The Town of Marana has embraced the film and television industry, but that is nothing new. Cameras have rolled in the Town for movies and shows since 1939, but now more than ever Marana is becoming a destination for film production. The Marana Film Office was created to help bring more of these productions to the Town, as well as make the process of filming in the Town easier.
The Marana Film Office was established in 2017 as part of the Town’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism.
“The Marana film office fulfills the goals of the Marana Strategic Plan and the Economic Development Strategic Plan in a number of ways,” said Laura Cortelyou who oversees the Marana Film Office as part of her role as Marana’s Tourism and Marketing Manager. “It helps to diversify Marana’s economic base, it supports high paying jobs that match local workforce’s skill sets, and it supports local visitation and tourism.”
Tourism in Marana was given a huge boost by the film industry. Places like Saguaro Vista Ranch, Wild Horse Ranch, and the White Stallion Ranch catered to high end clients. When movie productions came to Marana, most of the film’s producers, crew, and cast stayed at these boutique guest ranches and made Marana a vacation destination.
Television and film has had an economic impact on the region. According to the Tucson Film Office, filming in \southern Arizona generated $9.4 million in direct spending, 3,653 hotel room nights, and 6,000 job days for local cast and crew members.
A number of projects have recently filmed in Marana, including a nature documentary, a segment for a crime TV documentary, a Jeep promotional video, several independent film projects, and an episode of TLC’s “Four Weddings”.
The Marana Film Office assists with the permitting process for filming on Town of Marana property, as well as location scouting and finding accommodations within the Town for the cast and crew.
If the production needs to hire local crew and/or support services, the Marana Film Office can assist with that as well. Soon the Marana Film Office website will host a comprehensive public-facing crew list.
Marketing the Town is a significant part of the Marana Film Office. They are marketing the Town not only as a great place to film projects, but as a great place to bring film-related businesses to the Town.
On January 16, Modern Studios opened in Marana. This full-service production facility boasts 12,000 square feet in production and post-production amenities, and is geared toward the regional, national, and international TV commercial market, digital media, and music video productions. It is the largest production studio in Arizona and has the only Bolt high-speed cinebot camera in the state.
Marana Film Office was recently accepted as a member of the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI), joining 360 film office members worldwide. The Marana Chamber of Commerce has also created a Film Committee to support and collaborate with the Marana Film Office.
Working in collaboration with Tucson Film Office and the Arizona Film and Digital Media Program, the Marana Film Office is working hard to market Marana to both future productions and businesses. Several productions have scouted Marana, and on January 4 a locations tour was provided to raise awareness of the unique locations Marana has to offer.
The Town of Marana has a rich cinematic history, and the future of film in the community is bright as well.