The 3rd Annual Arizona Underground Film Festival kicked off last Friday night with an event for the local film industry at The Sapphire Lounge rooftop patio in Downtown Tucson, AZ. Headlining the event were speakers from the political scene, local film programs, and Tucson filmmakers pushing for growth in the local industry. Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik hit the nail on the head the hardest and with the strongest purpose perhaps last night in his remarks concerning the embarrassment that is The City of Tucson’s promotional video that was produced not using Tucson based filmmakers, but instead using a firm from the east coast, taking over $800,000 out of the local economy. Ken Chapa from the Arizona Film Office also spoke last night, pointing to the dire need to pass legislation that will extend the tax incentive program for filmmaking ventures here in the state. Unfortunately though, there was no mention of what improvements should be made in the program to make Arizona more financially competitive with other states’ programs, namely our neighbors to the east in New Mexico who have enjoyed near boom times in their film industry over the last few years thanks to one of the country’s best incentive programs.
Also speaking were Tucson filmmakers Alan Williams and Eric Schumacher, pushing for a local initiative that will make investing in filmmaking mutually beneficial for local businesses and the film industry. They spoke passionately and with great clarity about the need to try and pool the resources that we do have here locally, as together great things can and will happen. I agree completely with these guys, the fractured nature of the local industry right now is pulling it down, members of the community must come together and find solutions at events like the one last night.
Not to be forgotten is the real reason for this event, a celebration of the growth of the Arizona Underground Film Festival, bringing in films from around the world that reside on the edges of the cinematic canon. These are creative and unique projects that would not be seen here in Tucson without the efforts of David Pike and his AZUFF staff. Head over to the AZUFF website for the current schedule as it runs through Septmeber 25th. If you are interested in following along with The Arizona Underground Film Festival, the happenings in the Tucson film scene, and with updates on local filmmakers, you can receive these articles directly as they are published by clicking on the “Subscribe” button at the top of this piece. You can also follow me on Twitter by searching for ericshlapack or by clicking the link below.
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The 2010 Arizona Underground Film Festival
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