TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - When you check out the list of film festivals across America, one of the first thing that stands out is how new many of them are, like ones in Dallas, New York and even Los Angeles.
Film festivals have become a revenue generator for municipalities because of the loyal fan base and the willingness of that fan base to travel and spend money.
Tucson has eight film festivals, the oldest being the Arizona International Film Festival which is in its 24
But now, those eight are joining forces to join the trend.
Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild announced today a new film festival will have a four day run beginning next October.
“It will be called the Tucson Festival of Films,” he says.
It will take the best of the eight festivals and combine them into one.
“It will be all over the city,” says Shelli Hall, Director of the Tucson Film Office. “From the Foothills, the Jewish Community Center to the Harkins Theater in South Tucson and everywhere in between.”
And they'll all be going at once.
“This is a one of a kind event,” she says. “We don't know of any other city or state that's doing something like this.”
Tucson would like to recreate some of the magic the city had in its movie making heyday, when movie stars walked the Tucson streets and ate in its upscale restaurants.
Tucson has a small incentive program for film companies who come to town and spend more than a million dollars in production costs.
But it's dwarfed by states like New Mexico or Utah. Mexico rebates up to 30%.
The state of Arizona refuses to pass and implement an incentive program so Tucson is at a loss as to how to attract movie interests here.
It's hoped this festival will get the ball rolling to let the industry know the city is interested.
“People are going to have Tucson on the radar screen,” says Ward VI city council member Steve Kozachik. “Then we can start filling hotel rooms and getting Tucson on the film industry map.”
Mia Schnaible, who markets the Arizona International Film Festival agrees.
Since its inception “142,000 people have attended our festival,” she says. “Last year we had 93 film makers from all over the world.”
And they spent some money.
“That's 400 bed nights,” she says. “The go out and shop and shop, explore, see stuff and think about coming back here to film their next film.”
“This will show Tucson is unified,” says Kozachik. “And that's important for people to see.”
“It brings money into the city,” says Ward I city council member Regina Romero, whose husband is an award winning film maker. “We can prove with the experience we have with the film festivals that the creativity is here and we can attract big names.”