Helmer has his own private workplace

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It's no secret that it serves a state's film industry to have a favorite son, someone who consistently returns there to shoot movies. He brings in money and keeps crews working.

Oregon's favorite son is Gus Van Sant.

Van Sant went to school in Portland, then spent time in New York and tried his luck in Hollywood. After stumbling in L.A., the helmer moved to Portland in the late 1980s and began making movies there, starting with "Drugstore Cowboy" and then "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues," "My Own Private Idaho," "Elephant" and "Paranoid Park."

"He brings production here, and he's an active participant in the industry here," said Steve Oster of the Oregon Film and Video Office, of which Van Sant is on the board of directors.

Although he's in San Francisco shooting "Milk," it won't be long before Van Sant returns to Oregon to make another movie.

"Portland is like the biggest one-horse town you can imagine," he told Interview magazine this year. "You see the city working in front of you — everything's pretty much on the surface."

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