Touting home turf

Locations trade show draws H'wood

The Assn. of Film Commissioners Intl. Locations Trade Show, held over the weekend, hosted upwards of 180 film commissions, more than 260 exhibitors from over 30 countries and some 100 vendors.

Delegations from California, Australia, Thailand, Mexico and France were among the largest in attendance.

In its 21st year, the confab, held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, attracted 3,400 attendees.

“This is truly an international event where filmmakers can discover what governments offer in addition to traditional incentives,” said Pat Swinney Kaufman, AFCI prexy and director of the New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & TV Development.

Kaufman cited as an example the Cleveland Film Commission’s offer of fee-free production space in the city’s 375,000-square-foot Convention Center. “Spider-Man 3,” which will shoot segments in Cleveland later this month, is the first feature taking advantage of this initiative.

California, with 25 booths, introduced its film production advantages at a pre-trade show meet-and-greet event at the Mondrian Hotel.

“Producers, but not executives, usually attend the trade show, and the level of competition is like never before,” explained California Film Commission director Amy Lemisch, who described the first soiree to promote California film as a speed-dating event. Film execs, seated at different tables around the room, heard 10 minute promos as California film commissioners rotated tables.

Reps of the city of San Francisco touted the state’s newly passed first film and TV incentive program, “Scene in San Francisco.” The legislation provides a rebate of city fees and expenses for productions that do 65% or more of principal photography in San Francisco. Films with budgets under $3 million will qualify at 55%. Productions that base themselves in the city and create jobs would apply for the rebate after completion of principal photography.

Where there’s film production, there has to be an experienced crew base. South Africa, whose major film competitors are the U.S. and Canada, has increased its training of film crews and reduced the language barrier and claims the largest crew base outside of the U.S. Meanwhile, Ward Emling, director of the Mississippi Film Office, is emulating Australia’s success in nurturing its indigenous film community by establishing a training center for below-the-line workers — a move that will benefit the entire region, he said.

Locations trade show also hosted two seminars with the Location Managers Guild of America and co-sponsored another with Loyola Law School and law firm Thelen Reid & Priest.

One such seminar, “Military Intelligence — Helping Hollywood Get It Right,” was of particular interest to the film community given its frequent desire to shoot at government installations. Representatives from every branch of the military were involved.