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|Articles - March 2011|
|Wednesday, March 02, 2011|
“The biggest reason people are drawn to this area is location,” says Gary Kout, founder and director of Southern Oregon Film and Television (SOFaT). “We possess a tremendous amount of diversity that is accessible and production-friendly.”
SOFaT has been one of the big driving forces in building the Southern Oregon film industry, according to Vince Porter of the Governor’s Office of Film & Television, which works with local talent while promoting the region to out-of-state production companies. Some past productions in the area include the 2007 film My Name Is Bruce starring B-movie icon and Ashland resident Bruce Campbell, the 2009 film Calvin Marshall, and the 2010 horror film Rogue River.
“Through those efforts people are learning more about us, keeping us more in mind,” says Kout. “We’ve even heard there are some Portland-based filmmakers looking into Southern Oregon.”
Kout estimates that film and television production in 2009 brought $6 million into the local economy. Commercial productions, including projects by Biography and the History Channel, brought in around half a million dollars in production. The History Channel in 2009 shot re-enactment scenes for a documentary on outlaw Jesse James in the town of Jacksonville. The project was the first production after a moratorium on commercial filming was lifted by the town’s mayor. In spring 2010, Biography produced a documentary on actors featured in the film Silence of the Lambs, including Anthony Heald, a current member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
“One project I produced with Disney cost around $125,000. We spent all of about $40,000 outside the state, so that’s $80,000 right there,” says Kout.
SOFaT also works on streamlining the process of hiring qualified crews and finding talented casts. The organization works with local universities and high schools to encourage students to intern with productions. Some former interns have gone on to work for Southern Oregon-based companies such as production company Elsewhere Films.
“The interns come out with high technical skills, but still need to learn the process,” says Kout. “We try and provide people with more opportunities to get time on set and improve their skills. We are doing more than just putting out the call, we are creating fertile ground.”
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Earlier this month, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) announced they were going to devalue their currency, the Renminbi. While the amount of the targeted change was to be roughly 2 percent, investors read a lot more into the move. The Renminbi had been gradually appreciating against the U.S. dollar (see chart) as to attempt to alleviate concerns of being labeled a currency manipulator.
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Oregon is set to become a hub of a new type of wooden building design as a southern Oregon timber company becomes the first certified manufacturer of a high-tech wood product, known as cross-laminated timber, or CLT.
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How Portland's Garden Bar plans to become the Starbucks of salad.
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The refugee crisis has put immigration and border issues on the front burner, in Europe and at home. In Oregon, attitudes toward illegal immigration haven’t changed dramatically since 2006.
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