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Houston Film Commission member shares insight into film industry

Houston film commissioner emphasizes importance of networking

Contributing Reporter

Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 02:02

Speaker shares insight into film industry

James Weems| The Houstonian

INSIDER’S PERSPECTIVE: Deputy Director of the Houston Film Commission Alfred Cervantes spoke to students about the financial side of filmmaking and emphasized the importance networking to get jobs in Texas.

A member of the Houston Film Commission came to Sam Houston State University on Wednesday to educate students about the financial and networking sides of filmmaking and how that affects the filming process.

Raven Films and the Department of Mass Communication hosted their second guest speaker of the spring semester.

Alfred Cervantes, Deputy Director of the Houston Film Commission, highlighted the growth of the Texas film industry, which is becoming a place of opportunity for students who want to enter the film business.

“Texas has the second most film commissions in the United States only behind California,”Cervantes said.

 He said for filmmakers in Texas this means there are many opportunities to apply for grants or fundraise to get a short or feature film produced.  Which is making Texas a hot spot for filmmakers in the industry and is making Texas a go to destination for all sorts of films. Students who attended the event left informed after Cervantes gave them insight to the financial side of the industry.

“He made me realize that there are so many opportunities out there for independent filmmakers in Texas” SHSU student Brittany Tanner said.

Texas has been forthcoming with the film industry to make productions in the state cheap, with tax breaks and low reservation costs of premium areas in major cities, for independent and commercial use. Filmmakers also don’t have buy expensive film permits in Texas, unlike what you have to do in other states like New York and California. This level of cooperation allows the state to gain from film companies who have invested in Texas.

Cervantes has worked on film crews ranging from “Reality Bites” to “Apollo 13”. He started his career in film as a freelancer for films that were being shot in the grater Houston area. After three years of freelance work, Cervantes got a job working for the Houston Film Commission in 1996 and has worked there for more than 17 years.

The role of the HFC is to provide information about locations and costs of using certain properties for filming in the greater Houston area. They are a non-profit organization that promotes the use of the Houston area for independent filmmaking or feature films. The HFC gives information on what locations are available for filming and how to book those locations for filmmaking.


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