by Nelson Goforth
The Colorado Film Commission (Colorado Office of Film Television and Media) has bolstered their marketing outreach by adding a new Deputy Film Commissioner, Lauren Grimshaw. Commissioner Donald Zuckerman brought in Ms. Grimshaw because of her similar background in production and in piecing together film financing. She, too, knows from producer’s perspective why a production goes to particular state and how to put together money for a film. As Deputy Commissioner, she will be using her extensive set of contacts to help market the state to productions. “I’m used to applying for incentives, and I know what producers are looking for,” she said. “Donald wants me to get exposure for the state. We’ve ushered in this great incentive program – we just have to get the word out.”
Originally from Chicago, and a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Ms. Grimshaw was most recently a production executive for Red Crown Productions in NYC, serving as an Associate Producer for their recent films Goats and What Maisie Knew (both 2012). Seeking a change, earlier this year Ms. Grimshaw started casting about for a career change, and lifestyle choices led her to Colorado. She met with Mr. Zuckerman over the summer, and when the current position opened up, felt it was time to make her move.
Ms. Grimshaw has been sharing time between New York and Colorado for over a year - even before her conversations with Zuckerman. She made inquiries via Red Crown’s rep, seeking introductions in the state, leading her to the film office. She spent time learning about the state via the Colorado Film and Video Association website. “Before I moved here I was researching Colorado and trying to find out what the industry was, and I was on CFVA often; that was a huge site for me for information.”
While the film office is still available for a producer’s location questions, a focus in years past, that has become less important than building industry relationships. “Our primary focus is just talking to industry decision-makers, and bringing them in,” Ms. Grimshaw stated. “It’s more ‘big picture’ stuff than just locations.” For producers’ location-specific needs, the Commission web site features a list of Colorado’s experienced location scouts and managers.
Ms. Grimshaw’s job is building relationships, and discovering common goals. “Essentially,” she notes, “I’ve been getting on the horn talking to everybody that I’ve met through my experiences, saying ‘What do you have? What scripts do you have that would be appropriate to Colorado?’” The Commission is focused on bringing in productions in the five to fifteen million dollar range. Ms. Grimshaw is eager to add feature films to the jobs being created by the relocation of Universal Sports’ headquarters to Centennial, High Noon’s “Prospectors” series, and the recent Coors commercials. “After all, it's all about job creation,” she said. “My goal is to bring films to the state to build the industry in Colorado and create jobs for the talented crew base here.” She notes that that, thus far this fiscal year, $8.95M of film and television projects have been incentivized, compared with $1.4M last year. With the success of the new incentive package this year, the CINEMA (Colorado Innovators of New Entertainment, Media and Arts, a non-profit promoting the incentive) is gearing up for the next legislative session, with the aim of maintaining or expanding the package.
Ms. Grimshaw has been in Colorado only a short time, but was struck by the warm welcome and sense of community support she found. “I went to so many industry events. Maybe it was the holiday season, but every day there was something.”
Ms. Grimshaw continues meeting people active in the industry here, in addition to building and maintaining contacts in the production world on both coasts. She and Mr. Zuckerman are finding increased interest in Colorado and the new incentive program, receiving a number of scripts that could lead to productions within the state. She feels that the best way the community here can serve itself is by fostering that sense of community she noticed, meeting people, supporting group efforts such as CFVA and CINEMA, and understanding what the larger world needs when a production comes to Colorado.
Lauren Grimshaw is Deputy Film Commissioner for the State of Colorado. http://www.coloradofilm.org
Nelson Goforth is a veteran film lighting technician, long-time CFVA member, and Red Epic owner. He has worked on over 40 features, MOWs and TV series. He was the cinematographer, editor and co-director (with Kathryn Gould) of the short film noir Web of Lies, now playing on Vimeo - http://vimeo.com/55243307