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“Twilight” Star to Film in Pittsburgh this Summer


This summer, a super-popular Twilight star and one of Hollywood’s Oscar-nominated directors are coming to Pittsburgh to film their next production.

We love the “Twilight” series. Safe to say that “we” includes all of the ladies at Reel-Scout. We read the books, we stood in line for the movies, and now we are excited for Pittsburgh because “Jacob” will be there to film his next movie “Abduction.” By “Jacob” we mean the handsome, dimply 18-year-old Taylor Lautner, “one of the most popular actors on the planet” after his portrayal of Jacob Black in the “Twilight” series.

Abduction,” a Lionsgate production directed by John Singleton, the Oscar-nominated director for “Boyz N the Hood” will start filming in Pittsburgh this July. Lionsgate came to Pittsburgh last year to film two of its movies “Warrior” (a martial arts film) and The Next Three Days (a suspense thriller starring Russell Crowe).

Lionsgate is no stranger to Pittsburgh. Their productions there also include My Bloody Valentine 3-D and the TV series The Kill Point. Other movies recently filmed in Pittsburgh are Unstoppable, “The Next Three Days” and Love and Other Drugs.

For some of us “Team Jacob” fans at Reel-Scout, we will try to visit our client the Pittsburgh Film Office this summer. Perhaps sometime in July?
For more details, check out this article.

11 Top Landscape Film Locations in the American South

Seaside, Florida

A while back, we wrote a post on the Top 18 Landscape Film Locations in the American West. It quickly became one of the most viewed entries in our blog. In response to that, we are following-up with a spotlight on the American South.

With its deeply-rooted history and culture, along with all the different mesmerizing landscapes, the American South touches many of us on a soulful level. We all remember the shadowy, labyrinthine swamps in Mississippi Burning, Down By Law and Adaptation; the small quaint towns in Fried Green Tomatoes, Forrest Gump, and Driving Miss Daisy where family life and values are treasured above all; the pastel-colored seaside neighborhood in The Truman Show that’s too perfect to be real (yet it is – see above picture of Seaside, Florida, where the movie was filmed).

Once glimpsed in the movies, the South is hard to let go from our memory. For me, after watching Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil sometime in the late 1990’s, I couldn’t wait to visit mysterious Savannah. When I had a chance to be there a few years later, I went on a self-guided walking tour through the city and all the locations mentioned in the movie. A touristy thing to do, yes. But it was also an unforgettable experience to be walking in the same park that John Cusack’s Berendt did.

Without further ado, below are 11 of the top landscape film locations in the American South, as listed in On Location: Famous Landscapes in Film by Claudia Hellmann and Claudine Weber-Hof:*

  1. Tallulah Falls, GEORGIA: Deliverance
  2. Fontana Lake, NORTH CAROLINA: Nell
  3. Chimney Rock Park and Lake Lure, North Carolina: The Last of the Mohicans, Dirty Dancing
  4. Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina: The Last of the Mohicans, The Fugitive
  5. Ansonville, North Carolina: The Color Purple
  6. Ross Barnett Reservoir, Mississippi: Mississippi Burning, O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  7. Juliette, Georgia: Fried Green Tomatoes
  8. Beaufort, Fripp and Hunting Islands, South Carolina: The Prince of Tides, Forrest Gump
  9. Swamps near Slidell, Louisiana: Down By Law
  10. Wakulla Springs, Florida: Creature from the Black Lagoon
  11. Everglades, Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, Florida: Adaptation

And before we forget to brag, 10 of the 11 locations mentioned belong to our clients: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Floridaand Mississippi.

* The publication of this book was in 2007, so the list has probably grown to include a few more locations today. If you know of any additions, we’d love to hear about them.

Movie Industry Thriving in Pittsburgh

We love showcasing film offices’ success stories in our blog, especially when it’s about one or in this case – two – of our clients.

It seems Pittsburgh’s competitive film tax credit program has elevated the city on to Hollywood’s sharp radar. The Steel City’s movie industry has been steadily growing in spite of the recession experienced everywhere else in the country.

“We had a great 2009,” said Dawn Keezer, executive director of the Pittsburgh Film Office.

Unstoppable, one of the major Hollywood productions starring Denzel Washington, started filming in Pennsylvania last year. “I guess you could say they used half the state,” said Keezer, filming everywhere from Western Pennsylvania, to State College, to Bradford and Driftwood.

With its budget of $100 million, Unstoppable was the biggest production ever filmed in Pennsylvania. The 20th Century Fox subleased 90% of Mogul Mind facility (a new, 330,000 square feet studio located in an industrial park minutes from downtown Pittsburgh in the historic Strip District) and the production is expected to wrap up in 2010.

The Tony Scott-directed film possibly generates $60 million for Pittsburgh and creates about 250 jobs.

Keezer said that the Pittsburgh Film Office has been working on bringing Unstoppable to the city for the past five years. In 2006, the Film Office even opened a satellite office in Los Angeles where Keezer now resides. She commutes to Pittsburgh at least once a month to make sure business is running smoothly on both ends. “I’ve lost track of how many production teams and directors,” said Keezer on Unstoppable, “but I think this is the fourth iteration. They’ve looked all over the country, and all over the world.” Many other states have been considered, including Michigan due to its generous 42% tax credit, but Pittsburgh won the production over in the end.

“We have great crew depth, enabling us to support four features simultaneously, which is huge,” says Keezer. “We have infrastructure, Island Studios and Mogul Mind. Right now there’s work for both of them and it should continue.”

It’s no surprise then that the movie business has also helped boost Pittsburgh’s employment. George Faber, business agent for the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 489, said that union membership has increased from 98 in 2009 to 257 this year, and will continue to grow to at least 300 by the end of 2010.

Keezer expects 2010 to be another successful year for Pittsburgh since scripts have been coming in to her office on a regular basis these days, with potential work coming from Lion’s Gate, Summit, and 20th Century Fox. Pittsburgh’s success has a lot to do with Pennsylvania’s competitive film tax credit of 25% (ranked as one of the top 10 best programs in the country). “Without the tax credit, there will be no film work in Pennsylvania,” said Keezer. “Our tax credit is more effective than other programs (in the country) because it’s built on the fact that we already have an existing industry here.”

Mike Dolan, owner of Smithfield Street Productions – a local film production company in Pittsburgh, believes there’s more to Pittsburgh’s appeal than its popular film incentives:

Pittsburgh offers much more than a just a low-cost alternative for Hollywood studios. A better term is ‘great value.’ Your dollar goes a lot further here than anywhere else. It’s such a varied look here. You can have the Mexican War Streets in the North Side, or be 45 minutes away on a farm. There’s mountains, rivers — it’s a very good ‘locations’ place. On top of that, the cooperation of everybody, the governments, the film industry people, even down to the people investing in independent films.

It’s always great news for us whenever we hear about a state film incentive’s success story. We’re doubly excited in this case because the Pittsburgh Film Office, as well as the Pennsylvania Film Office, are Reel-Scout clients.

For more details, read the California Chronicle article here.

A Natural Fit in West Michigan

The Bunny Lady movie poster

“Best things come in small packages.” We’ve all heard that phrase many times. But in the case of the latest movie production currently filmed in West Michigan, we cannot come up with a better description.

Yesterday, February 10, 2010, was the first filming day in West Michigan of Tom Seidman’s small-budget film The Bunny Lady. “The movie is set in West Michigan, and written for West Michigan,” said Seidman. It’s a story of a “crotchety old farm woman” with a big heart running a rabbit rescue center, and starring in the title role is our beloved “Mrs. Brady” herself, Florence Henderson.

Seidman, a West Michigan native, wrote and directed this charming family Christmas movie. He has also worked in many well-known films and television productions over the years including The Dead Poet’s Society, Reds, Rich and Famous, Honky Tonk Man, Ordinary People, and Golden Girls. The Bunny Lady is his directorial debut.

What we love most about this small indie film is that 80% of its cast and crew are West Michiganders, that the filming location is in West Michigan itself, and that last but not least the Michigan Film Office is one of our very own clients.

“This is what the state film incentive is all about — employing locals,” said Tom Seidman. We at Reel-Scout concur.

Announcing the Usage Panel!

Reel-Scout's Usage Panel Overview

Usage Panel close-up

Reel-Scout's Usage Panel close-up

Any Reel-Scout™ client whose system includes the RS8-Admin module can now get an accurate snapshot of the amount of data that its Reel-Scout™ system contains – namely total storage space for locations, total storage space for documents, total number of locations, total number of images, total number of contacts, total number of correspondences, total number of projects, total number of users, and total number of crew records (if the film office is using the Reel-Crew module).

For those users who have admin-level access within their respective Reel-Scout™ systems, go to the ADMIN >> Usage module and click the calculate usage button. Pretty simple. We hope this new view is one you find to be useful and valuable.

A Race To The Oscar

2010 Oscar Nominees for Best Picture

As you’ve probably noticed by now, we are in the middle of Hollywood’s 2010 award season – Golden Globe, Directors Guild of America (DGA), Screen Actors Guild, People’s Choice, etc., have been gracing the stages and television screens, and making headlines continually for weeks now. But the most coveted trophy to bring home – the Oscar – is still up for grabs on March 7, 2010 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

This morning, Oscar finally made their announcement on who the 2010 nominees are. We are excited to share that four of the ten “Best Motion Picture of the Year” nominees were filmed in seven of our clients’ states.

Without further ado, the nominees for 2010 Best Motion Picture of The Year are:

  • Avatar (filmed in California)
  • The Blind Side (filmed in Georgia)
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
  • A Serious Man (filmed in Minnesota)
  • Up
  • Up in the Air (filmed in Missouri, Nevada, Florida, and Michigan)

And in case you haven’t seen the complete list of all 2010 Oscar nominees, it is here.

Congratulations to the nominees! Don’t forget to tune in to the Oscar on March 7.

10 Best Cities to Live, Work and Make Movies in 2010

Movie Maker Magazine article

Movie Maker Magazine recently publishes their list of Where to Live and Shoot in 2010.  As usual, iconic cities such as Los Angeles (No. 2) and New York (No. 4) sit prominently on the list. However, the No. 1 position might be a surprise — especially to those outside the industry. Have we peaked your interest yet?

Movie Maker Magazine Issue 85

Here’s the 10 Best Cities to Live, Work and Make Movies in 2010, according to Movie Maker Magazine:

1. Albuquerque, NM
2. Los Angeles, CA
3. Shreveport, LA
4. New York, NY
5. Austin, TX
6. Stamford, CT
7. Boston, MA
8. Detroit, MI
9. Philadelphia, PA
10. Seattle, WA

What makes Albuquerque such a hot spot to the film industry? New Mexico’s production tax credit is a generous one, “up to 25% tax rebate with a fully refundable tax credit on all eligible direct production costs against the filmmaker’s New Mexico income tax.” In addition, the 54-acre Albuquerque Studios are now open for business, fully equipped with eight state-of-the-art sound stages, production office space, mill and set-construction space, production support, post-production suites including a 25,000-square-foot prop/costume/wardrobe shop (courtesy of NBC/Universal), and a huge backlot.

Great facilities and tax incentive aside, there are still many other draws for making movies in Albuquerque. Producer Ryil Adamson (Adventures of a Teenage Dragonslayer) sums it up nicely for us:

I don’t think we could’ve made our movie in any other city in the world. We were able to find people who had worked on the biggest movies in the world. We also needed extra help from the city, and the whole community pitched in. The local SAG office even assisted us with casting.

For more details, check out the Movie Maker Magazine article here.  And, oh yes, of the 10 individual states that are home to the above-mentioned cities, seven of the ten are Reel-Scout clients.

Top 18 Landscape Film Locations in the American West

Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana

It’s hard to think of movies made in Hollywood without seeing images of the American West. Golden deserts and awe-inspiring canyons, majestic mountain tops, wide serene lakes, and vineyard hills are just a few of the unforgettable vistas often memorialized in many of our favorite movies. The diversity of the American West landscapes is definitely one of the biggest calling cards to the film industry. No wonder Hollywood quickly relocated to California in the early 20th century, after just a few short years stationed in New York.

So without further ado, we’d like to share with you a few of the top landscape film locations in the American West and the iconic movies that make them famous:

  1. Glacier National Park, Montana: Cattle Queen of Montana, Heaven’s Gate
  2. Paradise Valley, Montana: A River Runs Through It, The Horse Whisperer
  3. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming: The Big Sky, Shane
  4. Devil’s Tower, Wyoming: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  5. Badlands National Park, South Dakota: Dances With Wolves
  6. Pyramid Lake, Nevada: The Misfits
  7. Lake Tahoe and Truckee, California: A Place in the Sun, The Gold Rush
  8. Monterey Peninsula and Point Lobos, California: Vertigo, The Sandpiper
  9. Mount Whitney and Lone Pine, California: High Sierra
  10. Santa Ynez Valley, California: Sideways
  11. Death Valley, California: Zabriskie Point, Star Wars
  12. Zion National Park, Utah: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jeremiah Johnson
  13. Monument Valley, Utah/Arizona border: Stagecoach, The Searchers, Easy Rider
  14. Moab, Utah and its surroundings: Rio Grande, Thelma & Louise, Geronimo
  15. San Juan Mountains in Ouray County, Colorado: True Grit
  16. Chama River Valley, New Mexico: All the Pretty Horses, City Slickers, Wyatt Earp
  17. Zia Pueblo Reserve, New Mexico: All the Pretty Horses, The Missing
  18. Alamo Village in Bracketville, Texas: The Alamo

We’re sure you can also add a few more to this list based on some of your personal favorite movies. Feel free to include them in the comment section below.

3 Must-Have Books for Movie and Film Location Lovers

3 books on Film Locations

Have you ever watched a movie and fallen in love with its settings and locations so much you wish you could be there on your next vacation? We have! We find ourselves constantly wondering how we can get to that beautiful seaside town in The Proposal, or whether the eccentric inn-on-stilts in Nights in Rodanthe really exists. And so we set out to do a bit of online sleuthing, in search of the perfect reads that would give us some insights into the world of movie locations.

Here are the 3 best books on film locations – to date:

  1. The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations by Tony Reeves

    The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations book

    If you want to know where Catch Me If You Can was filmed, the real location of that deserted island where Tom Hanks spent his Cast Away days, or which baseball field was used in A League of Their Own,  you will love this book. Locations of more than 1,500 films are featured in this one 6×9 volume. The Sunday Telegraph proclaims this book “essential reading for movie buffs.” We agree. It’s currently temporarily sold out on Amazon, but you can still put in your order and get the book as soon as it’s available. We actually bought our used copy online from an independent bookseller. It arrived the other day in mint condition. Having examined the book first hand, we wish the photographs were in color instead of black and white. The inside layout isn’t as visually appealing as we had expected, but it is packed with detailed information on film locations. For example, did you know that the setting of Beaumont-sur-Mer in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (one of our favorite ’80s flicks) is fictitious, and that the actual filming took place instead at the Grand Hotel de Cap-Ferrat in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, an elegant Edwardian resort east of Nice? Just another reason to get to the South of France this year for us.

  2. On Location: Cities of the World in Film by Claudia Hellman and Claudine Weber-Hof

    On Location and On Location 2 book seriesOn Location - Cities of the World in Films

    A fun, worldly romp of famous movie locations worldwide, this book provides addresses and city maps for a tour of Notting Hill‘s charming streets, When Harry Met Sally’s New York, as well as takes us to that quaint cottage in Snowshill, Cotswold, where Bridget Jones‘s parents hosted their Christmas party. The book features 18 cities (including Los Angeles, Paris, Beijing, Sydney, Prague, Berlin, etc.) and some of the most famous movies filmed on location there. The photographs are gorgeous and the maps quite legible and useful. One of our favorite finds in the book is the exact location that served as the “homey backdrop for the royal runaway (Audrey Hepburn) and reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) to get better acquainted” in Roman Holiday: Via Margutta and the charming apartment Number 51 – both near the Spanish Steps and Via Condotti in Rome (p. 139).

  3. On Location 2: Famous Landscapes in Film by Claudia Hellman and Claudine Weber-Hof

    On Location 2 book - Famous Landscapes in Films

    Built on the success and popularity of the first On Location book (mentioned above), Volume 2 of the On Location series continues to showcase detailed information on the filming locations of approximately 400 movies in over 40 countries, complete with original photos, maps, and filmmaking anecdotes. Locations of internationally-acclaimed movies such as Lord of the Rings, Under the Tuscan Sun, and Lawrence of Arabia are among the ones featured. One of our favorite sections in the book is “Literary Landscapes.” It features all the exquisite locations of Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility, Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice, The Remains of the Day, Howard’s End and many other romantic period films.

If you’re a movie lover, you will love these books, especially the beautiful, coffee-table On Location series. An hour reading one of these gorgeous books will make you feel as if you’re actually on a holiday by the Italian Lakes with … say … George Clooney (see p. 112 of On Location 2 for directions to Ocean’s Twelve‘s Visconti villa). Bon voyage!

By the way, the Nights in Rodanthe house’s real name is “Serendipity.” Although it is not mentioned in any of these books, we did find a bit of information on it here. Perhaps we will write about it in another post. Stay tuned.

A Holiday Poem

It has become a beloved tradition at Reel-Scout for Ed, our writer-in-residence, to pen a Holiday poem to our clients. This year is no exception. Here it is, a heartfelt thanks from all of us at Reel-Scout.

Roses are red.
Violets are pink.
This holiday poem
Is perhaps not what you think.

Yes, Christmas is coming.
And the geese are getting fat.
But there’s more to this season,
Than a jolly red hat.

Yes, the time is approaching
We’ve long been told,
Of presents and gifts
Big, bright, and bold.

And while that’s true,
At least to a degree,
That’s definitely not all,
That should grace your tree.

Yes, Christmas is coming.
That’s certainly true.
But don’t forget Hanukkah, Kwanzaa,
And Thanksgiving, too.

You say Thanksgiving’s past?
Don’t be a bore.
Have another think,
And then think some more.

Thanksgiving’s the holiday
That this card’s about,
And we intend to show it
With a big “shout-out.”

A shout-out to whom?
Just sit and relax.
We’ve got your backs.

Oh, before we get going,
One more thing to announce:
When you see initials,
NC is “IN CEE.”
Saying “North Carolina” won’t click.
This is a poem, you know,
And we want it to stick.

So let’s get going,
We say with a smile.
But grab a seat:
This might take awhile.

There’s Philly and Maryland,
Georgia, Indiana,
Washington and NC,
Texas and Montana.

There’s Lafayette and Dallas,
Austin and PA,
San Fran and Sonoma,
Cleveland and VA.

There’s St. Pete and the Keys,
Pittsburgh and Jacksonville,
San Diego, Monterey,
Orlando and Martinsville.

There’s Florida and Kansas,
South Dakota and SC,
Missouri and New Hampshire,
Los Angeles and CT.

There’s Alabama and Arizona,
And Mississippi times two.
That’s MS Film and MS Tourism,
So there’s plenty to do.

There’s TN and CA,
Alaska and WY,
Oklahoma and NM,
Oregon and MI.

Memphis and Shelby County
That’s actually just one.
But the three offices in Miami
Means three times the fun.

There’s Baton Rouge and Minnesota,
Hampton Roads and NV,
Utah and Idaho,
Illinois and ME.

There’s Emerald Coast and Baltimore,
And, if we do say,
That’s a pretty good list
And there’s more on the way.

And, finally, our home state
Which has an earlier mention
But, given our locale,
Deserves a bit more attention.

There’s Western and Wilmington
NC Film and Tourism, too.
Throw in Durham and Reel-Scout
And it’s close to a zoo.

But that’s beside the point,
And we hope you agree.
There’s something deeper at work
Which we trust you see.

Yes, Christmas is coming.
That’s certainly true.
But this card’s about thanks giving,
From us to you.

Our gratitude is yours.
And, as we reflect,
Not only our thanks,
But our deepest respect.

This shout-out’s to you.
It’s heartfelt beyond doubt.
The best to you and yours
From your friends at … Reel-Scout.