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  • County launches new online film permit application

    Jan 24, 2019 | Read More News
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    filming in TucsonPima County Attractions and Tourism, in partnership with Film Tucson, launched a new online permitting system that allows filmmakers, location scouts and photographers who have interest in filming on County property to submit their applications. 

    Developed in-house by the County’s Information Technology Department with input from Film Tucson, this web-based system will get applications reviewed within hours or days from submittal. It’s also mobile friendly and compatible to work on most web browsers. 

    Companies and individuals interested in applying can find the link to the Commercial Filming/Still Photography Special Use Permit Application on Film Tucson’s permit page

    “The County-owned Tucson Mountain Park with its unparalleled Saguaro-lined roads, including Gates Pass, is one of our most in-demand locations,” said Shelli Hall, Director of Film Tucson. “This streamlined permit process will go a long way in meeting the needs of our film industry clients where time literally is money. We’re thrilled with Pima County’s responsiveness and their on-going commitment in partnering with us to keep production companies filming here.”

    Aside from the convenience factor for production companies who have interest in using Pima County as their backdrop, this service will keep the County up to date on opportunities to drive film revenue in Southern Arizona. 

    According to recent data from Visit Tucson, in December 2018, three film projects contributed about $370,000 to the local economy in hotel, food, car rental and other related expenses. To date this fiscal year, from July to December, film-related direct spending totals about $3.4 million.

    Tucson and Pima County have a storied movie tradition dating back to the early 1900s. Old Tucson, a Pima County owned property, has had more than 400 film and television projects, mostly Western-themed movies and commercials, filmed onsite since 1939. Dozens more films, from campy comedies like “Three Amigos” to oldies such as Sidney Poitier’s “Lilies of the Field” and recent blockbusters like “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” also were shot in and around Tucson. 

    “It’s a treat to see Pima County’s mountains and sunsets up on the big screen, but it’s also a great economic driver,” County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said. “Anything we can do to simplify the application process for filmmakers or location scouts we’re happy to do.”  

    The old application system was a static PDF that had to be completed manually and routed to the necessary departments. Depending on the nature of the request, it was not uncommon for approvals to take up to 14 days. The new application system is much more streamlined and shared across departments simultaneously, resulting in an improved response time.