HOLLYWOOD — California’s Film California First Program proved profitable for the state as well as for indie production company Rising Star Entertainment’s feature pic “The Long Ride Home.” According to producer Rene Veluzat, the Western, starring Randy Travis, Ernest Borgnine and Eric Roberts, “would not have been made possible” without the FCF incentive program, administered by the California Film Commission in partnership with Film Liaison in California Statewide (FLICS), including the Santa Clarita Film and Entertainment Bureau.
Production costs, coupled with the constraints of a $1 million budget, prompted Rising Star to consider filming in Canada which would have resulted in the elimination of approximately 100 local jobs from its production staff.
The film’s 125-member production team was able to stay “home” when Veluzat learned that FCF’s new, three-year, $45 million program reimburses certain production costs for films that lense in the State. For “The Long Ride Home,” FCF will reimburse costs for the L.A. County Fire Safety Officers’ presence for 20 days of filming on location in Santa Clarita; producers will receive rebates for filming on Paramount Ranch, a National Park Service site. Additionally, because Paramount Ranch, which has also been the setting for “Little House on the Prairie” and “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman,” is included in the FCF program, Veluzat and his team will be reimbursed for most of their location fee, film permit fee, public equipment fee and public employee personnel costs.
Veluzat employed his own cost-cutting measures by using his personal property, The Motion Picture Ranch, in Santa Clarita, as a film site.
Veluzat, who has been in the film industry since 1950, said, “It’s a wonderful thing that has happened! Because of the FCF program, we were able to build bigger and better sets, hire a wonderful director and cast, and give back to our community by staying in California and filming locally.”
“The FCF program has definitely been an asset to this film and to other low-budget films like it,” agreed Amber Skowronski, film director of the Santa Clarita Film and Entertainment Bureau.
“The Long Ride Home,” directed by Rob Marcarelli, scripted by Vaughn Taylor, will, as a result of the funds saved, be the first in a trilogy of films released through Metro Media, and will debut in August.
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The Nevada Film Office recorded $51.5 million in film revenue for the first quarter of 2001 (Jan. 1 through March 31), the highest filming revenue for a single quarter in the state’s history.
The Film Office worked with a total of 182 projects in the areas of planning, preproduction and development of projects, 90 of which shot on location in Nevada.
“This is exciting news as it represents concrete results from our pursuit of economic diversification,” says Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, chair of the Nevada Commission on Economic Development that oversees the Film Office.
Production shooting in Nevada facilitated by the Film Office during the last three months have included feature pics such as “View from the Top” (Gwyneth Paltrow), “American Sweethearts” (Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal and Catherine Zeta Jones), and “Ocean’s 11” (George Clooney, Julia Roberts).
Additionally, TV series such as “America’s Most Wanted,” “C.S.I.” and “Jeopardy,” commercials, music videos, still photography, documentaries, corporate and industrial shoots also contribute a substantial amount of film revenue.