Portland Returns To MovieMaker’s “Top 10 Cities to Be a Moviemaker” List

MovieMaker Magazine’s annual “Top 10 Cities to Be a Moviemaker” article was released last week, and for the first time in five years Portland appears on list - behind our “friendly rival to the north” Seattle.

Portland’s position on the list has steadily fallen since it was listed as the #3 “best place
  to live and work as an independent
  American moviemaker” in 2006.  Our readers may remember that in 2011 Portland received an “honorable mention,” and in 2012 the Rose City didn’t make the list at all.

So, what made the difference between this year and last year in the MovieMaker editors’ minds?  Some clues to MovieMaker’s judgement can be found in the introductory paragraphs of the article:

To determine which cities made the cut (and in what order), we cobbled together myriad statistics for each city—including population, dollars generated by the film industry, list of movie projects, cultural vibrancy, and availability of production facilities. That data then helped us narrow down our assessment rubric to just five criteria, and we scored each of 50 cities, comparing the following information: Film Community (scored on 10 scale), Access to New Films (10 scale), Access to Equipment (seven scale), Cost of Living (scored on a reverse five scale—one being the most expensive, five being the least) and Tax Incentives (four scale). The highest possible score was a 36, and individual scores for each of the top 10 cities are provided below. (Read the entire article…)

Portland, which weighs in at #5 in the nation with a score of 28.5, is hailed for its “slower-paced, naturally beautiful city environment without the hustle-and-bustle of New York or LA… a temperate climate, gorgeous scenery and, perhaps most important, affordability.”  Yes, economics plays a major role in the editors’ assessment of the city, with focus being given to the lack of sales tax and Oregon’s film incentive program.

But why did Seattle rank higher, at #3, than Portland on the list?  We can’t be sure, but the closing lines of MovieMaker’s Portland section may provide a clue -

 If the characters in “Portlandia” disgust you, Portland isn’t your city. But if Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein remind you of your friends, you might want to pack up your camera, car, and bike, and move there already.

Then again, it may be because (as the article points out) “…MovieMaker first appeared on the streets of Seattle back in 1993.”  Seattle may have just started its lobbying earlier than Portland.

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Oregon Lawmaker Wants More State Investment In Locally-Made Film & TV

Representative Tobias Read

Representative Tobias Read

By now we’re sure you’ve heard the news that Grimm’s mid-season return last Friday night was a major ratings success.  One Oregon lawmaker wants to capitalize on Grimm’s success with an infusion of state funding to locally-produced film and television production to “help Oregon’s movie business evolve.”

Portland station KGW recently reported on a visit state representative Tobias Read made to the Portland set of the NBC series where he discussed a bill he’s introducing in the Oregon Legislature to invest $1 million of Oregon Innovation Council in film, TV and video game production.

As the KGW story indicates, the Oregon Innovation Council will seek funding for its efforts (including this investment in media production) on Wednesday.  We hope our readers will contact their legislators and ask them to support Rep. Read’s bill, as it will help to build a stronger, more robust film and TV industry here in Oregon.

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Is Kitzhaber’s Plan To Double Oregon’s Film Incentives Meeting Resistance In The Legislature?

Oregon governor John Kitzhaber has proposed doubling the state's film incentives

Oregon governor John Kitzhaber has proposed doubling the state’s film incentives

As we’ve previously reported, Oregon governor John Kitzhaber has proposed raising funding for the Oregon Production Investment Fund (the state’s film incentive program) by $6 million per year – effectively doubling the funds used to bring big-budget productions such as Grimm, Portlandia and Electric Entertainment’s Geena Davis-led pilot to Oregon.  House Bill 2267, which addresses this proposal from the governor, was introduced to the House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development last week and received a positive response.  The Joint Committee on Ways and Means, however, may be taking a dimmer view of HB 2267.

Oregon politico’s had much to discuss last week when the Joint Ways and Means Co-Chairs released their 2013-2015 spending plan.  Much of the talk surrounding this plan revolved around proposed increases to school funding and cuts affecting the Public Employee Retirement System.  Oregon film and TV workers, however, took note of the final paragraph in Oregonian reporter Harry Esteve’s article on the spending plan:

The co-chairs recommended against Kitzhaber’s proposals to increase a tax credit for low-income workers and for film and TV companies that produce shows in Oregon. They also recommended restoring cuts to a state welfare program that offers cash to poor families. (Read the entire article…)

The Co-Chair’s spending plan doesn’t mention the OPIF specifically -  rather, the section devoted to tax credits simply states

Pending review by the Joint Committee on Tax Credits, our budget maintains current funding for the Earned Income, Farm Worker Housing, Political Contribution, and Cultural Trust tax credits. Expansion of these or other tax credits under consideration must come from reductions or eliminations of other current credits, or other sources of new revenue. (Read the entire document (PDF)…)

“Remember, it’s a process,” cautions one Oregon film and TV advocate close to the legislative effort to increase the state’s production incentives.  “Read through the budget document… it leaves the door open for a later negotiation on our credit.”  The Oregon Media Production Association agrees, and is urging members of Oregon’s film and TV community (and their supporters) to reach out to their legislators in support of the bill.  In the latest edition of the organization’s newsletter, The Call Sheet, Executive Director Tom McFadden  notes

It really makes a difference for a legislator to hear your honest, personal story.  Twice as much OPIF means twice as much work, so help us all out.

You can help by emailing or calling your state representative or state senator to urge their support.  (Read the entire article…)

The OMPA also provides a “template” message for contact with your state legislators:

Dear ____________,

HB 2267 is in front of the House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development today, and I would appreciate your support of this bill and the Governor’s proposed enhancement of OPIF (the Oregon Production Investment Fund). I understand that the research of the Oregon legislative committees has found this an extremely productive measure for growing jobs in a variety of sectors throughout Oregon by recruiting investment into our state.

As someone who works in this industry, I would like to make myself available to you with my personal experience. Since Oregon began seeing additional business as a result of the OPIF program, I … [then please tell a personal story about how your career or business has been positively influenced by the increased shooting in Oregon since OPIF or iOPIF was initiated - even if it is tangential, like "there wouldn't be resources in Oregon for me to learn or improve in my trade."]

Thank you for your service to Oregon.

Your name and your address

We hope that our readers will heed the OMPA’s call to contact their legislators, and take their advice to “make it personal. Don’t spam, don’t cc: the whole committee or the legislature. Make one relationship with one Rep or Senator in an email.”  Don’t know who your state legislators are?  It’s easy to find out – just visit our Talking To Your Legislators page, click here and enter your address and find out who he or she is… then let us know how the conversation goes!

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Portland Casting Director Lana Veenker Checks In On The State of Oregon’s Film & TV Industry

Portland-based casting director Lana Veenker

Portland-based casting director Lana Veenker

Portland-based casting director Lana Veenker stopped by the studios of KATU TV’s AM Northwest last week and shared some very interesting information on the state of Oregon’s film and TV industry.

In her interview with AM Northwest’s Dave Anderson, Veenker highlighted the tremendous impact film and television production has had in the state:

“… with all this economic bad news, film has really been a success story.  The just did a study, and they found out that in 2011 the film industry brough $1.4 billion in economic activity to Oregon.”

Oscar-winning actor Geena Davis

Oscar-winning actor Geena Davis

While much of the conversation revolved around local businesses and Oregon residents who have benefitted from films and TV shows already shooting here such as Portlandia and “another TV show shot here” (we’re assuming that “other” show is broadcast on rival network NBC…) a portion of the interview was also devoted to the new pilot Electric Entertainment, producers of the recently-cancelled Leverage, is bringing to the state.

The Governor’s Office of Film and Television recently confirmed that the as-yet-untitled pilot, starring Oscar-winner Geena Davis, will be filmed in Oregon this April.  Deadline.com is also reporting today that Gloria Reuben, Enrico Colantoni and Marsha Mason are slated to co-star in the project.

 

Posted in Film Incentives, Government, Grimm, Leverage, Monday Mornings, News, Out-of-State Productions, Portlandia, State Of The Industry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weekend Film Incentive News Wrap-Up

It’s the weekend, which means it’s time for our regular look at some of the news about film incentive programs around the country. Now, you know the focus of this site is Oregon’s film and TV industry, and its effect on the state’s economy. It’s important to keep an eye on trends nationwide, though. The film and TV industry is an interdependent organism; what happens around the country affects Oregon’s industry, and what happens in Oregon affects the rest of the country as well.

While each state’s incentive program is different, it’s important to see the “big picture” by keeping an eye on the choices other states have made – to learn from their successes and their mistakes.

So With That…

ArizonaAs we’ve previously reported, Arizona lawmakers and film supporters are putting forth a concerted effort to resurrect the Grand Canyon State’s film incentive program (which the legislature allowed to expire in 2010.)  A new bill, SB 1242, is currently working its way through the committee process in the state Senate and hopes are high for its success.

TexasWhile Texas’ film incentive program has strong numbers to back it up, the Texas Film Commission is being called on to defend its viability as the Lone Star State’s budget comes into clearer focus – film and TV supporters want to increase funding for the program, but as of February 7 no funds had been allocated for it.

TennesseeProductions from nearby Tennessee, however, seem happy to move to Texas in the wake of the Volunteer State’s pause in approving applications for its film incentive program.  Said “pause” stems from a damning report on the program’s management by the state’s comptroller.

MichiganFilm and TV workers in Michigan were surprised when governor Rick Snyder released his proposed budget for 2014 early this month.  Snyder’s budget proposes $25 million to fund the Wolverine State’s film incentive program, which is the same amount budgeted for 2013.  A legislative deal, however, increased that 2013 funding to $50 million – and many film and TV workers see Snyder’s new proposal as a step backwards.

North CarolinaLegislators in North Carolina are preparing to defend the Tar Heel State’s film incentive program in the coming General Assembly session against representatives who aren’t familiar with the benefits film and TV production bring to the state.

South CarolinaNeighboring South Carolina, however, hasn’t been blind to the benefits of North Carolina’s film incentives.  A pair of bills working their way through the Palmetto State’s legislature seek to boost South Carolina’s film incentive program so it can better compete with its northern neighbor’s.

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Video From The 2013 Oregon Film Annual Meeting Available Online

Several people weren’t able to attend last Tuesday’s Oregon Film Annual Meeting in Portland (in fact, the Governor’s Office of Film and Television notes that over 100 were turned away because Portland State University’s Lincoln Hall was filled to capacity.)

Thankfully, the meeting was recorded and those who missed the event can now watch the proceedings through the popular sharing service Vimeo.

Oregon Governor’s Office of Film & Television’s Annual Meeting (Jan. 15, 2013) from Oregon Film on Vimeo.

As the film office’s OregonConfluence blog notes, several clips were played live on January 15th which Oregon Film doesn’t have permission to rebroadcast.  Viewers can certainly get a sense of the energy of the evening, however… as we’re sure you can see, it was quite a night!

Posted in Film Incentives, Government, Leverage, News, Oregonian Productions, Out-of-State Productions, Portlandia, State Of The Industry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekend Film Incentive News Wrap-Up

It’s the weekend, which means it’s time for our regular look at some of the news about film incentive programs around the country. Now, you know the focus of this site is Oregon’s film and TV industry, and its effect on the state’s economy. It’s important to keep an eye on trends nationwide, though. The film and TV industry is an interdependent organism; what happens around the country affects Oregon’s industry, and what happens in Oregon affects the rest of the country as well.

While each state’s incentive program is different, it’s important to see the “big picture” by keeping an eye on the choices other states have made – to learn from their successes and their mistakes.

So With That…

The United StatesEveryone’s attention was focused on the nation’s capitol as 2012 wound to a close and Congress debated solutions to the “fiscal cliff.”  One provision to come out of the final negotiation was the extension of a federal film incentive in place since 2004.

CaliforniaCalifornia is still struggling to combatwhat it terms “runaway production” – productions opting to shoot in locations outside the Golden State.  Though production overall in Los Angeles was up in 2012, competition from other states offering film incentives is still high.  Palm Springs, to the south of Los Angeles, has just launched its own city film incentive program in an effort to lure productions back to the area.

ArizonaArizona has languished without a film incentivesince the state legislature allowed the Grand Canyon State’s program to expire in 2010.  Efforts to re-instate the incentive program over the past two hears haven’t borne fruit, but Tucson Senator Al Melvin is ready to bring another bill before the legislature in 2013.

North CarolinaNorth Carolina’s film and TV industry has been booming in recent years, and many state officials want to keep it that way.  Though the Tar Heel State’s film incentive isn’t set to expire until 2015, an effort is already underway to extend the program – or perhaps make it permanent.

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FX’s New Comedy “Legit” Shows Off Oregon Talent and Locations – In One Episode

"FX

FX Networks New Comedy Legit

After months of promotion cable network FX launched its new comedy series Legit, starring comedian Jim Jefferies, Thursday night.

While fans of the Australian comedian tuned into the show’s premiere in droves, many Oregonians tuned in for a different reason: to see if the pilot episode’s Portland locations were recognizable.  Unfortunately, this will be the only such chance for Oregonians to play “spot-that-landmark,” as the show’s remaining episodes were shot in Los Angeles.

Employing several Oregonians in the cast and on the crew, the comedy’s pilot was shot in the Portland area during 2011.  Sources close to the production tell us that Jefferies and the show’s producers were interested in shooting the entire series in Oregon after FX picked up the show in June of 2012, but there was no money available in the Oregon Production Investment Fund (the state’s film incentive program.)  We may never know how many Oregonians could have been hired to work on the show, or how much the show would have spent in the state.

Situations like Legit’s decision to shoot in Los Angeles, rather than Oregon, have stirred governor John Kitzhaber to propose doubling the state’s film incentives.  We hope our readers will remind their legislators of Legit’s story when they’re asking them to support the governor’s proposal.

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Kitzhaber Announces Proposal To Double Oregon’s Film Incentives

Oregon governor John Kitzhaber at the 2013 Oregon Film annual meeting (Photo: Oregon Film/ <a href="http://www.dimarcoimages.com/" target="_blank">Frank DiMarco</a>)

Oregon governor John Kitzhaber at the 2013 Oregon Film annual meeting (Photo: Oregon Film/ Frank DiMarco)

Before a capacity crowd of more than 500 Oregon film and TV workers Tuesday night Oregon governor John Kitzhaber revealed that his current budget proposal calls for increasing the Oregon Production Investment Fund (the state’s film incentive program) from $6 million to $12 million per year.

In his story on the event Portland Business Journal reporter Andy Giegrich quotes governor Kitzhaber as saying

“I got to see what ($100 million-plus) of productions look like on the ground,” Kitzhaber said. “And the finished products are remarkable. For a state that had a 10.6 percent unemployment rate two years ago, this industry is helping us in a lot of ways.” (Read the entire story…)

Giegrich also notes in his story that, while the final numbers haven’t come in, the Governor’s Office of Film and Television expects film and TV spending in 2012 to surpass 2011′s record $130 million.

“My recommended budget recommends doubling the film investment fund from $6 million to $12 million which [will] increase the capacity to bring more films here,” governor Kitzhaber told KGW reporter Joe Smith during an interview at the event.

The event also celebrated the role TNT’s recently-canceled Leverage played in the film and TV industry’s extraordinary growth over the past three years.  As the Oregonian’s Kristi Turnquist notes in her article on the event

Vince Porter, executive director of the Oregon film office, recalled that learning “Leverage” was coming to Oregon was “such a big sigh of relief, after ‘Twilight’ let us know they weren’t coming back.”

Oregon State Sen. Ginny Burdick announced that, in Devlin’s honor, the film office had arranged with Friends of Trees to plant four trees in Portland neighborhoods, one for each of the four seasons of “Leverage” filmed in Oregon.

Devlin complimented and thanked the Oregon crews and others who worked on “Leverage,” including elected officials.

And as a final gift to “Leverage” fans still mourning the show’s cancellation, Devlin hinted there might be more to come. “The show’s not quite dead,” he said, adding he was talking about possibly finding a new network for it.

Beyond that, Devlin’s production company has two new series and four features in the works. “And we would like,” he said, “to bring as many of them as possible here.” (Read the entire article…)

We’re heartened by the governor’s continuing support for Oregon’s film and TV industry, but it should be noted that his proposal to double Oregon’s film incentives is just that – a proposal.  That proposal must still be accepted by the state’s legislature, which begins its 2013 session on February 4.  We’re urging Oregon film and TV workers (and their supporters) to take the time now, before the session begins, to talk to their legislators and ask them to support the governor’s proposal to bring more film and television projects (and the jobs associated with them) to the state!

Posted in Film Incentives, Government, Leverage, News, Oregonian Productions, Out-of-State Productions, State Of The Industry, Twilight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Governor Kitzhaber To Address Oregon’s Film & TV Industry Tuesday, January 15

Oregon governor John Kitzhaber (Photo: John Klicker/Associated Press)

Oregon governor John Kitzhaber (Photo: John Klicker/Associated Press)

Every year Oregon’s governor addresses the state’s film and television industry at the Governor’s Office of Film and Television’s annual meeting.  This year’s annual meeting is set to take place just two weeks before the beginning of Oregon’s legislative session, and the state’s film and TV workers are anxious to hear governor John Kitzhaber’s thoughts on the state of the industry and where it’s headed – especially in light of TNT’s cancellation of the shot-in-Portland series Leverage.

A message from GOFTV Executive Producer Vince Porter that recently circulated through the state’s film and TV industry stresses the importance of this year’s event:

To some, the end of “Leverage” will be looked at as a reason to not move forward with the Governor’s plans for expansion [of the Oregon Production Investment Fund]…  At the annual meeting my expectation is that the Governor will emphasize his commitment to expanding the incentives.  In case you don’t already know his budget for the next budget cycle includes an expansion of OPIF.  He will need the industry’s support and positive energy to make this a reality.  The best way you can show your support in January is to show up to the meeting (with as many friends as possible).

We hope our readers will do their part to fill PSU’s Lincoln Hall on Tuesday, January 15 at 6:00 PM – and that you’ll invite your legislators  so they can better understand Oregon’s film and TV industry and the need to increase funding for the state’s film incentive program.

Film and TV workers (and supporters) outside Portland can take part in the event as well; as in years past, the Governor’s Office of Film and Television is setting up remote locations in Ashland, Eugene and La Grande.

We hope to see you there on January 15… be sure to let us know you’re coming by adding your name to the annual meeting’s Facebook event!

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