Film commission

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Film commissions are quasi-governmental, non-profit, public organizations that attract motion media production crews (including movies, TV and commercials) to shoot on location in their respective localities, and offer support so that productions can accomplish their work smoothly.


Over 1000 such organizations are active in over 100 countries around the world, mostly in the United StatesEurope andAsia. Many of them are organized by local government bodies together with not-for-profit organisations and the like, and serve as the administrative window concerned with attracting and supporting the productions that come to their locality, not only from other parts of their own countries, but from abroad, as well. The Association of Film Commissioners Internationalor AFCI is based in Los Angeles with offices also in South Africa. The mission of the AFCI is to be essential to the advancement and promotion of excellence in the global production of media on location, in an ethical and professional manner, and to this end the organization sets standards and provides professional education, training and business services in the field of Film Commissioning.

The European Film Commissions Network or EUFCN is based in Bruxelles. The Asian Film Commissions Network or AFCNet gathers now film commissions on the Asian continent.

A major industry event and trade show is the Locations Trade Show which is organised by the AFCI. In 2011 the Locations Show was produced in association with the Producers’ Guild of America’s Produced By Conference.

Film commissions believe that by attracting productions to their area they can provide direct economic benefit through rental of hotel rooms, locations, vehicles, etc., and indirect economic benefit via the increased exposure of appearing in films and television.


“The first Commission was formed in the United States during the late 1940s. This was in response to the need for film companies to have a local government liaison who could coordinate local services such as police, state troopers and highway patrols, road and highway departments, fire departments, park rangers and all of the other essential municipal and government services for shooting a production on location. As more production companies began to look beyond the limits of a regular production center for realistic and varied locations, more cities and states began to see the need for production coordination liaison.”[1]

Financial and Economical Ramifications[edit]

Film commissions can benefit both the production company and the area they decide to shoot at. The production company can potentially save money by shooting out of state and hiring cheaper Below the line (filmmaking) labor, shooting on location as opposed to building a set in a studio, etc. The economy at the location they shoot at can benefit via profits from hotel rooms, food, gas stations, and any other amenities that the Above the line (filmmaking) labor will use throughout the duration of the filming.[2]

However, shooting out of Hollywood does affect those who still work in Hollywood. Below the line (filmmaking) workers based in Hollywood have a smaller job market because production continues to move out of state.


  1. Jump up^ McDonald, Paul, and Janet Wasko. The Contemporary Hollywood Film Industry. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2008. 55
  2. Jump up^ McDonald, Paul, and Janet Wasko. The Contemporary Hollywood Film Industry. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2008. 55

Terminology: Film Commission or Film Office?[edit]

The term “Film Commission” came about because the first offices to offer services to filmmakers emerged from a form of municipal government that was once common in the United States known as “City Commission Government.” In a city commission government, voters elected a small team of Commissioners who, as a group, were responsible for taxation, appropriations, ordinances, and other general functions. As individuals, the same Commissioners were also assigned responsibility for a specific aspect of municipal affairs, such as public works, finance, or public safety. Once Film was accepted as a Municipal responsibility, one of the Commissioners became the Film Commissioner, and the relative department became the Film Commission. That term has subsequently become the standard operating name of the vehicle worldwide. However, for non-City Commission Governments, the term Film Office was utilized and the terms Film Office and Film Commission have become increasingly interchangeable over the last few years.


The primary goal of any film commission is to attract film and video production to an area in order to accrue locally-realized benefits from hiring local crews and talent, renting local equipment, using hotel rooms, rental cars, catering services, or any number of goods and services supplied on location.

Most Film Commissions undertake a standard set of activities for production including:

  • Marketing of Locations
  • Marketing of Local Crew, Equipment & Expertise
  • Creation of Incentives Packages
  • Scouting Support Services
  • Assisting Inbound Productions / Troubleshooting Production Problems
  • Building a Film-Ready Workforce & Community

In response to the growth of on-location filming, the services provided by film commissions have expanded dramatically. For producers of film, episodic television and commercials, film offices today provide a gamut of free services, from scouting locations within their area to trouble-shooting with local officials and helping cut through paperwork and bureaucratic red tape. Some also provide hard economic incentives, such as tax rebates and hotel discounts for location scouts. Others offer a variety of essential free services like research for screenwriters or liaison work with local government agencies.

More recently, more progressive Film Commissions around the world have begun developing an even broader scope for their activities – not merely addressing Hollywood, but by becoming the hub and thrust of ALL film related activity within a jurisdiction. The role of this new generation of Offices often includes encouraging the development and distribution of local productions, increasing audiences for film product particularly via film festivals, encouraging the study of film and the acquisition of film related skills, supporting a climate of entrepreneurship.

Regional Media Support Office[edit]

A “Regional Medial Support Office” or RMSO is very similar to a film commission.

Unlike a film commission, however, an RMSO is not an office which has been set up with the sole duty of supporting the region’s motion media industry business. An RMSO is instead, part of an already existing office that has been allocated the additional duty of supporting the region’s motion media industry.

Normally a government backed entity, and usually a precursor to an actual film commission, an RMSO is a geographic region’s office that is designated as the region’s contact point for motion media production crews. These are most often a region’s economic offices, tourism offices, or even a mayor’s office.

External links[edit]

The following are websites that aggregate film commissions 1,100+ film commissions.

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