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Hollywood, meet Fresno
We've seen Con Air, on TNT more than a few times. We know what Hollywood thinks of Fresno.
We're the go-to fail-safe city. Toss a guy from a plane, say he lands in the middle of traffic in downtown Fresno. Film the scene wherever you want. No one will know the difference.
That's Fresno a place most people have heard of, but few have actually been.
But can't we be more?
That'll be the question of the day at Fresno Filmmakers Forum, Oct. 27, at the Warnors Center for the Performing Arts. The city's first-ever film industry conference, the all-day event will feature technical workshops, a panel discussion and a brainstorming session examining ways to create a viable film industry in the San Joaquin Valley.
Organized by the Fresno Film and Entertainment Commission, Creative Fresno, and the local Entandem Productions, the event is open to film and video professionals, students and amateurs anyone, really, who works in local film or video production, wants to make independent films, or just support the development of a film industry in the Valley (and tickets are cheap $10 in advance, $15 day of).
And yes, that means you.
Local filmmakers tend to work in their own little bubbles, says Suzane Bertz-Rosa, a Creative Fresno board member and filmmaker. They don't have the visability or support of say an ArtHop, or the Rogue Festival. They might not even be aware there are others like them in town.
But there are.
In growing numbers, says Christine Autrant Mitchell, President of Entandem Productions, which is currently working on a Fresno documentary. I hear about new production companies being established more and more often. The main reason for the forum, she says, is to get everyone in the industry aware of each other.
But this is about more than home-grown filmmakers.
This is economics.
Film productions make us money.
A single commercial film or television shoot can have an economic impact of $25,000 to $95,000 a day, according to the Association of Film Commissioners International. The recent Paramount production brought a $200,000 influx to local businesses. And developing Fresno's film industry will build the infrastructure to keep those on-location shoots coming, says Fresno Film and Entertainment Commissioner Ray Arthur.
And we're close to L.A.
Major studios already know that Fresno is a great place for on-location film production. Expanding our own local industry, facilities and trained personnel will make us even more attractive, while creating very competitive companies right here, Arthur says.
The seven speakers and panelists include: John Hall, Chairman of Fresno
Reel Pride and Director of Development and the Fresno Metropolitan
Museum; Cherie Franklin, acting coach and actress; Jeff Hall, President
of Maximus Media Inc.; John Kelly, director of photography; Jerry Lee,
Vice President of Programming and Partnerships, Valley Public
Television; Ashley Swearengin, Chief Operations Officer, Regional Jobs
Initiative; Robert Thissen, writer and director and Kerry Yo Nakagawa,
author, historian, producer and educator.