10,000 images by the end of the year. It used Object Warehouse to create the site at a cost of $240,000. “We think that it’s a small price to pay for the benefits,” Constine said.

The launch of the site comes amid several years of campaigning by below-the-line industry professionals, the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild of America to decrease runaway production to less expensive locations such as Vancouver and Toronto. State and federal lawmakers proposed tax-breaks to retain local production but the bills fell short of passage last year.

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