Wednesday, October 24, 2018

News from Southern Arizona's Official Film Office

Oh-So-Many Sonoran-Inspired Productions



A team of young filmmakers flew in from London to shoot Cactus Boy, a charming story about a grown man who decides to break up with his childhood imaginary friend. Director Chris Brake (who we first met in late 2017 when Film Tucson had a booth at Focus UK) and his international crew (hailing from England, Italy, and Australia) filmed at Rocking M Ranch, Bach's Cactus Nursery, and the White Stallion Ranch.


Some of Tucson's more fascinating insects were the stars of a recent shoot on Ripley's Believe It Or Not for the Travel Channel. The episode focused on local entomologist Justin Schmidt who developed a pain tolerance index for stinging insects. Wildlife adventurer and TV personality Caveman Rob was flown in to be the hapless recipient of an electrifying sting by a Tarantula Hawk.


The fashionable folks at Anthropologie sought out our city for a recent shoot at a rammed earth uber-modern home in the Tucson mountains. The crew adored our painterly sunsets and were able to rest after a long day's work at the even more colorful Arizona Inn.



Comedic Indie Feature Wraps Shoot in Tucson



Actors Thomas Lennon and Richard Kind.


The Bellman (starring Thomas Lennon and Richard Kind) chose our beautiful Loews Ventana Canyon Resort as its main location. Loews' willingness to work with the production (which filmed for 15 days on location) shows how film-friendly our city is. The out-of-town crew and talent also stayed at the resort generating 348 room nights.

Visit Tucson and Film Tucson arranged for the filmmakers to see each of the partner resorts in our area, all of which went out of their way to accommodate the filmmaker's visit, and it's this hospitable spirit which contributed to the final decision to film the whole story in Tucson.



Loft Film Fest Honors Three Distinguished Filmmakers



Chris Eyre, Charles Burnett and Penelope Spheeris.


The 9th annual Loft Film Fest will take place this year from November 8 - 15 showing a wide selection of indie films, documentaries, foreign and classic films.

This year's fest will pay tribute to three prestigious filmmakers: director/producer Chris Eyre (followed by a 20th Anniversary screening of his award-winning 1998 Sundance hit Smoke Signals), Honorary Oscar recipient director/producer Charles Burnett, who will be attending a screening of his acclaimed film Killer of Sheep, and Penelope Spheeris, who will be present at a Q&A for her hit film Wayne's World.

(Smoke Signals has a Tucson connection, by the way: director Eyre is a University of AZ Media Arts Alumnus, and the film was produced by Larry Estes, who 
served on the faculty there, as well.)



Hanson FilmTV Institue Hosting Two Film Professionals in Tucson



Call Her Ganda, a new documentary by filmmaker PJ Raval, chronicles the legal, political and media firestorm that ensued after the murder of a Filipina transgender woman by an American serviceman.

Docscapes, a collaboration between the Hanson FilmTV Institute and the UA Center for Documentary, will be presenting a one-night-only screening of this emotional story with director PJ Raval in person on Friday November 2 at 6:00pm in the auditorium of the Center for Creative Photography (1030 N. Olive Rd.). Admission is free.



Documentary Story Strategies is a 1.5-day experiential hands-on seminar sponsored by Hanson FilmTV Institute for producers, directors, writers and editors taught by film theorist and writer Fernanda Rossi. Tailored to be useful to both beginners and veterans alike, this seminar will teach storytelling principles and how to structure your film at all stages of production, whether you have just an idea, a script, footage, or a rough-cut.


This two-day event will be held Friday, November 9th and Saturday November 10th. Although it is open to all level filmmakers, an RSVP is required. E-mail Vicky Westover at to reserve your space. For more info, call the Hanson FilmTV Instutue at 520.626.9825.



Locals Only Spotlight



Greg Gasson viewing Tucson from his favorite vantage point.


Floating thousands of feet in the air is not a typical day at work for the average local crew member, but Greg Gasson's talents as a skydiving cameraman means he lives his life a bit different than the rest of us.
Since he was 6 years old, skydiving was something that Greg wanted to do, always assuming it would be more of a hobby than a professional career. That all changed in 1995 when well-known skydiver Katarina Ollikainen asked him to film one of her jumps, catapulting him into a passion he's been following ever since.
Greg's extensive career as a skydiving cameraman means he has stories for days: he's been the stunt coordinator for a Japanese TV show opposite martial arts actor Kane Kosugi (Godzilla: Final Days) where he was made to jump from a hot-air balloon. He filmed a Chevy Sonic being pushed from an airplane over the skies just north of Tucson. He can also be seen floating among the clouds in numerous commercial spots for Nabisco, Miller Life, and Nescafe.

Greg is just another example showing how Tucson crew always go the distance.


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