Studio 48: Arizona Office of Film and Media reopens to attract Hollywood, digital projects

Posted at 3:04 PM, Dec 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-02 13:05:17-05

After a six-year hiatus, Arizona is resurrecting its state film office with the hopes of attracting more film and media industries to the state.

This time around, the Arizona Office of Film and Media -- also being referred to as Studio 48 -- will be located within the office of the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA).

It will be led by Director Matthew Earl Jones, the half-brother of actor James Earl Jones.

The goal of the office will be to promote Arizona as a "premium destination for film productions," said Susan Marie, senior vice president of marketing and communication with the ACA, in a phone interview on Thursday.

Its focus will not just be on attracting Hollywood directors and producers, but any production company looking to work on their projects in Arizona. That could be TV commercials, independent movies, magazine shoots, commercial photography or digital media projects, she said.

The office will also help secure the necessarily permits needed to film in Arizona, such as facilitating the closure of a street, which is something city film offices, such as the Phoenix Film Office, have had to do when the state's office closed in 2010.

When it comes to offering tax credits or incentives for filmmakers, that has not changed. Currently, Arizona does not offer tax credits.

Studio 48 has been partially funded by Yam Worldwide, which is owned by Bob Parsons, the owner of GoDaddy. That funding will last until the fiscal year ends in the summer of 2017, she said.

Jones is said to be traveling to London next week to attend the FOCUS convention, which is a networking event for all aspects of production.

In June, portions of the Loop 303 were closed for Michael Bay's new Transformers movie, Transformers 5: The Last Night. Crews also filmed scenes at Luke Air Force Base with actor Josh Duhamel. ABC15 was even told that some of the airmen on base got to be extras in the scenes.