Fort Worth no longer has to look east to help lure movie, TV, commercial or video game production work to town.
The Fort Worth Film Commission, under the aegis of the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, has been formed to be first stop for producers considering shooting in the area. Previously, the Dallas Film Commission represented both sides of the Metroplex.
Jessica Christopherson, the CVB’s director of public relations and film marketing, will be the commissioner.
“She had already been fielding requests [from producers] on a reactive basis,” said Mitch Whitten, marketing vice-president for the CVB.
Now, according to local producer Red Sanders, who has been pushing for a local film commission for some time and helped facilitate the new designation, Fort Worth — the only major city in Texas without a film commission — can be proactive.
“When films, TV shows, commercials come in from out of town, these are businesses coming here, setting up mini-factories for a day, a week or months, and spending a lot of money locally,” he said. “It’s going out into the film community and raising our hand and saying, ‘Hey, we’re Fort Worth. We’re film friendly and we’d love for you to bring your business here’.”
This comes at a time when the Legislature has cut $63 million from the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentives rebate program, originally enacted to lure producers to shoot here. The current version of the program has about $32 million available.
“Without the state-level incentives, that’s all the more reason why we need to make sure that Fort Worth is out there saying we’re here,” Sanders continued. “If less work is coming to the state, then it’s important we capture our fair share here in Fort Worth.”
Janis Burklund, director of the Dallas Film Commission, says her job won’t radically change, noting she had long been coordinating with the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau and referring inquiries about Fort Worth to it.