This edition of IMAGINE contains our 2016 New England Production, Resource Location Guide. Thank you to everyone who participated. You have done your part to help us create the content and substance of our outreach that we proudly print reflecting the depth and breadth of our New England production industry.

Now IMAGINE posts this 411 online for 24/7/365 searchable viewing. Our special one-of-a-kind effort begins when we take thousands of our beautiful and bold printed copies to both NAB in Las Vegas and to AFCI’s Locations & Global Finance Show in the heart of LA’s media city of Burbank. There it will be distributed to decision making industry professionals from all over the world and executives from the studios, networks, agencies, and to producers and production scouts from the greater LA area and beyond.

This is a departure from our regular format, but so necessary as we make every effort to distribute this compilation of many components representing our region to giant consumers and readers outside our region with the sole intent of attracting them and their work to New England. This is an outreach that IMAGINE generates annually in behalf of our industry.

And, I’m proud to say, it never fails that the comments we get from states and other regions of the country attending these events and also vying for the same business we are, let me know that they wish they had a publication like IMAGINE. It’s true, IMAGINE is a unique, one-of-a-kind advocate – more than an industry magazine – IMAGINE represents a movement.

Watch us continue to evolve. As we celebrate our 18th Birthday this month, “Old enough to Vote.” We will celebrate all we’ve done, the amazing feats we’ve accomplished together and announce our going forward in this fast paced, ever changing world we exist in.

Our goals remain constant, though: to support measurable economic development for our region by developing and supporting the film, television and new media production industry, creating and maintaining good legislation for business incentives that attracts mega work to our region, and providing outreach and promotion for our production industry designed specifically to encourage projects coming here.

In so doing we get to feature stories about the people, projects, trends and technologies vital to all segments of our production community.

At NAB every year I visit as many of the New England technology/manufacturing driven companies that exhibit there. The list is long and includes giants like AVID, EditShare, BorisFX, 1 Beyond, Media Silo, Signiant, GenArts, Barbizon Light and Glidecam Industries just to name a few. Be sure to read Steve McGrath of HB Communications’ article How the Film Tax Credit Supports Technology & Innovation in Massachusetts in this issue. Something I’ve pondered over the years is does technology (much of it from our region) that facilitates filmmaking drive Hollywood movie making or in some cases, does Hollywood drive the technology?

One new technology I’ve been fascinated with for the last five or six years is the use of drones as camera platforms. All during that time I’ve watched the number and sizes of drone exhibits at NAB multiply. These huge exhibits are enclosed in a mesh see-through material so they don’t escape and create havoc in the hall. The drone aircraft models vary in size from less than a foot in diameter to five and six feet across.

This week I attended Rule Boston Camera’s Pub Night featuring expert drone pilot Maxwell Tubman (XM2 Cine) for a fact finding evening about the status of the drone as a camera platform for the 21st century. Clearly the drone is a better choice than putting a camera on aluminum vested pigeons for reconnaissance during both world wars. Aerial photography will vastly improve with the use of drones, but, I must say, the logistics, laws, drone design, safety and training and execution exhausts me just thinking about it. But, if you are up for it, it can be done. First get your pilot’s license, then learn how to fly a drone in all conditions, then learn all the laws and restrictions and then finally you can rent or buy a drone and camera from Rule. It is cutting edge technology; consult the professionals. The whole presentation is available for you to see at www.rule.com.

I will be meeting again with Max at NAB and will report the big story to you in next month’s edition along with everything else I find at NAB and AFCI’s Locations & Global Finance Show.

Currently three major Motion Pictures are in production around here. Two are set in the Boston area and although quite different in nature, relate to the tragic 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. PATRIOTS DAY directed by Peter Berg and produced by our own Dorothy Aufiero (THE FIGHTER, THE FINEST HOURS) for CBS Films stars Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monahan, John Goodman, Kevin Bacon and Erica McDermott. It’s an account of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis’s actions leading up to the bombings and the aftermath including the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists.

Also in Boston is Jake Gyllenhael’s STRONGER depicting how a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing helps the police track down the killers while struggling to recover from devastating trauma.

And on a lighter note though in a heavier dimension, Robert Redford’s THE DISCOVERY is on location in Newport, RI; his first return since THE GREAT GATSBY in 1974. In addition to Redford, the film stars Mara Rooney. It’s a love story set one year after the existence of the afterlife is scientifically verified. Rhode Island native Erika Hampson is co-producing.

So as you can see the industry is cooking with gas; everybody is working, more than five thousand individuals auditioned as extras for PATRIOTS DAY. Sets are under construction from the 183,000 square foot United Foods warehouse in Peabody, MA
where Mayor Bettencourt is yet another very happy community leader, to the tarmac and runways at Southfield, the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station. Scores of activities impacting business, skilled labor and talent, goods, products and services, the whole regions is abuzz.

Our legislators are taking notice and the industry as a whole is grateful. There have been a host of receptions and special meetings along with two very successful hearings on Beacon Hill demonstrating the effects of investment in the production community as having positive results. Among them were receptions for Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo and for Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante of Gloucester held in the beautiful Boston Flag Building offices of Engine Room Edit, a very good place to see how investing in our industry produces results.