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PHOTO COURTESY OF ANTHONY RILEY
Crew from Amsterdam-based production company, pixelheaven, placed stickers for the city of Barstow on pieces of their equipment. The company recently wrapped filming a music video in Barstow after finding the city through the Barstow Film Office's revamped website.

Website seeks to lure movie, music video productions to Barstow

BARSTOW • "Erin Brockovich," "Broken Arrow," "Courage Under Fire" and "Play It To The Bone" — these are a few movies with at least some scenes filmed near or in Barstow. The Barstow Film Office recently revamped its website in order to better capitalize on this economic resource.

FilmBarstow.com was formally introduced Monday to the City Council. Originally envisioned by Mayor Gomez, the site offers interested production companies a history of the Barstow area, high-resolution photographs of locations and buildings unique to the city, a link to obtain a permit from the Inland Empire Film Commission and contact information for representatives from the BFO.

“We are a film-friendly community,” said Anthony Riley, spokesman for the city of Barstow. “We felt we could really aggressively use the revitalization of the film website to give Barstow some kind of leverage in terms of capturing a greater share of the production opportunities for the area.”

Amsterdam-based production company pixelheaven was the first to shoot in Barstow after finding the city through the new site. The company spent $30,000 filming a music video in just three days — money injected into Barstow’s economy; places like fueling stations, hotels and restaurants for catering.

“They were so incredibly — I think they were just overwhelmed about the friendliness of the community, the vendors, our public safety units, the cooperation of the city,” Riley said.

The company pixelheaven scouted out locations weeks prior to shooting. Two goals of the new website are to accommodate fast turnaround times by streamlining the permit process in conjunction with the IEFC and highlighting available resources production companies typically seek out.

According to Riley, Barstow is always fighting amongst other municipalities for big feature films and projects, and they needed to become more competitive in their strategies, which also includes adopting Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts.

In late October, the city sponsored the 18th Annual COLA Awards in Pasadena. COLA, which stands for California On-Location Awards, salutes film location professionals, production companies and public employees. Riley said this year’s sponsorship was yet another way to gain recognition from the industry.

“It’s great to see that we’re getting in the game,” he said. “We’ve stacked our chips high and now it’s time to play some of them.”

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