520 Film Collective to Build Major Film Industry in Kentucky


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Kentucky has rolled out the red carpet for several major film productions in recent years, including “The Stand In” by Drew Berrymore, shot in Lexington and Versailles, “Better Start Running” with Jeremy Irons, shot in Cave City and Louisville, and “Don’t Tell a Soul” with Rainn Wilson, “The Art of Self Defense” with Jesse Eisenberg and “Mom and Dad” with Selma Blair and Nicholas Cage, all shot in Louisville.

While not yet a movie mecca, with the rise of Hollywood film and television productions choosing Kentucky as their backdrop, documentary and short film producer Soozie Eastman feels he is. time to prepare for something big.

“We have such a variety of locations in Kentucky. We have such exquisite talent here and it’s very affordable to bring production to Bluegrass State,” Eastman said. “I felt like the missing piece was an entity to connect the dots for our local filmmakers and visiting productions.”

This is why Eastman created the 502 Film Collective, a Louisville-based nonprofit that aims to create a sustainable and robust film industry statewide by using resource databases for the local team, suppliers and rental of equipment, labor and media education, as well as grant opportunities and advocacy on behalf of local filmmakers.

Louisville director Soozie Eastman's documentary

“If you look at the booming film industry in Cincinnati, it’s supported by the Cincinnati Film Commission which focuses on economic development from a city perspective, the Cincinnati Film Society which hosts film programming and Cincinnati Film, which focuses on supporting infrastructure serving as a link between the local team and suppliers and outside productions that come to Cincinnati to film, ”she said.

Eastman said its 502 FIlm Collective will be similar to Film Cincinnati – an organization that will connect the dots for visiting productions, connecting outside teams to a variety of resources around the state.

“Think of it as a concierge service that makes it easy to tour film productions and could even be a foot in the door for people who may not realize they have something to offer the film industry and television, “the filmmaker told The Courier. Newspaper.

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Geoffrey Storts, a Kentucky-based film industry professional, said filmmaking can offer benefits far beyondwhat we consider to be the glitz and glamor of Hollywood.

“A friend of mine was working in production in Cincinnati on the movie ‘Dark Waters’ with Mark Ruffalo and Anne Hathaway and was told to find two identical cows for a particular scene,” Storts said. “She had to really search hard to find them, but eventually she found twin cows on a family farm and the movie paid the owner about $ 10,000 to use the cows.”

Following the unexpected financial windfall, the cow owners were able to take their first family vacation to Disney World.

Evan Peters, in black, looks over a shot as cinematographer Nate Spicer films a scene from the Peters film

Ultimately, the goal of the 502 Film Collective is to work alongside offices and organizations in the City of Louisville to ensure that the industry “grows in a way that creates a sustainable and successful film economy,” said Eastman on the diverse eight-member collective.

“Louisville continues to be a film and media production hotspot attracting projects from around the world to our city,” said Rebecca Fleischaker, co-head of Louisville Forward and director of economic development for Louisville Metro. “Through targeted efforts to attract film productions to Louisvlle, the new 502 Film Collective will help increase the economic impact of this important industry and increase employment opportunities for the many supporting resources across Louisvlel Metro.”

The team has created three databases where selected individuals and companies will be made available to film production companies working in Kentucky. One database is for the local and experienced team and a second is for equipment that can be rented by productions. The third list is for ancillary vendors, which are pretty much any service that could be needed in the film industry, such as lawyers, plumbers, and, yes, even livestock owners.

“These are people from other industries who want to offer affordable rates for the services needed to support productions, including caterers, hotels, cafes, tent rentals,” Eastman said. “There are so many different people that are needed. I don’t think people realize how many backstage actors there are in every movie production.”

And yes, it can be something as unusual as finding identical cows for a movie scene or more technical things like hiring an experienced local crew to work on a set. An increase in film production in Kentucky will increase the need for people (and animals) in all aspects of the workforce.

“What are you doing? I guarantee that we have a place for you in the world of cinema,” said Nathaniel Spencer, co-founder and director of Black Media Collaborative. “From actors to babysitters, the cinema recreates real life in front of and behind the camera, so name it, we could use you.”

Eric Amundsen, assistant cameraman, checked a shot before resuming shooting on the film

Spencer and Storts are part of Eastman’s 502 Film Collective. The group of passionate filmmakers also includes Erin Roark of Louisville-based production company 180 Degrees, Ben Moore, deputy director of economic development at the Louisville Metro Government, and three film industry professionals who have chosen Louisville as their new home.

Bryn Silverman moved here from Berlin after making a short film in Louisville and fell in love with the state.

“It seemed a lot less jaded than New York or Los Angeles,” Silverman said. “We decided to move here because of the great experience we had in producing the film and the people we met and worked with in Louisville.”

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A graduate of the University of Louisville and recently returned to Louisville, Sarah Lempke O’Hare is Director of Education and Community Engagement at the Louisville Orchestra. She will work on the educational component of the 502 Film Collective.

“We hope to influence the next generation with storytelling and media literacy boot camps in colleges,” Eastman said of the education initiative. “Also, we want to prepare our workforce as these productions come to town, so we will be running workshops.”

Shooting of the movie

The group also plans to work with the state to create apprenticeship programs to enable up-and-coming Kentucky filmmakers to work on visiting large-scale productions.

The group’s eighth member, Felipe Dieppa, is the originator of Diego’s voice on the hugely popular children’s show “Dora the Explorer” and appeared on the daytime soap opera “One Life to Live”. Dieppa is a screenwriter, producer and director who moved to Louisville a year ago from New York and found a vibrant professional film scene.

“I discovered there were some amazing filmmakers here in Louisville,” Dieppa said. “I’ve actually found that some of the best teams I’ve ever worked with are here. Part of my job with 502 Film Collective is making sure that when people ask if there’s a scene from movie in Louisville, we can say “yes there is and this is what it looks like.”

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The film "Monumental" shot at Wigwam Village in Cave City, Ky, in 2016.

Ultimately, the 502 Film Collective hopes that by providing concierge service to a growing film industry statewide, local film professionals won’t have to leave Kentucky for places like Los Angeles. , New York or Atlanta to find work.

“Cinema is not just an art or a hobby, it’s a multi-million dollar industry,” Eastman said. “Beyond money, our goal is to elevate local teams so that we can make sure that we are able to provide opportunities for our creatives locally.”

Spener agrees. “When we do what we plan to do with the 502 Film Collective, the opportunities will be huge in Kentucky and a lot of the talent that has left to find work in other cities will return. Kentucky has already proven that we can support the film industry then we are ready. We are ready. “

For more information on 502 Film Collective database membership and upcoming educational and networking opportunities, visit 502film.org.

Contact Kirby Adams at [email protected] or Twitter @kirbylouisville.

Want to know more about 502 Film Collective?

One of 502 Film Collective’s first events aimed at helping local film professionals understand the business side of filmmaking will take place on Friday during Tech Startup Week. The free session led by 502 Film Collective members and Bill Wingate is 10-11 a.m. at Gateway to Nulu Building, 552 E Market St. To register for the free event and for more information, visit startupweeklouisville.org.

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