FILM COMMISSIONS

MAKING PRODUCTIONS HAPPEN

AFCI member film commissions offer a complete range of pre-production and production services through a central contact point. From independent to big-budget and every type of produced content (video games, music videos, commercials, film, television and beyond) the film commissioner is ready to assist you in bringing your vision to life.

WHAT FILM COMMISSIONS OFFER

Every global film commission offers a unique range of free services that enable productions to be completed on schedule and under budget. They are a production’s go-to source for help finding and securing ideal locations, liaising with government officials and ensuring safe and smooth operations on set. Ask your commission about the following.

Accurate & Timely Info

Up-to-date information about local crew depth, stage facilities and other infrastructure to help you plan your production.

Location Suggestions

Assistance with site location photography, regional scouting services, bespoke location presentations to help you assess locations.

Process Guidance

Direction and clarification on local film procedure, permits and guidelines to prevent delays and help you work efficiently

Personal Liaisons

Access to government departments and agencies, and connections to local communities to help your production gain local support.

Incentives

Receive tax incentives, rebates or other economic benefits to help reduce the costs of production. 

TOP IDENTIFIERS OF A VALID
FILM COMMISSION

  • A film commission/film office must be endorsed by the government of the region/jurisdiction that the office oversees. If the office indicates it oversees multiple jurisdictions, authorization from each jurisdiction’s government to represent that region is required.

  • A film commission/film office provides all services at no charge, with the exception of permit fees if the permitting process falls under the authorization of the film commission/film office. These services are initiated from initial contact with a production/producer/studio/content creator through the close of production. NOTE: Film commissioners should always ensure any production or entity is legitimate before providing services.

  • Services a film commission may offer include but are not limited to include: location scouting, connections to industry facilities, crew and services, connections to government contacts, production incentives, and a wide range of support that will enable productions of various scopes and formats to successfully be completed in the region. This in turn leads to economic growth which the office should be able to record, report on and encourage. 

  • There must be no conflict of interest, either actual or apparent, between the duties of the film commission and the film commissioner. The film commissioner can not be engaged as an employee in an entity that would have a significant financial benefit from any incoming production that takes place in the territory. Positions a film commissioner can not hold or have a significant financial benefit (stakeholder, partner) in: role of producer, or work at a production company, vendor or service business that caters to the production industry, or other services (technical advisor, working actor) in the production industry. Additionally, the film commission can not be overseen by a labor union, a for-profit business or a commercial entity.

FAQs

What is a film commission?

A film commission is a non-profit that is formally endorsed by the government of the region it represents. It offers comprehensive support to the film, television and media industries. Activities of a film commission may include development, production funding, and location and infrastructure support. 

What is the purpose of a film commission?

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.

Who runs a film commission?

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. 

Do all film commissions offer incentives?

No. About 50% of AFCI member film commissions can offer incentives for their region.

THE HISTORY OF FILM COMMISSIONS

The Evolution of Film Commission Services
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 was incorporated in Washington, D.C. in 1983.


On-Hand & On-Location: Services of Film Commissions
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.

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 the Film Commission are ever-expanding as they meet the ever-changing global production demands.

Connecting Producers and Film Commissions

In today’s highly competitive environment, film commissions and AFCI Certified Film Commissioners are becoming an economic necessity – an integral ingredient in attracting film productions and revenue to a region. AFCI supports emerging regions in the industry to create the infrastructure, workforce and knowledge they need to partner with studios through education, knowledge sharing and connection.
to partner with studios.

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    AFCI WEEK 2024

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