Fostering Economic Development & Job Growth
Driving Economic Growth
The film and television industry generates economic growth through the hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually for “on-location” production and creation of thousands of middle class, below-the-line jobs. A studio-based feature film can spend well over $250,000 per day in a local economy and a large national or international television commercial can generate local spending of up to $1 million in less than two weeks. The economic impact generated by productions can positively impact local hotels, car and truck rental, catering, barricade rentals, local cast and crew, and a host of other local businesses. Moreover, film production can help generate sustained growth in tourism when a region or community is featured in a successful film.
A Valuable Partner
Film commissions are valuable partners in the process. Often the presence and level of development and resources offered by a film commission determines whether production companies will consider bringing production to a particular region. This highly competitive environment makes a film commission an economic necessity as well as an integral ingredient in attracting this industry and its ensuing revenue to a region.
Why Work With A Commission?
AFCI Member Film Commissions help to facilitate on-location filmmaking within a region by offering production companies a complete range of pre-production services through a central contact point. Our members provide accurate and timely information regarding local film procedures, permits, and guidelines. They also serve as a liaison between governmental departments and agencies, facilitating connections with local communities and arrangements for filming on public property. The film commission also serves as a general resource and clearinghouse for information throughout the region and assist with the following services: site location photography, location library, regional scouting services, liaison with government departments/agencies, and logistical information regarding crew, talent, facilities, stages, equipment, and support services.
The History of AFCI
The Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) is the official professional organization for film commissioners who assist film, television and video production throughout the world. AFCI Members are comprised of more than 300 film commissions in 45 countries on six continents; it is the leading resource on the planet for location shooting.
AFCI Members are devoted to providing infrastructure and incentive support resources to the film and television industry, supporting thousands of jobs across the globe, and thousands of film and television productions annually.
The first major educational event hosted by the AFCI began in 1976 as Cineposium. Held annually, this program features professional development seminars designed to teach film commissioners about the management and processes unique to the film commission business.
In 1985, the AFCI hosted Locations Show, the first on-location trade show for film and television production. This event continues each year in Los Angeles, and responds to the growing marketing needs of film commissions by providing a forum to market locations and financial incentives.
During the late 1940s, the first film commission was formed in the United States in response to the need for film companies to have a local government liaison who could coordinate police, state trooper, and highway patrols; road and highway departments; fire departments; park rangers and other essential municipal and government services for shooting a production on location.
According to AFCI archives, George White established the Moab Film Commission as an offshoot of the Moab Chamber of Commerce in 1949.
“In existence for 60 years, the Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission holds the title of the longest running film commission in North America.”
“Utah Native George White saw the need for a film commission when John Ford had expressed such interest in the Moab and Monument Valley areas. Originating with Stagecoach in 1939, and filming Wagon Master ten years later, Mr. White officially established the Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission in 1949.”
Vanity Fair also ran an article that talked about Harry Goulding being responsible for bringing Hollywood attention to Moab/Monument Valley. As a result of the rich filming history, the Moab area has an established crew base and ample production services capable of accommodating just about any project, large or small.
The Colorado Film Commission was the first “government-sanctioned” film commission in 1969. Karol Smith was the first official film commissioner. Colorado is recognized as the first AFCI film commission and, obviously, a charter member.
As more production companies began to look beyond the limits of a regular production center for realistic and varied locations, more cities and states began to see the need for production coordination liaison. They were also keenly aware of the economic benefits brought by film and video production companies to their areas.
The AFCI incorporated in Washington, D.C. in 1983. The first Location Expo attracted 60 film commissioners and 1,200 people from the film industry to a Los Angeles exhibition site. During the next four years, the Expo’s space demands increased so that by 1990, the show had to be held at a site different from the AFM conference. Attendance tripled. Then in 1991, Expo relocated with the AFM to Santa Monica. The annual trade show, now an AFCI-sponsored event known as Locations Show, averages more than 200 film commissions and commercial affiliates exhibiting their services to more than 3,000 industry delegates.
The services provided by film commissions have expanded in response to the growth of on-location filming. For producers of film, episodic television and commercials, film commissions today provide a gamut of free services, from scouting locations within their area to trouble-shooting with local officials and helping cut through paperwork and bureaucratic red tape. Some provide hard economic incentives, such as tax rebates and hotel discounts for location scouts. Others offer a variety of essential free services including research for screenwriters or liaison work with local government agencies.
As the services of film commissions have grown, so have their marketing efforts. From advertising to direct mail to Locations Show, film commissions are reaching industry decision makers where they live.
Established by cities, counties, states, provinces or federal governments, film commissions are generally operated and funded by various agencies of government, such as the governor’s office, the mayor’s office, the county board of supervisors, chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus, travel commissions, and business and economic development departments as well as non-profits.
Their primary responsibility is to attract film and video production to their area to accrue the locally-realized benefits of hiring local crews and talent, renting local equipment, using hotel rooms, rental cars, catering services, or any number of goods and services supplied on location.
While attracting business to their area, they also attract visitors. Film scenes at a particular location are in themselves “soft-sell” vehicles that also promote that location as a desirable site for future tourism and industry.
Although the AFCI’s membership is uniquely diverse, all the commissions have one goal in common: to attract filmmakers and videographers to their respective regions by providing services that a producer would be hard-pressed to acquire without their assistance. The benefits of working with Film Commission are ever-expanding as they meet the ever-changing global production demands.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Benefits of an AFCI Membership
When production industry decision makers are looking for a location, the AFCI is their first stop. They want to rely on a local film commissioner who truly understands their needs and can make filming in the region a success. As a non-profit educational association, our vitality is sustained by the strength of our membership. And in turn, we are committed to advancing the role of film commissions on the international production stage. We believe AFCI affiliation offers unparalleled benefits and invite you to consider the value of membership:
- Professional development: The AFCI offers multiple levels of training for its members and their staff. From the entry-level Film Commission Fundamentals class to our Master Classes and the Certified Film Commissioner program, our members are the best trained in the world ensuring every production receives top flight professional service.
- AFCI University: Achieve the know-how to thrive in today’s competitive marketplace. Tailored to interest everyone from industry newbie to seasoned veteran, multi-level classes are offered online via afci.org/afci-university.
- Cineposium: Our marquee annual event designed exclusively for film commissioners provides an opportunity to gain directed education and training plus face-to-face access to industry leaders.
- Live Workshops and Seminars: At every AFCI event, expect to find a hands-on workshop, seminar, or panel discussion on a topic important to the work of film commissioners.
- A global network facilitating relationships between film commissioners and with industry decision makers.
- Locations Inquiry Service: Designed to streamline requests for locations and serve as an information resource, this online tool connects AFCI Members with each other and enables the production industry to contact scores of locations worldwide in a few simple steps.
- Beyond Cinema: A lens on the international film community and the integral work of member film commissions, the AFCI’s new official publication features stylish special sections, in-depth perspectives and exclusive interviews. Available in three annual print and digital editions, Beyond Cinema is also a savvy marketing and networking vehicle offering a platform for discussion, education, and entertainment among filmmaking professionals and enthusiasts.
- Locations Show: The premier event for the global production industry, Locations Show serves as the collective face of the film commission profession. Showcase your jurisdiction, facilities and capabilities to scores of current and potential clients worldwide while making connections with other exhibiting film commissioners.
- Established credibility. The AFCI is the only global association of trained film commissioners with representation on six continents. Offering unique local insights coupled with global production capabilities, the AFCI and its more than 300 Member Film Commissions are consistently regarded by the industry as top-notch, trusted resources. When production industry decision makers are looking for a location, the AFCI is their first stop.
how to become an AFCI Member
The process to become an AFCI Member is simple, and our helpful staff will work with you every step of the way.
Complete an AFCI Membership Application, including the Government Endorsement Form (section 4), with payment of $1,100 USD via wire transfer, credit card, or check made payable to Association of Film Commissioners International. Your payment includes a $350 USD non-refundable Application Fee and $750 USD for the first year annual dues. Dues will be pro-rated in the second year to bring annual billing date to the calendar year, January 1-December 31. Applications will not be processed until the application fee and annual dues are paid in full.
At the time of application, please submit a digital photo of the film commissioner either via email to the address below or with the completed Membership Application.
Submit your completed application via email to:
Melanie Field, AFCI
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