Sacramento Aims to Make City More Attractive Destination for Filmmakers

SACRAMENTO -- Local filmmaker Nick Leisure's latest film is set in Sacramento, but it was shot entirely on a soundstage in Rosarito, Mexico.

"A Clear Shot" is based on the 1991 Good Guys hostage crisis.

"I was really concerned, in the beginning, about that. Having to recreate the streets of Sacramento and the store and the police cars and the uniforms and all that type of stuff," Leisure said. "You would think it would be easier to just do it in Sacramento, but it was way cheaper to do it in Baja, Mexico than it was to actually do it here."

Leisure says his productions are about a third of the cost filming in Rosarito. In fact, Leisure left Sacramento later Wednesday for Rosarito and will end up shooting four projects at Baja Studios by the end of the year.

He's one of several Sacramento filmmakers taking this route.

Several years ago, filmmaker and Sacramento native Greta Gerwig approached the city about shooting her film "Lady Bird" in Sacramento, but the city couldn't offer much.

Some scenes did end up being shot in Sacramento and the film was an awards season darling -- even getting an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

It may have served as a turning point in the city's perception of helping filmmakers.

"(Gerwig) was determined to film here, which was great. So, it almost didn't matter which kind of barriers. She was going to film here," city cultural services director Jody Ulich said. "What it did was really kind of open a lot of eyes in that these are the kinds of things we need to do more, and so we want to work with these filmmakers, find out what it is they really want."

The city has hired a consulting firm that starts next month to be in charge of recommending ways to enhance the market and make Sacramento more attractive for the film industry.

"If we can work well with them, if we can get them the resources they need, the productions that they need, the caterers and the workers that they need, I think that we can really create a great environment for filmmakers working here," Ulich said.

Ulich says the next step after getting a consulting firm in place is for the city to put together a full-fledged film commission.

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