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Local Feature Filmmaking

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By Patrick Sullivan

IT'S NO EASY TASK to nail down hard facts and figures about Hollywood's activity in Sonoma County over the past decade. Because of personnel changes and spotty record keeping, the Sonoma County Film Commission is able only to provide the number of permits issued to feature-film producers in the past five years. The figures available show a dramatic drop in activity, but they shed no light on the reasons for that decline: 1995-96: 5; 1996-97: 4; 1997-98: 4; 1998-99: 0.

Information about the scope and economic impact of these productions is less reliable. Film companies are asked to report their expenditures in the county, but they often don't, and no regulation requires such reporting. The best estimate available suggests that feature film shoots may have had something like a $7.5 million direct impact in the county during the 1997/98 period. Since no permits were issued last year, Hollywood spent nothing-- or next to nothing--on shooting in Sonoma County.

From the October 14-20, 1999 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

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