AFCI offers incentives to learn

New Mexico Film Office hosts event on running a commission

The Association of Film Commissioners International will launch the latest phase of its Global Initiatives in Professional Development at the 32nd annual AFCI Cineposium International Conference, set for Aug. 26-30 in Santa Fe, N.M.

The New Mexico Film Office, one of the entities behind the state that is a leader in film incentives, is hosting the event.

The initiatives were unveiled at April's AFCI Trade Show and aim to educate budding and established film commissions worldwide on how to run a commission. More importantly, the organization is slowly setting standards in the 43 countries represented.

The AFCI in July launched its first online course, "Film Commission Fundamentals," which gives the basics of working as a commissioner or film liaison. So far, more than 60 people have completed the course. And in a sign that the AFCI is serious about setting standards, the course must be completed by new film commissions who are applying for membership in the organization and must be done before attending the Film Commission Professional courses at Cineposium 2007.

The latest phase of Global Initiatives is the launch of two of four professional courses in what is billed as a master class series.

First up is "Marketing for Film Commissioners," a one-day course that will show how to develop an effective marketing program and will include lessons on how to develop effective advertising strategies and public relations campaigns, among other topics.

Also up is "The Film Commissioner as Economic Developer," which offers lessons on ways to assess and develop key business relationships to create community value.

"There's been a great big leap forward this year in terms of opportunity for formal professional development leading to qualification," AFCI president Robin James said. "This is reflected in the masters classes, which ultimately will lead to the qualification of certified film commissioners, which for the first time in the film industry's history means that film commissioners can have formal qualification that are recognized worldwide and are highly portable."

The other two courses will be unveiled at next year's trade show.

Also, reflecting the growing environmental consciousness of the entertainment industry, one of the big special presentation courses at this month's event is "Going Green — Leaving a Light Footprint on Our Environment." It is only natural that commissioners, who want to protect their locations, would join the cause.

"A lot of people in the film industry are very concerned about the impact that production activity has on climate change," James said. "Even commissioners feel compelled to make their contribution towards minimizing that impact."