Shooting revs up for Oregon's best TV and film year ever

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Articles - April 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

 

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An NBC movie of the week titled In My Shoes was filmed in and around Portland last spring. // PHOTOS COURTESY GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF FILM AND TELEVISION

Oregon’s film and television industry has never looked stronger. Vince Porter, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Film and Television, predicts that the state will pull in more than $90 million from television shows and films shot here in 2011. And that record windfall could be just the beginning.

For the third year in a row, Electric Entertainment is shooting its action series Leverage in Portland. According to Porter, the Leverage team wrote checks to 417 Oregon businesses and put 471 local people on the payroll in 2010.

The payoff could be even bigger if the recently filmed television pilot Grimm wins over NBC executives. NBC is expected to decide in April or May whether to back the quirky fairy tale/cop show written for Portland by a team with past involvement in the massively successful Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise. Porter’s predecessor at the state’s film office, Steve Oster, the line producer for Grimm, was instrumental in bringing the production to Oregon. If the pilot becomes a major network show, it could pull $45 million per year into the state.

 

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Leverage is just one of many productions contributing to Oregon's growing film and TV industry.

The direct economic impact of the quirky spoof show Portlandia is smaller than that, but the recent news that the show would continue for another season certainly generates buzz. News is also expected soon on the fate of another pilot recently shot in Portland, TBS’s Brain Trust, which would have a budget similar to that of Leverage.

As soon as the shooting ended for Grimm, it started for the feature film Gone, starring Amanda Seyfried.

But for all the excitement around live shooting, the opportunity may be even bigger in the Portland area for animation. Laika is gearing up for its long-awaited follow-up to the Academy Award-nominated Coraline, and Portland-based Bent Image Lab is growing rapidly, specializing in animation and music videos.

“Oregon is developing a real fertile cluster on the animation side,” says Porter. “I see that side growing quickly, even faster than the live-action side… I would love nothing more than to market us as home for another animation company because our talent pool is growing.”

BEN JACKLET
 

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