Why go to Hollywood when there’s Tahoe?
There is a movie being made now tentatively titled “The Deep End” that is supposed to take place at Lake Tahoe.
It’s going to be filmed in Canada.
That situation underscores the challenges facing the El Dorado Tahoe Film Commission, said Film Commissioner Kathleen Dodge. Canada and other places are more economical locations in which to film for two reasons: the currency exchange rate and because their governments provide incentives to the companies.
The El Dorado Tahoe Film Commission hopes next month to start holding familiarization tours of the area for producers and location managers of films, TV shows and commercials. That will help expose the area to the industry, Dodge said, but it won’t solve the financial challenges.
“Certainly if you see Tahoe, it’s breathtaking. It’s magnificent. If a writer sees it, he might write something set here. If an actor sees it, he may want to work here,” Dodge said. “This will make people aware of Tahoe. This will make people want to be here. It will not curb the financial situation.”
The financial challenge, Dodge said, is not solely El Dorado County’s problem. It’s statewide. It’s been reported that the state of California’s economy lost $10 billion last year from losing films to other places. Legislation – Assembly Bill 358 – is in the works that could allow California to provide similar incentives.
However, despite the financial challenge, which has been increasing in recent years, many feature films, TV movies, commercials and still photography shoots come to El Dorado County each year.
“We bring in millions of dollars in revenue for the county,” Dodge said. “They bring in big crews that eat a lot of food. They buy a lot of gas. The (transient occupancy tax) alone is a huge benefit. They infuse our economy.”
In some out-of-the-basin portions of the county now, Dreamworks is shooting parts of a yet-to-be-titled Cameron Crowe movie. Crowe wrote and directed “Say Anything,” “Singles” and “Jerry Maguire,” and some of the actors in the film include Billy Crudup (“Without Limits”), Kate Hudson (“200 Cigarettes”), Jason Lee (“Chasing Amy”) and Academy Award winners Frances McDormand (“Fargo”) and Anna Paquin (“The Piano”).
According to the publicist, it’s a story about a young man – an unabashed music fan – who lands an assignment with Rolling Stone magazine to follow the tour of an up-and-coming band.
Parts of the soon-to-be-released films “The Bicentennial Man” starring Robin Williams and “Rocky and Bullwinkle” starring Robert DeNiro were filmed in the county earlier this year. Some of the big films with parts shot at Tahoe in the past include “City of Angels” and “The Bodyguard.”
Commercials are the El Dorado Tahoe Film Commission’s “bread and butter,” Dodge said. And still photo shoots happen often.
“If you’re looking to find a four-wheel-drive vehicle, I don’t think you can pick up a catalog without seeing El Dorado or Tahoe,” she said.
The El Dorado Tahoe Film Commission is always seeking potential locations. The agency especially needs lodges and secluded homes. To sign up, El Dorado County residents can call (530) 626-4400.
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