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AFCI to tempt set jetters

With the increasing spend on leisure travel and studies suggesting up to 20% of travellers are influenced by film & TV content, the International Film Commissioners Association (AFCI) has set film tourism as the one and only topic for this year’s Cineposium.

The event runs over three days in Barcelona next month, the venue clearly chosen before the conference’s subject matter.

Of the Spanish speakers named on the programme, all bar one claim some involvement with Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, some with Pierre Morel’s recent The Gunman, few with other titles of international renown.

The conference will run sessions on many aspects of the film tourism business, offering up speakers from many areas of the business. Naturally, a large number of those are film commissioners, including Film Otago-Southland’s Kevin Jennings, who’ll host the event’s behind-closed-doors session on “challenges encountered in dealing with productions or governments”, How Would You Handle It?.

Jennings will also be on the panel for Filming on Protected Lands – a topic on which he’s done a considerable amount of work down in Otago-Southland. The panel will share experiences with a view to developing bast practice.

Until the conference, Jennings is keeping busy down in Queenstown as the region hosts plenty of commercial shoots. It’s peak snow at present, which helps ensure a busy winter for crew in the area.

Former Otago resident and now Berlin-based film tourism consultant Stefan Roesch will also present at AFCI. Roesch completed a PhD in film tourism at Otago Uni, later adapted as The Experiences of Film Location Tourists for a UK publisher.

A sizeable US line-up includes MaryAnn Hughes, who commits “100% of her time looking for opportunities to reduce production costs through film and television production incentives and structured film financing deals”. She’ll outline Disney’s views on film tourism. Having established Disneyland in the 1950s, the studio was arguably the first organisation to exploit the opportunity for film-related tourism.

HBO’s Mara Mikialian, who looks after Game of Thrones for the broadcaster, will present on the opportunites of a successful production. Speakers from Ireland and the UK, both of which territories benefit significantly from Game of Thrones, will also present. Also from the UK, is producer Graham Broadbent (Seven Psychopaths and the India-shot Best Exotic Marigold Hotel titles).

Despite an increasing number of eastern European, Middle Eastern, African and Asian territories joining the incentives game (most recently Thailand), the AFCI Cineposium seems to present Film Tourism as a first world opportunity – or challenge. With the excpetion of Jennings, the speaker line-up is from North America and Western Europe.

This year’s AFCI Cineposium will run 24 – 26 Spetember in Barcelona.

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