Location Scout Resource: AFCI

Location Scout Resource: Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI)

Not everybody knows about the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) …or even what a film commission (or film office) is. 😉

A film commission (or film office) is a bureau or office set up by (or perhaps in partnership wth) a local government by a group of interested parties to facilitate promoting their area for use by various visual arts industries, which could include film, video / television, theater, radio, music, professional talent (actors, models), hotels and hospitality – even the local dry cleaners! For the sake of brevity for the rest of this article lets just say “filmmaking” or “film industry”.

The obvious main reasons for attracting filmmaking are for local economic development and general promotion of the arts. Conventional wisdom dictates that the more money changing hands with more hands (economy) the better off the community is and prevalence of the arts in any community makes that community generally more “livable”.

In addition to a being considered a relatively environmentally “clean” industry, filmmaking normally requires considerable local support from many other peripheral industries and businesses to function, as well being “people intensive”, thus creating local jobs and business opportunities.

There is simply no better way to showcase a community than for the world to to “see it in pictures”.

Sometimes local tourism boards double as film offices for many of the reasons above.

The best way for a local film office to promote filmmaking is to do everything it can to streamline the production process for filmmakers and location scouts, so the more working knowledge a film office has of typical challenges productions face, the more effective the film office can be in making their area attractive to filmmakers.

There are a number of ways for film offices to help production; some of the more easily recognisable ways might be:

  • Creating financial incentives such as tax breaks and negotiating discounts with local businesses.
  • Advocating cooperation by local government and law enforcement as well as local business and individuals.
  • Assisting in hands-on aspects of production coordination such as determining availability of and assisting in procurement of local crew, talent, (which could involve interaction with unions, equipment specific to filmmaking, locations and location scouting, transportation and local amenities.

I hope all this gives you some idea of what business an article about film commissions has being on a location scouting website (this *is* a location scouting website, after all ;-).

More specifically, if you are a property owner, if you are interested in having your property used for filming, besides local location scouts, (more prevalent locally in larger metro areas) your local or state film office(s) can assist you in promoting your property to filmmakers. As a location scout, I might list your property as well.

For production folks, a local film office should be one of your first calls when researching or when you are in the early planning stages for a project. Local film offices are an all-too-often overlooked, generally free, resource.

Association of Film Commissioners International exists to provide communication and exchanges of ideas between film commissions worldwide and as such is a very good resource for finding and contacting same.

Map showing Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) Film Commissions worldwide