Pacific Northwest entices filmmakers

Oregon is a haven for vampires.

The state’s Pacific Northwest climate provided the perfect rain-soaked production home for Summit Entertainment and Maverick Films feature “Twilight,” based on the New York Times bestselling book series by Stephenie Meyer (Daily Variety, Oct. 2). Catherine Hardwicke directs.

According to producer Wyck Godfrey, Oregon’s geography and rain forests matched well with the storyline set in Forks, Wash. Production began Feb. 25 and is skedded for more than nine weeks.

“Vancouver and Oregon offered a strong production base. However, I’d produced ‘Management’ in Oregon, so I knew all I needed to know about its advantages,” said Godfrey. “The tax rebate is good, and the film commission gets things right. It made sense to film in Oregon.”

The Oregon Production Investment Fund offers qualifying film or TV productions a 20% cash rebate on production-related goods and services. The labor portion of this rebate can be combined with the Greenlight Oregon program for an effective labor rebate of 16.2%. Productions must spend at least $750,000 to qualify and there is no per-production cap.

There is also no sales tax — on anything — and the more than 200 Oregon State Parks waive filming fees in exchange for acknowledgement in the credits or other scenarios beneficial to the parks. Those parks encompass more than 96,000 acres of geographical diversity and 362 miles of Pacific shoreline.

The state is home to the Chambers Media Center, a 100,000-square-foot complex on eight acres in Eugene. The facility boasts five soundstages, 10 Avid editing suites, a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround audio suite and fully integrated high-definition capabilities.

The Oregon Film & Video Office, headed by Steve Oster, utilizes its Hollywood connection with L.A.-based Kayla Thames-Berg, who also serves as prexy of the Location Managers Guild of America.

“I’m happy I was able to do the initial local assist (in L.A.) and quickly provide the info necessary to help the filmmakers consider and ultimately choose Oregon,” said Thames-Berg.

Adding to its local fame, native Oregonian Bryce Zabel and his wife and writing partner, Jackie Zabel, were announced winners of the 2008 WGA award in the longform original category for “Pandemic,” a Hallmark miniseries that did not, however, lense in Oregon.

“We hope this award reminds people of the breadth of experience and talent that Oregon can offer — from excellent crews to an incredible variety of locations and, yes, even writers spinning doomsday scenarios,” said Zabel. “Matched with an extremely positive new incentive program, we see a very bright future in Oregon, one where the day will come when Oregon is considered Hollywood North to filmmakers.”

The duo is in production in Portland and Eugene for “Ed’s Co-Ed,” an indie based on the true story of two U. of Oregon students who were lent a camera by Cecil B. DeMille (along with his cameraman) to make the first full-length student film in 1928.

The state’s film and video industry generates some $494 million in direct economic output annually and creates nearly 5,000 full-time positions.

Features lensing in Oregon include Jennifer Aniston starrer “Management,” Charlize Theron starrer “The Burning Plain” and Lakeshore’s “Untraceable.” “Feast of Love,” Gus Van Sant’s “Paranoid Park” and Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild” also were shot there.

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Nevada’s film production revenue topped the $100 million mark for the eighth consecutive year. The announcement was made by Lt. Gov. Brian K. Krolicki, chair of the Nevada Commission on Economic Development, which oversees the Nevada Film Office.

“I am pleased to say this continues our record-breaking trend for production revenue generated by film, television, multimedia and print production,” said Krolicki. “This is a great accomplishment, and particularly gratifying for our state because it occurred in spite of a writers strike that delayed numerous productions.”

More than half of the revenue was generated by TV productions, including series, reality and specials such as “CSI,” ESPN’s “World Series of Poker,” “20/20,” “So You Think You Can Dance” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

A quarter of the revenue came from features lensed in the state — “21,” “What Happens in Vegas” and “Iron Man” — with commercials, musicvids and docus making up the balance.

“We continue to strongly market and promote the state of Nevada as a production destination,” said Charles Geocaris, director of the Nevada Film Office. “We proactively court productions, writers, producers and directors that may not be aware of all this state has to offer.”

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