News from the greater SA film industry
With Texas film action heavy to the north this month, we sat down with Drew Mayer-Oakes, director of the San Antonio Film Commission at the South By Southwest music and film festival in Austin. `Check out John DeFore’s guide to SXSW film, “Bring aspirin and caffeine,” on-line at sacurrent.com`
What is the level of involvement between the commission and local filmmakers?
Well, we don’t have a lot of specific resources targeted to filmmakers, except for the SA Film Commission website (sanantoniocvb.com/film). Instead we help them make connections with film-industry professionals who can provide them with those resources; we provide access to information that isn’t necessarily readily available. Filmmaking is still very much about who you know, so we use our own network of contacts to help local filmmakers.
On the website you have a call for entries for the Texas Filmmakers Showcase, sponsored by the Houston Film Commission. Is there a lot of cooperation between the various commissions around Texas?
Absolutely. The Texas Film Commission makes sure that everyone is represented equally. In fact, today I’m meeting with directors from six other commissions (Austin, Dallas, Houston, El Paso, Brownsville, and South Padre Island) to talk about group marketing.
By the same token, is there any competition between, say, San Antonio and Austin over Texas-bound productions?
Recently, San Antonio has actually been getting parts of Austin projects. I’ll usually invite producers to San Antonio and show them around, and they’re pleasantly surprised by the historic downtown, the looks of our neighborhoods, etc. And actually I’m surprised at how few of them have ever ventured down I-35 on their own to see the city.
So what awaits you at SXSW?
We go to market San Antonio. We’ll meet with a lot of executives, producers, and filmmakers and just make sure they know about San Antonio and what we have to offer. It’s a great opportunity; there’s no way we could meet as many people by making several trips to LA as we do in one week in Austin.
Is there anything coming up for the commission that excites you?
Last year our department had a $3-million economic impact on San Antonio, so that’s exciting. Pablo Veliz `producer of the award-winning La Tragedia de la Marcario` has promised me he’s making his next film in San Antonio, so that’s exciting, too. And I hope that he and other filmmakers will make San Antonio their base of operations, like Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez have done with Austin.
That sounds like quite a bit to be excited about, actually.
This is a job I’ve wanted forever, you know, so I’m about as happy as I could be. •
By Aaron Block