Courtney B. Vance Touts Local Production at Film in California Conference

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Courtney B. Vance

The annual confab was held Saturday at Los Angeles Center Studios.

Production insiders gathered on Saturday for the Film in California Conference.

The annual confab, held at Los Angeles Center Studios this year, drew the likes of studio executives, location managers and film commissioners. The conference gives the latter the opportunity to remind production pros of the state's built-in perks — namely, diverse landscapes, robust crews and near-perfect weather — and specifically what their local regions offer.

At the top of the daylong event, California Film Commissioner Amy Lemisch kicked things off with a few opening remarks she gave alongside Film Liaisons In California Statewide president Cassandra Hesseltine. Lemisch’s organization will partner with FLICS, the association of regional film liaisons, for the conference each year.

The confab came at a great time for California, Lemisch noted. "Our crews are busy working on big and small features, TV series and commercials, facilities are bustling and we continue to see an explosion of content production," she said. "Our conference today is as much about celebrating as it is about networking and learning."

Also on hand to tout filming in the state was actor Courtney B. Vance, whose long list of California-based credits include playing Johnnie Cochran on the FX series American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson. Working on that project showed Vance the impressive commitment California studios had to fulfilling the filmmaker’s visions and to historical accuracy.

“The production gave us the location map pages, of course, but there was no address for base camp,” Vance related. “I later found out that we had the entire downtown Los Angeles as our location for two successive weekends! Can you imagine?”

What also makes California the best place to shoot is its diverse and awe-inspiring locations, Vance said, like that of the drama series Revenge. “Although fans of the show thought they were looking at the Hamptons, billions of people were actually being given a weekly dose of real California beauty courtesy of Manhattan Beach,” he said.

Other sessions on Saturday included a "Making of the Amazon Series Bosch" panel, featuring the show's executive producers, castmembers and location manager; and a "Women Behind the Scenes" panel featuring production designers, studio execs, cinematographers, directors and showrunners.

Also presented later in the day was the panel "Film Festivals — A Primer," with representatives from Outfest & Newfest, NewFilmmakers Los Angeles, Santa Barbara International Film Festival and LA Film Festival; and the panel "The Magic of Visual Effects," with representatives from Netflix, Mammal Studios and Zoic Studios.

At the end of the packed day, NCIS executive producer Mark Horowitz was presented with the California Golden Slate Award, an honor given to an individual who champions filming in California and whose body of work has generated thousands of in-state production jobs.

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