Spin, a feature-length film directed by James Redford (screenwriter for Skinwalkers which shot in Arizona last year) opened its production offices here in January. Shooting entirely Southern Arizona locations, the story is turning into a beautiful film. The Film Office began working with Producers Elaine Rogers, Don Axinn (pictured at left, with UPM Annie Luhoff at far left) and James back in November 2002.
Enormous Economic Impact from Spin
Spin has hired approximately 50 Tucsonans in crew positions, and our experienced local crew base (such as soundman Don Zenz, pictured at left) was a big selling point for the producers of the film. Just a few of the positions that have been filled by locals include the Art Director, Set Decorator, Still Photographer, Location Manager, Director of Photography for Aerial unit, Camera Assistant, Wranglers for Extras and Animals (not one in the same), Wardrobe Supervisor and Best Boy, to name but a few. A number of Tucson actors have parts and 350 extras have been cast. The company is shooting for 7 weeks and the economic impact is enormous. Talk about Bed Tax…the company is renting close to 1000 hotel room nights to house out of town producers, crew and actors. The exact economic impact on the community has yet to be determined but it is already significant.
Several City of Tucson employees deserve credit for working hard to accommodate the needs of the production company in relation to their locations. Some of these helpful folks are George Parker, Transportation; Reenie Ochoa, Parks and Rec; Lucy Valdez, Solid Waste Management; Lee Gagnier, Streets & Traffic Maintenance; Ed Ngan, Traffic Engineering; Richard Velde and Chris Leighton, Parkwise and Officer Rose Cowan and Loretta Carrano, City of Tucson Police Department. We could not do our job without you.
The Tucson Film Office Plays Supporting Role in City’s 2003 Budget Crisis
Because of the City of Tucson’s $43 million budget deficit, the City Manager, James Keene, has had to look for ways to increase City revenues and cut City programs. One proposal, that the Mayor and Council are presently considering, is an increase in the hotel lodging tax by 2% which would bring additional revenue into the city.
The largest share of this increased revenue would go to the City and a smaller portion would go to the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau (MTCVB). The MTCVB would then assume the duties of the Tucson Film Office, essentially funding the office from a portion of the hotel lodging tax.
We believe that this is a Win Win situation…for the Bureau, the Film Office and the City. The City would benefit from much needed revenue, the MTCVB would be able to expand and increase its marketing and the Film Office would gain from the marketing strengths of MTCVB. And with increased film, convention and tourism activity in the area, Tucson as a whole would benefit from the economic impact.