Category Archives: Film

Film General

Inland Empire’s Experienced Film Consulting Team Launches New Agency

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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

(951) 377-7849

sheri@iefilmpermits.com

www.IEfimpermits.com

Film General

What Happened to the Inland Empire Film Commission?

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By Dan Taylor

Many of you remember the articles by Sheri Davis of the Inland Empire Film Commission (IEFC), revealing all the juicy tidbits of information about the film industry traipsing around the High Desert looking for the perfect location for their feature film, commercial or magazine shoot. All of a sudden the Inland Empire Film Commission disappeared with little fanfare.

“What happened,” You ask? Well, the details are pretty convoluted, but basi­cally the entity housing the Film Commission decided to close that division. So how will the High Desert continue to get the filming that brings so much money to the area?

The County of San Bernardino Eco­nomic Development Agency quickly stepped in to help fill the gap. They contracted with the newly formed Dan Taylor Consulting company to pick up the pieces – in other words, they hired the author of this article. I have worked for Sheri Davis and the IEFC for over 14 years and at the time it closed, I was the Deputy Director. Riverside County decided to also open their own film of­fice with two wonderful ladies Sheri and I have been training for over a year, Stephanie Stethem and Bettina Breck­enfeld. Sheri Davis is semi-retired but is still working, filming with the Big Bear Lake Film Office and the Greater Palm Springs Film Office / Alliance. Once you have worked 27,000 square miles of filming opportunity for over 20 years, I guess you would consider two filming regions as semi-retired too. Over the 20 plus years the IEFC was in existence, Sheri and I helped to bring in over $1.4 billion dollars in economic impact to the two county regions of the Inland Empire.

“How will all these changes affect me and my business,” you might ask. Well hopefully, you did not notice any change at all. Due to the quick actions of Mary Jane Olhasso, Assistant Executive Of­ficer – Finance and Administration for the County of San Bernardino, the day the IEFC closed the San Bernardino County Film Office (SBCFO) was up and running. The SBCFO does most of the same things the IEFC did, such as process permits in 1-3 days, coordinate with the various county departments (i.e. Transportation, Parks, Fire, etc) to accommodate special filming requests, maintain a local film crew and services database, and keep a location library re­source to assist the film industry in their search for the perfect spot to film.

Filming Report for 2015

Feature Films: Unfortunately, we were not able to secure any major feature films this year, but the High Desert had the opportunity to have a total of 18 in­die features, up from 11 in 2014. Cali­fornia as a whole has benefited from the recent State Film incentive, but so far it has not trickled down to the High Des­ert. Here are some of the smaller films that shot here:

“The Bad Batch,” shot at El Mirage Dry Lake and Aviation Warehouse in El Mirage. This might have technically been an indie film, but it will star Keanu Reeves, Jason Momoa and Jim Carrey.

“The Neon Demon,” shot at Bristol Salt Flats in Amboy, I think Keanu Reeves likes the High Desert. This is another indie he did also starring Christina Hen­dricks and Elle Fanning.

“Sky,” shot in Barstow (High Noon Saloon); Hinkley (Hinkley Rd; Hinkley Ranch); Joshua Tree (Copper Mountain College; Quail Springs Rd; Broadway Rd; Sunfair Rd); Landers (Rattlesnake Cyn Rd); Lenwood (Hills Ranch); Ludlow (Ludlow Café; Main St; Na­tional Trail Hwy; Lavic Rd); Newberry Springs (Mobil Gas Station; Black Butte Rd; Pisgah St; Bagdad Café); Victor­ville (Holland Burger). This “little mov­ie that could,” starred Diane Kruger, Norman Reedus, Lena Dunham, Lou Diamond Phillips and Joshua Jackson. They hopped all over the High Desert for several days to get this movie made.

“Honey Jar: Chase for the Gold,” shot at Calico Ghost Town in Yermo.

TV Episodic: The most notable was cable show “Into the Badlands,” which came out in September and shot a scene on the El Mirage Dry Lake.

TV Reality: Five TV Reality shows chose the high desert for their locations. “Little Women,” shot at Silverwood Lake in the Hesperia area, “The Great Food Truck Race,” shot at the Route 66 Museum in Barstow; “The Story Trek,” shot at Calico Ghost Town in Yermo; “This is Life with Lisa Ling,” shot at the Hotel Nipton; “Storage Wars,” shot in Adelanto; and the “Rich Kids of Bev­erly Hills,” shot in Yermo and Baker.

Commercials: There were 107 commer­cials that chose the county as a location and 54 of them were shot in the High Desert. Here are some of the most no­table:

“Mercedes,” shot at the Pisgah Crater in Newberry Springs; “Born Shoes,” shot at the Death Valley National Park; “5-Hour Energy,” shot at Dumont Dunes; “Johnny Walker,” shot at El Mirage Dry Lake; “iPhone 6,” shot at El Mirage Dry Lake, and Aviation Warehouse in El Mirage; “Jay Leno’s Garage,” shot his opening sequence at the El Mirage Dry Lake; and “Dominos,” shot at Harper Dry Lake in Hinkley.

Stills & Catalog: Still photographers have loved the High Desert for years be­cause of the wide open spaces, topogra­phy and the abundance of natural light. In 2015, 35% of all the stills shoots in the county chose the High Desert:

“Ford,” shot at Coyote Dry lake in Ye­rmo; “VW,” shot at Rabbit Dry Lake in Apple Valley; “Maite Perroni:” This Mexican actress, model and singer/songwriter chose El Mirage Dry Lake for her latest shoot. “Kiyoharu:” This Japanese musician and singer/song­writer also chose El Mirage Dry Lake as the backdrop to his portfolio; and “Pepsi Strong Zero:” This new product from Pepsi Cola chose Cougar Buttes in Lucerne Valley for their ad campaign shoot for this Japanese soda.

Music Videos: The High Desert is THE place to shoot your music video, as evi­denced by the 41 of the 54 music videos that shot in San Bernardino County:

“Interscope Records Music Video:” An undisclosed client of Interscope chose to shoot their music video at Giant Rock in Landers. I wonder who it was? “Pa­rade of Lights:” This new genre-bending band chose Dumont Dunes and Silurian Dry Lake in the Baker area for their de­but song, “Feeling Electric.” You can watch their video here – http://tinyurl.com/feelingelectric. “Andreea Balan:” This Romanian pop singer loved El Mi­rage Dry Lake when she shot her video “Uita-ma” – watch it here – http://ti­nyurl.com/uita-ma. “Cheek:” Cheek is a Finnish Rapper who found the rocky desert area of Cougar Buttes perfect for his music video “Sa Huudat” – check it out at http://tinyurl.com/sa-huudat.

Documentary and Industrial: 12 of the 22 Documentary and Industrial shoots were in the High Desert. Here are a few to look into:

“In Search of Colour:” The BBC loves California and comes out almost every year. This year they chose to shoot in Big Bear Lake, Fawnskin and Death Valley. “Scout Junior:” This was an In­dustrial shoot for Indian Motorcycle that shot at the El Mirage Dry Lake. What is an Industrial shoot? “It is a video that targets ‘Industry’ as its primary audience,” according to Wikipedia. In this case it was an educational video made for an audience within the motorcycle industry.

Students: 50% of ALL the student shoots in the County of San Bernardino were based in the High Desert. Here is a list of the schools that chose a desert backdrop for their project:

Art Center College of Design, Azusa Pacific University, Biola University, Chapman University, Columbia Col­lege Hollywood, Loyola Marymount University, New York Film Academy, Saddleback College, and St. John’s Uni­versity.

Other: Other encompasses any film shoot that does not fit into one of the categories above (i.e. web video, short films, etc). Over 59% of this category chose the High Desert:

“Mini/Tony Hawk BTS” – Web Com­mercial; “Triumph Motorcycles” – Web Commercial; “King of the Hammers” – Event Video; “The Road” – Short Film; and “Leap” – Short Film – http://tinyurl.com/movie-leap.

Economy Film General

How does the Inland Empire Film commission Make it so easy?

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How does the Inland Empire Film commission Make it so easy 1

By Sheri Davis – Director

The High Desert still remains the number one desert location for the Film Industry in California. Why you ask? It is really a simple answer – terrific light, diversity of locations (from a mountain community to the vast sand dunes at Dumont) as well as experienced crew and service providers. Also, the film industry gets ease of permitting with the Inland Empire Film Commission which serves as the One Stop Permit Agency for the County of San Bernardino, the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. How does the Film Commission make it so easy? They have some very important partners whose support is key to successful filming in the High Desert. The Barstow Bureau of Land Management leadership and staff deserve a medal for their excellence in assisting filming. This office is exemplary and should be the role model for other BLM field offices. County Supervisor Lovingood from the First District and Supervisor Rutherford from the Third District are very supportive partners to the film commission and are great proponents of filming in their districts.

Filming Update For 2014

Feature Films: 11 feature films selected locations from El Mirage Dry Lake to the Dumont Dunes. The pattern of studio features shooting out of state for most of their production continued through 2014 as they secure incentives, both in other states and other nations. Some of the smaller films shot were “Nothing Like Romance” shot in Oro Grande, “The Executer,” shot in Yermo, and “Zeroville,” shot at the Barstow Drive-in. We are very hopeful that the new incentive bill AB1839 that passed allowing $330 million a year for five (5) years to be used as an incentive to keep filming in California. This renewal and revision of the State Film Incentive program bumps the 20% incentive to 25% for films shooting outside the 30-mile zone around Hollywood (more details below). Hopefully, this will encourage production to come to the High Desert.

Reality Television: Reality TV still enjoys filming in the High Desert region with 14 shows such as “Top Gear,” Jay Leno’s untitled new show, “Masterchef,” “Sand Master,” “Die Trying: Gates of Hell,” “Storage Wars,” and “IQ Challenge,” to name just a few of the shows.

Commercials: 56 commercials selected locations in the High Desert. The dry lakes in the county still attract the largest numbers of commercials with El Mirage Dry Lake leading with 17 commercials. Here are a few commercials that did NOT involve the automobile industry: GE, Icon Health, Water Future, 7 Jeans, Megane-ichiba sunglasses. Other dry lakes like Soggy, Silurian, Lucerne, Rabbit and Coyote also attracted their fair share of commercials like Blacklist Olympics, Golden Girls, Pokémon Master Recruiter, USA Network Series Promo for “Dig,” American Eagle and California Lottery. Then, of course, we had many of the car agencies return for that special desert look…Subaru, Lamborghini, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Hyundai, and Dodge Viper, among many other products. The locations ranged from communities like Yermo to Baker, from Barstow to Wrightwood, from Lucerne Valley to Trona. Watch for these commercials and enjoy your locations being introduced to the world.

Still Photography: Still photographers still consider the High Desert lighting and diversity to be perfect for their requirements. 62 still photography shoots for both national and international products like Gala Paris, Macy’s, Prestige Magazine, Nissan Frontier, Lexus, Top Gear Clothing, American Eagle, Show Me Your Mumu, ESPN Magazine, Engelbert Strauss Workwear, Arch Motorcycles, W Magazine, Urban Outfitters and Grip (a German TV car magazine) are some the highlights.

Music Videos: The region enjoyed a huge increase in music videos over the previous year. There were 35 music videos shot throughout the High Desert. Have you ever wondered about all of the music videos that you have seen and thought look like your area. Well, here are just a few for your viewing pleasure – just go to the URLs below and enjoy a music video shot in your region.

Student Production: 19 film school projects discovered the High Desert region. Some of the larger film schools that used our region were Chapman University, University of California Irvine, New York Film Academy, Art Center College of Design, Loyola Marymount University and Columbia College.

Documentaries, Short films, Web Series: 51 other productions selected varied locations in the High Desert such as a market in Trona, the Barstow Hospital, as well as various locations in Newberry Springs and Daggett. However, 38 of the productions were shot on land managed by the Barstow Bureau of Land Management which includes El Mirage Dry Lake, Johnson Valley and the Dumont Dunes.

King of the Hammers: Each year a film crew comes out to record the actions at one of the biggest desert racing events in the Nation called “King of the Hammers.” This is a 5-day event that always selects Johnson Valley, is filled with races, vehicle rock climbing, etc., and has an audience of over 25,000 people attending. We want to thank the Barstow Bureau of Land Management for their support of this important race to Lucerne Valley and the desert region.

Johnson Valley Update

Tony Perry, a reporter with the Los Angeles Times, in an article on May 9, 2014, reported on the final decision for the use of Johnson Valley by the U.S. Marines and the OHV community.

“After nearly a decade-long dispute between the Marine Corps and off-road vehicle enthusiasts over a rocky patch of desert west of the base at Twentynine Palms has ended in a compromise brokered by Congress. Neither side got everything they wanted in the tussle over the nearly 200,000 acres of forbidding Johnson Valley — a place of rugged beauty that off-roaders say is virtually without peer for their sport. The Marines say the same about their training needs.

As included in the 2014 defense bill signed by President Obama, approximately 43,000 acres of Johnson Valley will be for recreational use only, 79,000 acres will be for the Marine Corps, and 53,000 acres will be shared between the off-roaders and the Marines.”

Johnson Valley

The Inland Empire Film Commission is not certain at this time how these decisions will impact filming.

California Tax Incentive Update

California Film and Television Tax Incentive Expanded and Extended 20-25% Credit

The California Film & Television Job Retention and Promotion Act, signed by Governor Brown in September, 2014, expands and improves California’s Film and TV incentives. The California Film Commission is currently developing regulations and other procedures to administer the newly expanded film and TV tax credit program.

Key Changes from Prior Program

  • Increases tax credit program funding to $330 million per fiscal year; extended for 5 years
  • Expands eligibility to big-budget feature films, 1-hr TV series (for any distribution outlet) and TV pilots
  • Eliminates budget caps for studio and independent films
  • Replaces current lottery with a ranking system based on jobs and other criteria
  • Provides for multiple allocation periods throughout the year

Additional 5% Credit Uplift (Maximum credit = 25%)

  • Filming outside the Los Angeles zone + 5%
  • Music scoring/music tracking recording expenditures + 5%
  • Visual effects expenditures + 5%

Eligible Productions

  • Feature Films: $1 million minimum budget; while there is no maximum budget cap, credit allocation applies only to the first $100 million in qualified expenditures
  • Movies-of-the-Week and Miniseries: $500,000 minimum budget
  • New Television Series for any distribution outlet: $1 million minimum budget per episode (at least 40 minutes per episode, scripted only)
  • TV Pilots: $1 million minimum budget
  • Television Series, without regard to episode length, that filmed their prior season outside California; $1 million minimum budget
  • Independent Films: $1 million minimum budget; while there is no budget cap, credits apply only to the first $10 million of qualified expenditures (only independent projects may sell their tax credits)

New Selection Criteria

Productions will be ranked from highest to lowest based upon a jobs ratio and other criteria against “like” projects (TV ranked against TV, indie projects against indie, etc.). The CA Film Commission will award tax credits to those productions in each category with the highest ranking. The new program provides four separate funding “pots” for these categories : TV series and TV pilots / independent projects / non-indie feature films / and relocating TV series.

Key Dates

Final Lottery – Original tax credit program eligibility – APRIL 2015

  • Productions may not begin principal photography before July 1, 2015

New Program: First application period – May 2015 (TV only) / Summer 2015 (feature films)

  • Projects selected by new ranking system
  • Productions may not begin principal photography before July 1, 2015

Courtesy of the California Film Commission

High Desert Film Alliance

The High Desert Film Alliance, which is active and meets monthly in the region, has new Co-Chairs – Joshua and Tiffany Addante. With this new leadership, they are looking into expanding their internet exposure in hopes of being available to assist more productions as they come into the region. The alliance has also changed their monthly meetings to the 2nd Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Marriot Courtyard in Hesperia. If you are interested in attending to find out more about the alliance, or if you are a film professional living in the High Desert and would like to network with other professionals, please feel free to come. Please RSVP to info@filminlandempire. com so we can save you a seat. Menu will be available for those of you who would enjoy dining during the meeting.

The Inland Empire Film Commission wants to take this opportunity to thank Phyllis Overall for her years as Chairman of the High Desert Film Alliance. Her dedication and energy for film production in the High Desert is unequaled and she will be missed.

Film General

Inland Empire Film Commission

Published by:

By Sheri Davis

The High Desert remains the number one desert location for the film industry in California. Why you ask? It is really a simple answer – terrific light, diversity of locations (from a mountain community to the vast sand dunes at Dumont), experienced crew and service providers, and ease of permitting with the Inland Empire Film Commission serving as the One Stop Permit Agency for the County of San Bernardino, the United States Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management.

Special Effects Permitting Update

We are delighted to announce that the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance that will streamline the process of issuing film permits by eliminating the requirement to get an explosives permit in addition to a filming permit as long as they have a valid pyrotechnic and special effects license current with the State of California. This was a project the IEFC started in 1996 but it took the team of George Watson, Chief of Staff to Supervisor Neal Derry, San Bernardino County; Michael Delgado, Government Relations Officer, CAO’s office, San Bernardino County; Curtis Markloff, San Bernardino County Fire Department and Todd Cole, Sgt. San Bernardino County Sheriff to complete.

Filming Update Since October 2011 To Present

Seven feature films selected locations from El Mirage Dry Lake to the Dumont Dunes. Two of the more notable feature films was “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” starring Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis; and “Seven Psychopaths” starring Woody Harrelson, Colin Farrell and Christopher Walken.

Reality television has become the mainstay of television production for the High Desert region with shows such as “Stunt Busters,” “Pawn Stars,” and “The Biggest Loser” to name a few.

When 17 commercials selected locations in the desert, the commercials highlighted a number of the dry lakes in the districts with El Mirage Dry lake being the most used of all of them. Watch for these commercials and enjoy our locations being introduced to the world. A few of the car commercials were BMW, Chevy Volt, Lexus, Kia, Mazda and Subaru. Some of the other commercials that were not car related were Absolut vodka, Graiman, and Trane AC units.

Still photographers still consider the High Desert lighting and diversity to be perfect for their requirements. Fifty two still photography shoots with both National and International products such as Neiman Marcus, Glamour, Calvin Klein, American Eagle, Lefthansa Airlines, Rolling Stone Magazine, Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters and Mercedes Benz were shot in the High Desert region from Barstow to Baker. The town of Joshua Tree enjoyed an increase in production during this period also.

Do you ever wonder about all of the music videos that are watched daily and where they are shot? Out of the 18 music videos that selected the High Desert here are just a few: Michael Saranga (Coyote Dry Lake), James Durbin (Coyote Dry Lake), Megdelena’s “Drown in Me” (Soggy Dry lake), Keith Urban (Silurian Dry Lake), Liz Primo’s“ Wind Me Up” (El Mirage Dry Lake), Marc Lavoine (El Mirage Dry Lake).

Twenty one other productions selected varied locations in the High Desert such as the Town of Joshua Tree; and the City of Twentynine Palms had the documentary TV series “Who the Bleep did I marry?” shoot on various streets throughout the city.

Each year a film crew comes out to record the actions at one of the biggest desert racing events in the Nation called “King of the Hammers.” This 5-day event always selects Johnson Valley and is filled with races, vehicle rock climbing, etc. that have an audience of over 25,000 people attending.

Johnson Valley Update

For those who weren’t aware that Johnson Valley had been slated for use by the Marine Corp. out of Twentynine Palms which would have meant a loss of the use of most of Johnson Valley to both the Production Industry but also the recreational users as well. An article published on December 11, 2011 by writer Robert Burns of the Associated Press quotes Marine Corp. Commandant General James F. Amos stating that the future of the Marine Corps lies in a “smaller, versatile sea-based fighting force based primarily around the Pacific, including bases in Okinawa and Australia….but not in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

Since Marine representatives haverepeatedly stated that the sole reason for the very expensive and widely criticized takeover of the Johnson Valley area is to prepare Marines for land-based battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, General Amos has confirmed that this proposed expansion is no longer necessary or even critical to the future of the Marine Corps.

California Tax Incentive Update

The California Film Commission has been tasked with overseeing a five-year, $500 million dollar program (recently extended by one year), which provides tax credits to eligible film and TV productions that meet specific criteria. The program, which launched in July 2009, targets those productions most likely to leave the state due to incentives offered by other states and countries. The program has succeeded in attracting the target groups of basic cable TV series, mid-sized feature films and TV movies. This has enabled California to be competitive and keep many at-risk projects in the state. To date, approximately $400 million in tax credits has been allocated (reserved), resulting in:

  • Estimated total aggregate direct spending by Program projects – $2.9 Billion
  • Estimated total below-the-line wages paid / to be paid by Program projects – $1 Billion
  • An estimated 32,000 crew and 8,900 cast members have been / will be hired by the approved projects

The CFC will be accepting applications for its next round of tax credits on June 1, 2012. Please visit its website for more information – www.film.ca.gov/incentives.

As anticipated, Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes introduced a bill (AB 2026) seeking to extend the Film & Television Tax Credit for five years through 2019-2020. Please join the effort to extend the tax incentive program for California by contacting your state representatives and encourage them to vote for bill AB 2026.

Economy Film Politics

Inland Empire Film Commission

Published by:

By Sheri Davis

During this economic age, the one thing feature film productions hunt after are tax incentives. So in 2009, California started offering production tax incentives through 2014 in hopes to encourage companies to stay in the state. Recently, the California State Senate voted to extend the state’s Film & Television Tax Credit Program for one more year. The original legislation (AB 1069) which passed the State Assembly as a five-year extension (through 2020), was amended in the Senate on August 26th to provide a one-year, $100 million extension (through 2015). If signed by the governor, it will add one year to the current five-year, $500 million program. Although the film commission’s pushed for an incentive “bump” on the original bill passed in 2009 to encourage the industry to travel outside of its comfort zone of Los Angeles, it was never included. The Film Commissions in the State are hoping that when this bill gets to the Senate, that piece will be added to encourage filming all across the state.

Feature filming is still on the decline as the studios continue to search for the best incentives around the world. The incentive package that the State of California implemented in 2009 did fund lots of smaller budgeted feature films; however most of the large tentpole features are still leaving because the program is not available to films over $75 million. In light of that, The Inland Empire Film Commission (IEFC) still capture 12 features, mostly in the desert areas of San Bernardino County. Some of those features included the Green Lantern, Fast Five (aka Fast & Furious 5), Thor and Priest. The feature film Priest reported expenditures of $625,718 in the High Desert when they filmed on Soggy Dry Lake.

There were 18 television shows that found exactly what they needed in the San Bernardino County desert. Shows like Chaos, Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, Car Nutz, Wheels Up (for the Speed Channel), Top Gear (U.S. and U.K. versions), It’s Effin Science, Man vs Wild, Storage Wars, and The Event.

Commercial and still photography are still the two main types of production that select the region. 118 projects were shot in the area during 2010. The big attraction for the film industry is the open vistas, great light and diversity of locations.

We are in the final stages of opening existing BLM land for filming in the 1st District of San Bernardino County. We worked with Supervisor Mitzelfelt to accomplish this goal, that was started all the way back in 1999. The IEFC manages this project between the Bureau of Land Management and the County of San Bernardino.

The IEFC did numerous marketing ventures that showcased the desert at several Trade Shows in 2010. Being outside of the 30-mile zone has its challenges, but as residents and industry professionals in the valley work with the IEFC, we have developed our own local “incentive package”….hotels willing to give competitive rates, restaurants and other service providers offering incentives and, of course, the crew that is resident in the valley is always there to help.

The economy slowed down commercial production for 2010 but the High Desert still managed to hold its own with film companies electing to stay in California.

The 16th Annual California on Location Awards once again brought recognition to the High Desert with a number of the finalists who shot their projects in the desert region. The 2010 event attracted over 525 Industry professionals and was hosted by the premier awards hotel – the Beverly Hilton.

The California Film Commission’s “Power Breakfast” always gets attention as the Dumont Dunes was highlighted as one of the six photos used on the one-page flyer dedicated to the Inland Empire. This year’s breakfast was hosted by the Softiel Hotel in Beverly Hills, and 85 Studio Executives and production company owners attended.

The2010 estimated economic impact for District 1 was $8,995,500 and District 3 for 2010 was $3,765,500 for a total of $12,761,000.