Frederick vying for some Hollywood action with production studio -- Gazette.Net


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Hoping to bring a touch of Hollywood to the area, three film companies are combining their resources to create a film production studio in downtown Frederick.

The Cinema Studio and Cooperative project is a collaborative effort between Archai Media, which rents camera and film equipment; Area 31, a downtown studio space that is also home to Frederick’s 72 Film Fest; and Big Picture Media, a local film and video production company, Salyer McLaughlin, the president of Big Picture Media, said Nov. 20 at a reception launching the company.

He said the three companies would combine efforts and resources to offer a variety of film-production services, including rentals of the state-of-the-art equipment needed to make films.

The biggest investment is in four RED Epic digital cameras and corresponding lenses, which are professional-level cameras used in major motion pictures such as “The Hobbit” being released next month, according to the camera company’s website.

McLaughlin said the cameras, staff and other equipment will be able to provide support for film crews that come to Frederick.

“When feature films come to town, we can not only provide equipment, but also the production staff,” McLaughlin said.

Christy Bueso, spokeswoman for Archai Media, said at the event that the collaborative effort could make Frederick a place where film production companies can come and hire people or equipment.

The county was recently home to the production of a feature film, “Elf-Man,” which will premiere at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in downtown Frederick on Dec. 1. The film stars Jason “Weeman” Acuna of MTV’s “Jackass” fame.

“You need to have a lot of people who can help,” Bueso said. “... When you take a technology you have available and the ability to form this space, you create a hub.”

Carl Glorioso, the executive director of the Frederick Film Office, said Nov. 21 that the effort would benefit the budding city’s film scene, which already boasts a pair of film festivals.

“We’re getting all these people talking together, as well as getting the crew people talking together,” he said. “I really think the area is getting ready for something big.”

Glorioso said bringing film projects to Frederick provides both a short-term financial impact, in terms of hiring crew members and actors, as well as potential catering or hotel stays, and a potential long-term benefit.

“Whenever an area becomes a hotbed for filming activity, tourism increases,” Glorioso said.

The state offers some tax incentives for filmmakers, but neither the city nor county currently offer any tax breaks, he said.

But Glorioso said he’s been working with local politicians to potentially offer some credits in the future.

The mere availability of advanced equipment would also be a boon for the city, he said.

“The fact that there are four Red Epics in Frederick is kind of mind-boggling,” Glorioso said. “There’s major cities that don’t have four of those. ... With a Red Epic you can make an IMAX quality 3-D movie. To have one Red fully outfitted is amazing, but to have four is incredible.”

tlaino@gazette.net