It’s not all wine, beaches and beautiful weather that draws outside money to the Central Coast and tourism is not always about sightseeing. Visit SLO CAL, a non-profit countywide destination marketing organization for San Luis Obispo (SLO) County, has been drawing in some big financial numbers with its’ Film SLO CAL (FSC) division.
FSC reported a 50 percent increase in total film projects in the 2017 calendar year. More than 145 prospective productions, including independent feature films, television programs, commercials, still photography shoots, music videos and documentary films, were generated in 2017 surpassing the 120 leads for 2016. The division states that the resulting film activity brought an estimated $3.1 million in spending to the region.
Filming acts as both a destination marketing tool and an economic driver for the county, and FSC promotes the destination to film production companies who pay permit costs and utilize local lodging and services. In fact, filming projects in 2017 booked more than 1,200 room nights in area hotels, motels and lodging properties.
With more than 120 productions filmed in SLO County in 2017, notable credits include: “Jay Leno’s Garage”, “At Your Leisure”, “Great American Railroad Journeys” on the BBC, National Geographic’s “Mission America’s”, “Top Secret Swimming Holes”, “Rick Stein’s Ocean Highway” and other TV pilots for HGTV, Travel Channel, Netflix and DIY Network. A feature film starring Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder was also shot in SLO CAL in 2017. Additionally, commercial film and still photography shoots featured companies such as Microsoft, GMC, JanSport, Pottery Barn, Clarks Shoes, Subaru, Asus and Fenty Puma by Rihanna. Music and commercial promo videos for Nick Jonas and Lady Antebellum were also filmed in the region.
“We attribute this substantial increase to a growing awareness of our region,” said Kylee Corliss, Film Commission Liaison, Visit SLO CAL. “Within four hours of Los Angeles or San Francisco, 80 miles of majestic coastline and over 3,600 square miles of lush rolling vineyards, breathtaking landscapes and charming towns provide countless options for film production.”
Acting as the liaison between production companies and location scouts, FSC connects them to specific sites, local services and lodging. The organization also assists production teams with the appropriate permitting in each community countywide and is proactive in building awareness of SLO County as a filming destination.
Film SLO CAL is currently hosting a location scout familiarization tour in partnership with the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (March 13-18, 2018). The location tour will take place for two days after the festival, giving scouts and producers the opportunity to visit many iconic filming locations in San Luis Obispo County.
“Location tours like these provide an opportunity to showcase our county to the film industry, creating the potential for long-term economic impact in our region,” said Brooke Burnham, Vice President of Marketing, Visit SLO CAL.
FSC will continue to act as the liaison for filming in SLO County and its partnerships with the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, Film Liaisons in California Statewide (FLICS), Association of Film Commissions International (AFCI) and the California State Film Commission to grow awareness of SLO CAL as a choice filming destination.
For more information on filming in SLO County, visit www.FilmSLOCAL.com.