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Alabama is known across the country as the birthplace of the civil rights movement, and as a largely rural, poor state. The film industry, however, knows Alabama as the second most diverse ecosystem in the United States. While the state itself hosts a film office, Create Birmingham is promoting our city and the surrounding areas through its own film office.
What is a film office?
Film offices assist film crews in finding locations to film. Offices aid the crews find actual locations, but also help behind the scenes. Helping the company navigate local employment laws and providing information on local vendors and professionals are also services provided by film offices. But why do governments go this far to help, when the locations used are so rarely publicized?
Film offices serve as a way to make finding locations easier. If film crews can find everything they need, they spend a lot of money. The state of Alabama provides at least a 25% rebate on all expenditures in the state – buying a car, eating out, hotel expenses, and more receive a 25% discount if “state-certified” for use in a film. These discounts start when a film spends half a million in our state, and don’t stop until the bill reaches $20 million.
What is the Birmingham Film Office?
Create Birmingham’s Film Birmingham initiative wants to guide more of that money into the greater Birmingham region. By focusing on the Birmingham region specifically, Film Birmingham can provide more specific information than the statewide office. Only time will tell how Film Birmingham will present its services, though – the website won’t launch until June.
This new office, according to Create Birmingham CEO and President Buddy Palmer, wants to target small and medium productions. These productions don’t have the budgets of internationally released and marketed films like The Avengers series. They also tend to be far less disruptive than larger productions where occasionally entire streets must be cordoned off entirely.