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News of Yavapai County

Why film in Arizona?

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The Prescott Film Festival continues onto its third day today, Sunday, June 10, starting with a sneak peek and Arizona premiere of “Woman Walks Ahead” and the short film “Two Strangers Meet Five Times” at 3 p.m. followed by the Wines to Die For wine tasting at 5:30 p.m. featuring wines and hors d’oeuvres from BigA. The documentary “78/52 Hitchcock’s Shower Scene” and the Arizona premiere of the short film “Good Morning” follows at 7 p.m. A free showing of “Psycho” begins at 9 p.m. in the outdoor pavilion.

There is also a free Student Short Film program at 1 p.m. in Building Three, Room 119.

Tickets are $13 for general admission, $7 for students, $275 for an all access Platinum Pass, $160 for an all film pass, $110 for a 10-pack general admission and $45 for the wine tasting which includes admission to the documentary following. Tickets can be purchased online at https://ift.tt/2JxMItB or at the box office.

The filmmakers for “Good Morning” are scheduled to be in attendance.

Though the state of Arizona no longer offers tax credits following the reopening the Arizona Office of Film & Digital Media in 2016 after a six-year closure, there are still benefits to filming in Arizona, according to Arizona State Film Commissioner Matthew Earl Jones.

Speaking at the first workshop of the Prescott Film Festival Saturday, June 9, Jones said that those benefits work just as well as tax credits. One is the free use of state roads to all filmmakers, he said. “If we’re really going to have an industry, we have to grow it from within. I would someday like to be out of the business of importing jobs and in the business of exporting content. For that to happen, that means that everyone has to feel vested,” Jones said. “I don’t care if you’re doing a $250 million movie or a $25 short, you can use the state roads for free.”

Additionally, Sue Black, director of state parks and trails, took it personally that “Only the Brave” was shot in New Mexico, Jones said. As such, she’s letting all filmmakers shoot on state parks and trails for free, he said. Permits used to be about $2,000 per day, he said. Filmmakers still need to apply because official slike to know what they’re doing, but the fees are waived, Jones said.

The Department of Public Safety also has 24-hour coverage for the film industry with a way to reach out to them if anything changes, he said.

The film office started a program called Reel Savings, too, Jones said. It’s a private public sector rebate and discount program and the office is in the process of creating a statewide production directory which will be free, he said. Most tax credits have a lengthy processing period and are usually capped, with the Reel Savings program, it’s a simple five-question online application, there’s no cap or review process and since it’s a private sector program, it’s not subject to political whim, Jones said.

“I know that there are people in this part of the state with the talent and the experience to be a vibrant part of our industry. In the past, I’d have to say we haven’t done the best job of reaching out. I’m trying to counter that,” he said. “It gives us a way of letting people know they don’t have to bring all their talent or crew or equipment to shoot in Arizona. If you can come here with all we have to offer and get a great deal, that’s a good counter to going all the way to New Mexico and having all those extra travel days.”

Other benefits to filming in Arizona include key vendors offering a 30 percent cash rebate in 30 days, a partnership with Sonora, Mexico and a film resource coordinator program allowing volunteers to be in more remote areas within the state, Jones said.

As a whole, the approach for the Arizona Office of Film & Digital Media is to have a good relationship with Southern California, he said.

“We’re not competing with Hollywood,” Jones said. “We’re competing with New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and our neighboring states.”

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