By Sheri Davis
Inland Empire Film Services
Lights! Camera! And a renewed scenario of action for the makers of movies, television shows and other projects that regularly roll film in the Inland Empire.
Sheri Davis and Dan Taylor, who have almost four decades of combined experience facilitating the production of film projects in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, are striking out on their own. Formerly the force behind the Inland Empire Film Commission, Davis and Taylor, after working under the auspices of another agency for many years, will again be the go-to people for film crews who want to focus their cameras on the region. They will provide a multitude of services that include film permits, traffic control, compliance and other logistical services.
Their new agency, Inland Empire Film Services, launched recently and is currently lining up a series of agreements to assist the two counties, many of the area’s 50-plus cities and towns and the county’s special land-use districts when film crews want to come to town.
Inland Empire Film Services will handle many of the problems movie-goers and televisionwatchers do not see on the screen. Film crews, in populated areas and in open spaces, must have permits to operate and also have to make sure the public is not inconvenienced during shooting. That means keeping local law enforcement and other agencies in the loop, among other tasks.
IE Film Services will make all of those arrangements and more, making it the invaluable link between the film crews and the local area, said Davis. The idea, she said, is to meld the traditional operation of a film commission with other services utilized by the industry and by local governments.
“The idea is to create a one-stop shop for the film industry and for the local communities,” Davis said. “It’s some thing that has not been done before.”
In addition to working with film crews, IE Film Services also plans to assist cities on issues such as traffic control during local events such as parades. Their services would include duties like community notification, lane and street closures, posting the relevant street and road signs, barricades, safety gear and developing relationships with local law enforcement.
Over the years the Inland Empire, from city streets to the more remote areas in the desert and mountain areas, have frequently been targeted by film crews, including many big-budget motion pictures. These titles, filmed at least in part in the Inland Empire, include major Hollywood blockbusters such as “Iron Man,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” “The Changeling and Valkyrie,” along with top television shows such as “24,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Veep,” “Top Gear “and “The Grand Tour.”
And the economic impact of these film projects is considerable. Film crews regularly buy goods, running from stage props and tools to food and fuel, from local stores, contractors and vendors. Since 1995, filming provided $1.4 billion in revenues for Riverside and San Bernardino counties. In the most recent fiscal year, the film industry spent more than $50 million in the Inland Empire.
Inland Empire Film Services is currently renewing its relationships with both counties and numerous cities. Davis and Taylor they are also working on Memorandums of Understanding with the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Wild land in the mountains and deserts are both very popular locations for the film industry, mostly because of the relative proximity to Los Angeles and the terrains that can be portrayed as mountains or deserts of other countries.
The work Davis and Taylor have done over the years has been cited as deserv ing “special thanks” in the closing credits of countless movies. Their efforts with Inland Empire Film Services will ensure that this list of closing credits is just starting.
About Sheri Davis
Sheri is one of the most prestigious film-industry facilitators in California and served as the Director of the Inland Empire Film Commission from 1993 to 2015. But her work to bring film crews to the Inland Empire actually started in the late 1980s when, while working at the Big Bear Lake Chamber of Commerce, she played a major part in establishing the Big Bear Lake Film Office, the oldest film service provider in the Inland region.
Sheri worked with the Inland Empire Economic Council during the inception of the San Bernardino County Film Commission and with the Inland Empire Economic Partnership when Riverside County was added to the mix. This led to the SBCFC evolving into the Inland Empire Film Commission in 1993. Sheri took over leadership of that organization and never looked back.
Over the next 20-plus years, she spearheaded the organization’s efforts, which resulted in an average of more than $80 million in economic impact a year. Under Sheri’s leadership, the IEFC was the first regional film commission to sign MOUs with both the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, which streamlined the permitting process down from two or three weeks to two or three days.
Sheri is also one of the leaders of her industry statewide. She started the California Only Trade Show, an effort to display the state’s film service’s benefits and halt some of the “runaway production” that was costing the state and its communities money. She is a cofounder of the annual California On Location Awards, which for 20 years has been recognized as an event that celebrates filming and honors the people in the locations’ communities who help make it happen. That trade show highlights how California locations can be used to portray places all over the world. Sheri is also one of the founders of Film Liaisons in California Statewide, or FLICS, a collation of 41 regional film offices that works to keep film crews from leaving the state.
About Dan Taylor
Dan most recently served as the Facilitator/Liaison for the San Bernardino County Film Office, an organization he joined in the summer of 2015. In that capacity he was responsible for assisting production companies in acquiring the proper permits and encouraging them to hire local crews and services.
Previously, Dan was the Deputy Director of the Inland Empire Film Commission for 13 years. During that time, he successfully assisted thousands of film shoots, from fashion-based still-photography sessions to major motion pictures, assisting them with their locations, permitting and crew and service needs.
Dan has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Azusa Pacific University, and he believes that training, surprisingly, gave him many skills that translated into his work with the film industry. He also has a long record of providing customer service by working in the choral music industry while employed at Chandler Music Services, as well as the educational system through his work as Concert Coordinator for the Azusa Pacific University School of Music.
His background in quality control, which gave him the skills that allows, him to put out the best product possible, stems from experience in the garment industry that includes positions at Cherokee Jeans, Cross Colours, Karl Kani and Guess Jeans.
Contact: Sheri Davis