Fresno film commission forges deal

Creative Fresno, a local nonprofit, signs 3-year pact

Fresno’s film commission has gained a new lease on life via a three-year pact with local nonprofit Creative Fresno. The agreement extends the one-year deal signed by the two parties a year ago, after the commission — a unit of the city’s Downtown and Community Revitalization Department — lost its funding.

In the interim the Fresno Film Commission flourished on the production side, with 33 film shoots in 2010, a 27% increase over 2009.

Film commissioner Ray Arthur noted that it is not all good news, however. “While the number of productions has increased, the amount of revenue from those productions has fallen,” he said. “Without marketing or operations budgets we are, unfortunately, unable to attract the number of Hollywood-based productions that we have in years past.”

Nonetheless, Creative Fresno chair Suzanne Bertz-Rosa backs the idea of supporting the commish. “Creative Fresno believes that creative industries, like filmmaking, can help transform Fresno into a more vibrant city.” She said. “The Fresno Film Commission in its first three years demonstrated great success by attracting or facilitating 54 productions, and generating an estimated $2.2 million in local revenue for our community. However, with the recession the city had to make the difficult choice to cut the Fresno Film Commission from their budget. That’s where Creative Fresno comes in.”

“Film production brings a variety of benefits to our city, including jobs, revenue, and visibility,” said city manager Mark Scott, “so it’s to our advantage to extend the partnership with Creative Fresno.”

Arthur is optimistic that film production will continue to increase despite limited resources, noting that he is currently working with three independent films — two local and one from Los Angeles — an NBC network documentary, an ABC network promotional commercial, and a national commercial, all scheduled to film in January.

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