Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 26, 2002 · Page 22
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 22

Indiana, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Saturday, October 26, 2002
Page 22
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Page 22 — Saturday, October 26, 2002 TV/COMICS (Snzette Pittsburgh Film Office facing closure ByTODD SPANGLER Associated Press Writer PITTSBURGH — Having depended on the kindness of strangers, not to mention a few friends, to stay open in recent years, the Pittsburgh Film Office is looking at rolling the credits on its operation if someone doesn't come to its rescue pretty soon. Dawn Keezer, the film office director, said Friday the nonprofit office, which works to bring productions to southwestern Pennsylvania, may have to, shut down Dec. 15 if some kind of funding isn't forthcoming. "We'll just be closed," she said. "We'll be unemployed." In the past, the film office has managed to attract movies such as "Silence of the Lambs," "Bob Roberts," "Inspector Gadget" and "Wonder Boys." Last year, it played a role in getting "The Mothman Prophecies" filmed in the area, and the season premiere of "The West Wing" featured western Pennsylvania as well. Until a couple of years ago, the office relied on a slice of Allegheny County's hotel-motel tax for the biggest chunk of its budget, which is now about $400,000. When lawmakers decided to build a pair of new sports stadiums and a new convention center in Pittsburgh, that money was needed to help pay off bonds, leaving the film office largely unfunded, said Keezer. The office stayed open, in part, through " 1 D.6 film office is a business that directty contributes to the vibrancy of this region and deserves to be recognized for its contribution." — Barbara McNees, Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce president $100,000 provided by the state's film office and money coming through local legislators. Early this year, it appeared that the office would have to close by September, but $120,000 raised through an Oscar night gala kept it alive. Now, with the coffers almost empty again, there is still no answer how the office will survive, Keezer said. Thursday, the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce announced a plan to attract people — and donations — to something called "Friends of the Film Office." For a fee, members will get invitations to film office parties and lectures, not to mention free passes to selected movie screenings and previews. Barbara McNees, the chamber's president, said the goal is to raise $100,000 to keep the office going. Why would the chamber get involved? A report by the film office says the production of movies, TV programs and commercials has been responsible for pumping some $155 million into the regional economy over the last seven years. "The film office is a business that directly contributes to the vibrancy of this region and deserves to be recognized for its contribution," McNees said. Meanwhile, county Chief Executive Jim Roddey says it is possible that, if the state legislature and County Council approve a 3 percent tax on car rentals for the Sports & Exhibition Authority, that agency .can fund the $300,000 the film office is looking for. The car rental tax would be worth more than $3 million a year. "We'll see," said Keezer, whose office has four full-time employees. "We'd be thrilled to take it." The office says the business of attracting films has become much more competitive in recent years, particularly with some states — such as Oklahoma — and nations including Canada and Australia offering strong incentives to filmmakers. In the meantime, funding for some offices has fallen off; at least one office, in St. Louis, has closed. Without someone to promote the 10- county region in southwestern Pennsylvania as a site for productions, most filmmakers simply won't come, Keezer said. "Pittsburgh will be stepping out of the competition," she said. (On the Net: Pitrsburglt Film Office: www.pgh- PUCKER UP — Robert Cornish, a second-grader at Springfield Elementary School, ducks a kiss from a boa constrictor while Mike-' Kohlrieser, head animal trainer with Understanding Wildlife/ showed exotic animals during a rain forest show at the school Thursday in Springfield. Pa. {AP photo), OF COURSE.'X I MEAN. WHY 00 D065 LIKE PEOPLE WHO AREN'T NICE TO THEM? A PARENT CAN REALLY LOVE A KIP UUHO DOESN'T 6ET STRAIGHT A'5? LIKE SOMEONE UWO TAKES THE LAST COOKIE GAr\E \ HOW YOU V TIME! JbOlN 1 ARTUfV A LITTLE NERVOUS? VJE DO THM" EVERY GAME FOR OUR LOOK ARTUR, YOU'RE NOT A VERY GOOD SOCCER PLAYER 1 . THAT'S OKAY! NOBODY EXPECTS YOU TO BE GOOD ! J 7 JUST TRY TO ACT LIKE YOU HAVE A. CLUE '. THE REST OF TfHE TEAM VJILL COVER UP FOR. YOUR, OBVIOUS INCOMPETENCE' BIG NATE £ BUM TOU&H FOR BOTH OF YOU THIS VEAR.' LgT'S GO HOME, BA&/...W& ._ MUCH TO TALK ABOUT.' BUTTHN&S \"® WIL.U BETTER, VAHA... YOU'LL SEE.' \KvTO TUC DOOR YOU STKKVL N THE BORN LOSER oR GAWD.S SAKE THE: DIC Shook 3 sHOOKA SOUP TO NUTZ BANK FRANK & ERNEST U<3HEH\H6 To NbU RAMBLE ABOUT MY BEAUWUL GRIZZWELLS IT ?o WAPPEHS 1 UAW A FABULOUS n6URE AS WELL AMP VOU PELL INTO A PIT FULL OF AN&RV MONKeV5? THAT TIME I CHA5EP VOU? NOW THAT WAS THIS 15 WHV NONE OF THE &REAT COMEPIAN5 ARE PO&5 BOY-OH-BOY! I JUST IAI55EO HOLE-IN-ONE BV HOW IAUCH? VERY GRANDFATHERLY NEVER 60 FISHING FOR COMPLIMENTS WITH OLPBAIT HOW PO YOU LIKE MY NEW PORTRAIT BEETLE BAILEY I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR HOURS.'DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS?/ IT'S TIME TO G\V5 you 1 r MY, HOW TIME THIS BAG OF GOLD | FLIES WHEM YOU'RE COINS I WOKJ 3^ HAVING FUN// PLAYING DARTS AT THE i s HAGAR THE HORRIBLE KIT 'N' CARLYLE lwright@ic.nel ® 2002 by N6A. Inc. "First, you're hanging off the balcony. Then, you're swinging from the chandelier! ... One too many banana daiquiris, and suddenly, you'r? the wildlife of the party!*

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