Online tool, program expansion among efforts
The Assn. of Film Commissioners International converged last weekend for its 22nd annual AFCI Locations Trade Show at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.
New this year, the org unveiled its slate of AFCI Global Initiatives that includes an expansion of its professional development programs in film commission education. Additionally, for the first time, studios and filmmakers will be able to access information on financial and tax incentives dynamically on a global basis through the online tools offered by the AFCI as the Dynamic Incentive Tool (AFCI-DIT) at afci.org/incentives.htm and the Locations Inquiry Service Tool (AFCI-LIST) at afci.org/login_location_request.php.
“These are exciting times for the film industry globally with a whole range of new opportunities for production emerging rapidly,” said AFCI board president, Robin James. “The AFCI initiatives will contribute greatly to that process through boosting the standards and capability of film commissions while delivering improved services to the film industry.”
“The AFCI-LIST really takes advantage of how we communicate today. It is a powerful tool for location professionals to reach AFCI members,” said Warner Bros. Worldwide Locations executive Bill Bowling. “It’s a great timesaver…a very efficient method of communicating with any number of film commissions.”
Film professionals wandered through aisles of film commission booths, production assistance exhibits and product displays from all over the globe.
On the international front, the islands of Trinidad, Tobago and Dominica banded together for a tropical presence on the location front. Dominica established its first film commission on the heels of its six-month “Pirates of the Caribbean” shoot and, while the commission is not completely formalized, the island offers a cost-effective film environment with a French and British culture.
Commercials garnered attention with new incentives offered in New York and Hawaii. Montana, eager to improve on its 34% film production increase in 2006, was touting pending legislation of an overall no cap 23% rebate. Similarly, Mississippi’s Ward Emling boasted his state’s newly passed four point, no minimum spend film incentive package.
Need to stage a prison riot? West Virginia’s castellated Gothic prison, complete with rumored ghosts awaits. The state also offers venues such as a four-lane divided highway (including a 1,400-foot-long bridge, 240 feet high) awaiting completion; a closed 3,000 ft-long, 45-foot high, two-lane tunnel near Charleston. WV will even modulate the flow of its Gauley River to suit production.
The Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region hosted a Hotel Bel Air lunch the day before the expo kicked off to tout incentives and shooting where “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” was filmed. The production spent 12 weeks in the area, also shooting at Nice’s La Victorine studios. “A Good Year” also shot in the area, which is France’s most popular filming destination.
The Trade Show provided an educational element with four seminars co-produced with the AFCI and the Association of Independent Commercial Producers, the Producers Guild of America, the Locations Managers Guild of America and Loyola Law School. Topics included incentives, film financing, film commissioners and production service company partnerships and new media perspectives.
(Pat Saperstein contributed to this report.)