| The vampire romance film Twilight was filmed in Oregon and Washington. The sequel is heading to Vancouver, BC.
PHOTO COURTESY SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT
PORTLAND Oregon’s starring role in teen vampire love story Twilight, the blockbuster film based on author Stephanie Meyer’s bestselling book series, has been a boon to the state’s film and tourism industry. But production incentives and wooing by the state film office weren’t enough to convince filmmakers to return for sequel New Moon, set to begin production this spring. Producer Summit Entertainment will relocate to Vancouver, British Columbia, and Italy, VP of publicity Vivian Mayer confirmed through an assistant.
Vince Porter, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Film and Television estimates producers spent $20 million in the state. New Moon, which is reportedly budgeted at $50 million, up from the $37 million Twilight budget, would likely have brought in even more.
Porter says filmmakers were partly concerned that Oregon wouldn’t have the production resources to support two Twilight sequels being made back-to-back. The lower Canadian dollar also made filming in British Columbia cheaper.
Then just as the film office was trying its best to lure back Twilight producers, CBS Films committed to film The Untitled Crowley Project starring Harrison Ford and Brendan Frasier in Oregon, eating up the state’s film resources and crews, he says.
Porter says the Crowley project, set to begin filming in April, will replace any money lost from the move and could bring even more spending to the state because producers plan to use more local film companies.
Meanwhile, devoted Twilight fans continue to visit the area.
Columbia County tourism director Amber Dennis is still fielding calls from tour groups and operators planning visits through 2010 to St. Helens, which stands in for Forks, Wash., the home of Twilight’s main characters.
“We don’t see that the next two films not being filmed here are going to affect us in a negative way because people are still making this pilgrimage to the Inn,” says Geoff Thompson, owner of the View Point Inn in the Columbia River Gorge, site of the final prom scene in the movie.
Twilight’s departure comes as Porter and the Oregon film industry lobby state legislators this session to increase the Oregon Production Incentive Fund from its current $5 million annual cap to $7.5 million. The fund is used to offer cash rebates to producers who spend at least $750,000 in the state. Porter says it tends to run out of money six months into the year, forcing the state to turn away productions.
“If it had been higher we might have had a running shot at getting [the sequel]” he says.
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