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Posted on: October 13, 2022

SPOTLIGHT: ‘Film Friendly’ makes Edmond a place for movie magic to happen

OK Logo Film FriendlySitting in the theatre, watching heroes on the screen doing heroic things, films can take on a magical quality.

But the fact is, creating that magic takes a lot of hard work, organization, and support behind the scenes.

And while it may not show in the credits, the City of Edmond has taken a proactive path to be a part of the movie industry, opening doors to myriad opportunities and potential financial benefits.

In September 2021, the City completed the requirements to become one of 25 municipalities in Oklahoma to earn a “Film Friendly” certification from the Oklahoma Film + Music Office (OF+MO). To earn that certification, the City committed to being prepared to support requests from production teams.

“As a ‘Film Friendly’ city, Edmond is letting the movie industry know that we are prepared to be an active partner in their production,” said Sarah London, the Special Events Coordinator for the City of Edmond and official community film liaison. “Oftentimes, movies will look for locations or settings and find places are not prepared or organized, and that either makes it hard to commit to a location or adds to the work to get a production in your city.”

“Now, because we did the work and have the toolkit in place to earn our certification, Edmond is able to showcase all that it has to offer production teams, and we have processes in place and information readily available that makes choosing Edmond as a location easy and appealing.”

To earn certification, the City completed a three-step process:

  1. It identified and designated a community film liaison to represent the City and coordinate its preparations and efforts.
  2. It created an official community film permit, outlining important information like size of production, insurance coverage, and more.
  3. It put together a library of photos that production companies can use to scout possible locations for shots.

Sounds simple enough, but getting it put together required support from City and community leadership and drawing on the experience of past film productions in the area, as well as guidance from the OF+MO.

“We’re so proud the City of Edmond has taken the steps to become a certified ‘film friendly’ community in Oklahoma, signaling to the film and television industry they are open and ready for business,” said Oklahoma Film + Music Office Outreach & Production Manager Yousef Kazemi. “The Oklahoma Film Friendly Community Program is designed to leave permanent infrastructure in place for years to come, so certified communities like Edmond can best market themselves to the state’s film and television industry as well as support production within their city.

“Becoming certified ‘film friendly’ demonstrates that the community has pro-actively prepared and is ready to engage the film and television industry, further positioning themselves to optimally reap the benefits of production through the hiring of local talent and workforce, the spending of money at local businesses and attractions, the booking of hotel nights and other accommodations, and so much more.”

Of course, a big part of working toward certification is the benefit to Edmond. According to the OF+MO, in fiscal year 2021, the film industry created more than 11,000 jobs and over that period the 32 film and television productions that utilized the state’s incentive program created more than $170 million in direct fiscal impact.

“To be welcoming to new visitors – which includes producers and actors across the country – Edmond makes it easy for them to come here and create quality productions,” said Jennifer Seaton, Director of Tourism for Visit Edmond. “It means more people enjoying Edmond, so they will come back and experience all that we have to offer. It makes us more of a ‘destination’ and exposes us to a wider more diverse audience.”

Edmond has welcomed many recent film productions, including "Dotty and Soul," "A Country Romance," "Deadly Misconduct," "Family Camp," and the Lionsgate theatrical release "American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story." And now, has the infrastructure in place to welcome even more.

“We have seen the great benefit of working closely with movie productions in our city and want to ensure that everyone in the future knows that Edmond is ready,” London said.

For more information on filming in the City of Edmond, visit edmondok.gov/filming

For more information on the OF+MO’s Oklahoma Film Friendly Community program including a list of certified film friendly communities, visit okfilmmusic.org/filmfriendly.

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