Film org elects topper

James first non-American to hold position

The Assn. of Film Commissioners Intl. recently elected Robin James as its new board president. James, CEO for the Pacific Film & Television Commission in Queensland, Australia, is the first non-American elected by the 13-member board and will serve a two-year term.

The election, hosted by the Pasadena Film Office, was held during the 31st AFCI Cineposium in Pasadena, Calif., with more than 310 film commissioners, sponsors and speakers from around the world in attendance.

James replaces outgoing president Pat Swinney Kaufman, head of the New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and Television Development. Kaufman finishes a four-year term as president and will continue on the board as an ex-officio board member.

“This is confirmation of the AFCI’s commitment to a global agenda,” said Kaufman. “We are delighted at Robin’s election and look forward to the organization continuing to strengthen its service role in the international film industry. We have an outstanding board with excellent balance and perspective on both domestic and international issues that are facing our membership and the entertainment industry.”

James, an award-winning TV producer with a 20-year pedigree, also serves on the board of AusFilm.

Also elected as AFCI board officers for 2007 were the following:

Jenny Williams, Glasgow Film Office (U.K.) — vice president

Walea Constantinau, Honolulu Film Office/Island of Oahu — vice president

Ward Emling, Mississippi Film Office Film Commission — secretary

Janice Arrington — Orange County (Calif.) Film Commission — secretary

There are 325 AFCI member film commissions in 42 countries.

* * *

The film production world has expanded its scope. FilmChile, the Chilean Film & Photo Commission, opened its doors this week with offices in New York and Santiago.

“We are pleased and excited to provide the world’s film artists the very best of Chile,” said commissioner Juan A. Somavia of ProChile New York, the Trade Commission of Chile and Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Chile is a filmmaker’s paradise and is poised to become the next choice in location for film and photo productions. FilmChile will work closely with filmmakers and photographers from around the world so they can cost-effectively realize their creative visions, no matter how big or small the project.”

Diverse Chilean locations boast of the world’s driest desert to the north, Patagonia’s glaciers to the south, the Andes Mountains to the East and the Pacific Ocean to the West, in addition to urban settings both modern and historic.

FilmChile hopes to woo filmmakers with its skilled bilingual production crews, available post-production facilities, a business-friendly environment with a fully developed communications and technology infrastructure, in addition to an economy that will produce more for the production budget.

“Chile’s scenic riches and low-cost production labor have long been appreciated by its homegrown filmmakers and photographers,” added Somavia. “The launch of the new Photo and Film Board will encourage more use of this resource by film and photo artists from around the world.”

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