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Baja California Forms Public-Private Partnership To Promote Filmmaking In The Diverse Region

ROSARITO, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO---A major public-private partnership has been formed to promote filmmaking in the diverse region and make it more competitive with other countries in attracting international productions.

The Cinematographic Cluster of Baja California (Cluster Cinematografico De Baja California) will include industry representatives, heads of the business councils of Baja’s five cities as well as their convention and visitors bureaus.

Baja Film Commissioner Gabriel Del Valle also will be a member, said Conrado Acevedo, president of the group that formed in July and is finalizing its formal structure. Acevedo’s family has been involved in production in Mexico and the United States.

Azevedo also is owner of Rosarito’s Calafia hotel and an historian.

“This group is a very important step for Baja in realizing its filmmaking potential,” said Rosarito Beach Mayor Hugo Torres. “The region has had some major successes but there is room for tremendous growth. It can be a major segment of our economy.”

Acevedo said the group’s goal is to create $1 billion in annual spending from filmmaking in 10 years.

Baja has had some major filmmaking successes in the past. Rosarito is home to Baja Studios, which has huge salt-water tanks and where Titanic, Master & Commander and other blockbusters were produced.

Also, the region offers great diversity of settings, from the sea to mountains to deserts, a skilled workforce and is about two hours from Los Angeles, where many of those involved in the industry live.

But Mexico must get more competitive with other countries including Australia, Canada and India. Baja Studios recently lost the latest installment of the Chronicles of Narnia because of security concerns and because Australia offered $15 million in tax breaks.

The security concerns were caused by Mexico’s crackdown on drug cartels but “we can prove that no actor or anyone involved in a production has ever been affected,” Acevedo said.

Parts of the group’s efforts will be to provide information and assurances on security, Acevedo said, as well as working with the government to speed up the customs and work permit processes, plus generating more incentives.

“Mexico unfortunately is not considered one of the fast-track locations,” he said.

Even with its many advantages, Mexico will need to make changes in those areas for its filmmaking industry to realize its full potential.

As one of its first actions, the group is a sponsor of the sixth International Film Festival of Baja California from Sept. 21 to 26 in Rosarito and Tijuana. Registration and information is available on www.fundacionlamia.org

Having an area used as a film location also is great for tourism. Producing Night of the Iguana in Puerto Vallarta in the early 1960s popularized that locale as a resort area, Acevedo said.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:                     Ron Raposa

                                                      (619)948-3740

                                                      ronraposa@hotmail.com

Published Tuesday, September 8, 2009 10:13 AM by Kanoa Biondolillo
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