LOS ANGELES (July 6, 2012) — Film commissioners from around the world including those from Hawai’i converged on Los Angeles last month for the Association of Film Commissioners International annual Locations Show.
The event drew over 2,500 filmmakers and location scouts interested in finding current information on location options and tax credits.
“It’s the biggest event of the year for AFCI, and this year the show was held next to LA Live, where the Los Angeles Film Festival was taking place. So there was great foot traffic in the exhibition area, where the Hawai’i film commissioners shared a booth,” said Kaua’i Film Commissioner Art Umezu.
All of Hawai’i’s film commissioners attended the Locations Show including: John Mason, Big Island; Walea Constantinau, Honolulu; Harry Donenfeld, Maui; Donne Dawson, Hawai’i Film Office; and Umezu.
Of particular interest to Umezu was a workshop titled “Bigger is not always better when it comes to film incentives – Choose your state wisely!”
“Some of the panelists were from states that offer tax incentives as high as 35 percent, including North Carolina, New Mexico and Louisiana, yet they all said and we concurred that filmmakers select locations not only because of tax breaks,” said Umezu. “Other factors such as having a qualified local crew as well as support facilities like a sound stage for post-production work are just as important.”
However, noted Umezu, since Hawai’i implemented its tax incentives in 2006, filmmaking in Hawai’i has increased exponentially including heavy-hitters such as “The Descendants”, which won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” starring Johnny Depp. And the television series “Hawai’i Five-O” is also being shot hit here.
During their trip to L.A., Hawai’i’s film commissioners visited with executives of Sony Pictures Television Studios who produce a new series for ABC TV called the “Last Resort” currently being filmed on O‘ahu. They discussed the possibility of filming an episode of the show on a neighbor island. The series, which depicts a renegade crew of a U.S. Navy ballistic missile submarine, is set to air on Thursday nights starting this fall.
The film commissioners also seized the opportunity to meet with the producers at Lionsgate Studios who are responsible for the phenomenal success of the “Hunger Games”. The benefits of filming the sequel of the blockbuster movie in Hawai’i and the tremendous support they would receive statewide were the main topics of discussion.