THE FUTURE OF FILM IN ARIZONA  at Sun Studios Of Arizona

"The Future of Film in Arizona" on Sept. 13, 2018 was billed as a Central Arizona Town Hall.

It concluded with some questions from attendees, but was more of a forum for leaders in Arizona's motion picture industry.

These highlights are from the Tempe meeting.

Jason Isaak, president Arizona Production Assn: We're all storytellers. Some of us, like me, perform, The rest of you are the ones who ensure that the stories are seen. Tonight, we're here to talk about how we can all tell more stories and do our best to make a living doing what we love.

Darrin Ramage, CEO Sun Studios of Arizona: Our purpose is to grow filmmaking, television and other media creations in the state of Arizona. We're developing relationships with producers around the world and encourage them to relocate their productions here in the state of Arizona.

It is estimated that in 2018, over 550 television shows and 12,000 movies will be created in for the North America entertainment market -- new productions for Amazon and Netflix and Apple. Their budget at the beginning of this year was 19 billion dollars in new productions.

@SunStudiosOf tweet 22Aug2018

Sun Studios (has) created a Media Fund that we are raising capital for -- to shine the national and world spotlight on Arizona as an important filmmaking destination. We hope this will attract new business and build new media-industry relationships that will endure for a long time.

Matthew Earl Jones, director Arizona Office of Film & Digital Media: We're positioning (Arizona) to be the home of independent production for projects under $20 million, with a focus on new media and advanced technologies.

Much like Texas is film-friendly community, we've reached out and asked people in the community to work on behalf of the film office. To date all 15 counties are represented and we have added 33 film resource coordinators to date...and five new local film offices (for a total of 12).

Right now, Arizona does not have a state tax credit. So, we've looked at the below-the-line expenses. We have a Reel Savings discount program with a cash rebate.

We have 57 vendors (who) are part of this program and they range from equipment vendors, to hotels, to restaurants, to rental cars. If you are a business and you'd like to be a participant, please let us know.

Shelli Hall, director Tucson Film Office: Our region goes from Tucson, Pima County, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties...and then sometimes we assist on the other side of the border as well when needed.

We have an independent film (shooting) here right now and the reason they came to Arizona...was because of the real savings program that Matthew just told you about. They're at Loews Ventana Canyon right now shooting THE BELLMEN.

We're averaging about $9 million in direct spending every year, which is pretty good considering Netflix and Amazon aren't bringing their business here. I'm very optimistic about this year, but we need your support. Go to our GoFundMe campaign and help us out.

Phil Bradstock, film commissioner City of Phoenix Film Office: For the fiscal year of 2017, we had $18.2 million dollars in direct spend(ing) here in the Greater Phoenix area, which was up about 47% from the prior fiscal year. We also saw 1,800 different projects...1,600 actual shoot days...and about 4,700 jobs here.

(But) now that everybody's doing digital, crews have gotten done much smaller. There's fewer jobs, budgets are shrinking. So, where my focus has been, and must be, is more on commercials, still photography -- because those tend to be the biggest bang for the buck and hire the most people.

Ken George, president Arizona Film & Media Coalition: Our legislative committee has developed a three year plan, which Randy's going to talk about, but the goals are to attract film and media work here, create industry jobs and then, export our content all over the world.

Randy Murray, chair AFMC Legislative Committee: We're not going to try to invent or try to replicate what they're doing in New Mexico. We're not going to replicate what they're doing in Canada. We're going to try to be a little bit more inventive, a little bit more original. We're going to try to do stuff that creates an industry that's permanently here, in this community.

This is the time we need to speak up. We need to call people who are running. Get on the Mobilization List. We will send you the emails that when the time is right. You call your legislative candidates, tell them you work in the film industry and that you vote. That's all you have to do.

Click here to see the first "Future of Film in Arizona" in Tucson on May 21, 2018

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From This Author Lee Cooley

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