New Film Commissioner For Fresno Has Deep Roots In the Film Industry

The Economic Development Department is pleased to announce that a new Film Commissioner has been hired for the City.

Ray Arthur, currently the Regional Film Commission Director and the first Executive Director of the newly formed Ridgecrest Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, will begin his duties as Film Commissioner for the City of Fresno on January 16, 2007.

As Film Commissioner, Arthur will promote filming opportunities specific to the City of Fresno including the unique scenery, diversity of locations and cultures as well as the lower cost of doing business locally. The economic benefits of the Film Commission will be realized as jobs are created when local crews and talent are hired and goods and services are rented or purchased during their productions.
Interim Economic Development Director Scott Johnson stated, "In Ray Arthur we have a proven commodity who started a film commission from the ground up, has been very successful in doing it, understands the industry, is well respected by the industry, and is looking for a new challenge … all factors fit this hire.”

The City will work with the Fresno County Film Commission to streamline the permit process for those looking to film documentary and commercial productions in the City and throughout the County.

During Arthur's tenure as RACVB Director and RRFC Film Commissioner, local revenue from both film and tourism grew dramatically. In 1995, Death Valley was designated as a National Park and Ridgecrest's annual disposable income from tourism jumped from $4 million to just under $30 million dollars (estimate). And, while film industry "runaway production" has created negative growth in recent years, RRFC estimates show $57.3 million in film revenue since the Ridgecrest Film Commission was created in 1992.

Major feature films shot in the Ridgecrest area for which Arthur's office was responsible include Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes, Holes, Hidalgo, Terminal Velocity, Jurassic Park, Wayne's World 2, Dinosaur and Hulk, in addition to dozens of TV shows, music videos and over 1,000 commercials.
Arthur is also the Chairperson of the Film Liaisons in California Statewide (FLICS), an organization of 44 film commissions throughout the State whose mission is to attract and retain film production in California. In that position, he works closely with the California Film Commission (CFC). Coincidentally, earlier this year, Fresno Mayor Alan Autry was appointed to the CFC Board of Directors by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Mayor Autry stated, “For Fresno, the Film Commissioner is not so much about movie making as it is about job creation, diversifying our economy and establishing a foothold in a multibillion dollar industry. We feel very fortunate to have Ray Arthur leading us into that new frontier.”

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