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Producers Highlight Importance Of State Resources At Sundance

BY: Marjorie Galas, Editor

Sundance was the setting for the return of the Variety411 Production Incentive Webinar Series for 2014.  Presented by EP Financial Solutions and the Association of Film Commissioners International, moderator Joesph Chianes, EVP of EP Financial Solutions was joined by an esteemed group of film commissioners and producers participating in the narrative feature film competion with content from states including MinnesotaNew Mexico, Oklahoma,  and Texas.

The panelist included Lindsey Ashley, Senior Production Consultant, Texas Film Commission, Chad Burris, Producer, Drunktown’s Finest,  Jonathan Duffy, Producer, Hellion, Keith Kjarval, Producer, Rudderless,   William H. Macy, Writer/Director, Rudderless, Nick Maniatis, Director, New Mexico Film Commission, Chris Ohlson, Producer, Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter,  Andrew Peterson, Executive Director, IFP Minnesota, Fred Siegel, Owner, Fred Siegel C.P.A., Jill Simpson, Director, Oklahoma Film and Music Office, and Kelly Williams, Producer, Hellion.

Chianese began the panel by reminding attendees that, n addition to 44 states that offer production incentives, there are 30 countries that offer incentives.  He briefly recapped some changes occurring in California, North Carolina, the UK and a few other jurisdictions before presenting CPA Fred Siegel.  Siegel presented an in depth explanation of “Principle Photography” and the importance of the term to any producers who were trying to take advantage of the Section 181 Federal Incentive prior to its December 31st exploration.

Producer Chris Ohlson and his team were unable to take advantage of incentives when shooting “Kumiko the Treasure Hunter.” The cooperation of the film community  in Minnesota, coupled with locations that matched perfectly with the needs of the film secured the decision to shoot within that state.   “Hellion” producers  Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams also found the perfect locations in New Mexico for their film, and expressed the importance of working with the film commission to obtain locations that they were not able to secure themselves.  Actor William H. Macy, who’s directorial debut closed this year’s festival, shared the story of how one Oklahoma location not only saved the production money, but made the production money by including  a clever product placement campaign.

Chad Barris also explained why shooting “Drunktown’s Finest” would have been nearly impossible if it had been shot in New Mexico .  The top notch location managers were able to easily transport the crew from three remote locations and kept their tight, eight page a day shooting schedule on schedule.

The film commissioners from each state discussed some of the specific obsticals they have had to overcome and unique benefits to shooting within their respective states.  The panel, presented live from the Utah Film Lounge on Main Street, otherwise known as The Hub, battled a rehearsing band utilizing the ASCAP Music Lounge situated directly next door.  Although the music made part of the webinar challenging to hear, a wealth of valuable information was presented.  The webinar is available in its archived format and may be viewed repeatedly by clicking:

A transcript of this webinar is also available.  If you are interested in obtaining the transcript, contact: