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A New Film Commission In Dallas, This Time With Support

By Maxine Shapiro, KERA 90.1 business commentator

Dallas, TX – After the fall of the DFW Regional Film Commission, I was beginning to think North Texas would never again reap the enormous benefits from being on the small and the big screen. But it looks like the dead has awakened and there might actually be a future for the film industry in Dallas. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Midday.

A little history first: in 1987, Film Commissioner Roger Burke and his small staff opened the doors for the Regional Film Commission. During his 15-year tenure, TV, film and commercial productions spent almost $900 million, up to 85 percent of that in Dallas. 20 cities contributed to the Commission. But unlike most, this Film Commission was autonomous of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, or CVB. They wanted nothing to do with it.

But last September, a successful coup dismantled the Film Commission and put it under the authority of the CVB. Even after public and media endorsements, the Dallas City Council voted to stop funding of the Commission. Its doors closed, as did many opportunities to our vendors, hotels, and talent to showcase the region.

Janis Burklund is now the new director of the Dallas Film Commission under the CVB. Better still, the new Director of the Dallas CVB, Phillip Jones, has made the Film Commission one of his top priorities. In expounding on his restructuring of the Bureau, Jones singled out the Commission. He is "seeking to revive the city's film and TV industry - once the state's busiest." I challenge Jones to take on the Austin Film Commission, whose yearly budget is $90,000 and which makes more than $100 million of revenue for the city a year. Burklund told me last week's "Saving Jessica Lynch" on NBC, which except for one day was filmed entirely in Dallas, brought the city just about $5 million in revenue, not to mention a possible new buzzword in Hollywood: Dallas. It's a great new beginning. For KERA Marketplace Midday, I'm Maxine Shapiro.


Marketplace Midday Reports air on KERA 90.1 Monday - Friday at 1:04 p.m.

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