Letter From The Director
Another year of highs and lows have come and gone, and there hasn’t been a dull moment. How could there be in this industry? Writers’ strikes, tax incentive wars, and productions companies that tell us “we’re coming” and then “we’re not,” and then “we are,” and then “we’re not…”
The highs, of course, are when they do finally set up shop here…like Sam Mendes checking in at JW Marriott Starr Pass or the steady increase in commercial production companies shooting national tv spots here. Some of the lows, well, those mostly have to do with the projects that got away…like a 3:10 to Yuma (the original shot here) or HAMLET 2 which claims to be Tucson in the film but was actually shot in Albuquerque (and we so wish it were the other way around).
One loss, especially sad for the Tucson production community, is that the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) decided, after 5 years of holding their 10-day Producers Academy here, to move it to Santa Fe. The city of Tucson, the MTCVB, UA Media Arts & Hanson Film Institute, TFO and others did everything we could to keep them here, but New Mexico did more. Ultimately, we’re grateful for the hundreds of industry decision makers NALIP brought to Baja Arizona and for how they helped strengthen our local production community. It took a village of local crew, production services, interns and businesses to produce the Academy, and it will take that same dedicated village to do what it will take to lure them and other productions back.
It’s been a struggle to compete with New Mexico, which has one of the most attractive incentive programs in the business (and now Louisiana, Connecticut and Michigan are right there with them), but we’re not surrendering anytime soon. Our 3-year-old Arizona Motion Picture Incentive Program has a lot of potential, and the MTCVB/Tucson Film Office is working collaboratively with other public and private sector stakeholders to make it work. Right now we’re laying the groundwork for a new bill to take to the state legislature when they reconvene in January 2009. If you want more details about what we’re doing and about upcoming legislative action, please email Adam Dick, and he’ll make sure you’re in the loop.
So if you’re an Arizonan who wants more film business in our state, be sure to tell your state legislators at every opportunity. If you’re a filmmaker who wants to shoot here, call me and we’ll see if we can give New Mexico a run for their money.
Oscar-Winning Director Checks Into Tucson Top-Tier Resort For Latest Film
When Tucson plays host to feature films, the above-the-line are never at a loss for top-notch lodging at which to stay. Our dozens of high-end luxury resorts—far too many to mention all of them here--never fail to dazzle the eye and soothe a production-weary soul. Sometimes, the resort even ends up in the film itself. Such was the case when Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes breezed into southern AZ to shoot his upcoming opus Farlanders (also known by the title This Must Be The Place) starring Maya Rudolph (of Saturday Night Live) and John Krasinski (of The Office). Part of the storyline involves a lavish Arizona hotel property, and the JW Marriott Starr Pass & Golf Resort was only too happy to step up and offer itself for filming. To read the Arizona Daily Star article, click here (registration required). The cast and crew were delighted to be lodging at the very location at which they were lensing, and the unique splendor of Tucson was visualized to great effect by the Cinematographer extraordinaire Ellen Kuras.
Tucson Film Office Adopted Into Tyler Perry's Family
It's one of the truest aphorisms of our industry: there are no small parts. So when the creators of Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys Together needed a singular location to stand in as many during a long distance road trip, where else to go but Southern AZ? Rather than drive up production costs by filming numerous locales across the nation, the crew of Perry's latest flick opted for a more cost-effective means by finding a vast array of natural American landscapes in just a handful of Southern AZ locales. Our versatility allows us to stand in as the Midwest (the roads winding through the grasslands of Elgin, AZ), New Mexico/Texas (the highway leading to Patagonia, AZ) and, of course, the quintessential Tucson desert of saguaros and prickly pear cacti. The crew of this surefire-box-office-smash were wowed by Tucson's splendor and we were proud to assist them.