- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 30, 2003

The District and the film industry are looking for homes and businesses to serve as backdrops in commercials, television shows and movies.

City officials are creating a directory of properties through which filmmakers can sift to find the perfect location for a shoot.

The Celluloid City Directory will help filmmakers see photos of properties available, said Crystal Palmer, director of the D.C. Office of Motion Picture and Television Development.

More production crews want to shoot in parts of the city other than the familiar tourist destinations. The directory will list properties available, and include detailed information about the site and contact information.

The more comprehensive the directory is, the more “film-friendly we appear,” Ms. Palmer said.

“[The directory] will be a great boost for us,” she said. “It’s a very competitive business.”

The directory will be available at the District’s film office and online by the spring.

“We’re going to use it as an active marketing tool,” said Chris Bender, a spokesman for the D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. “We want to market the city as a big film location.”

The D.C. film office is calling on residents and business owners who want to participate and has started a grass-roots effort to get out the word about the directory. The response has been positive, Ms. Palmer said.

Fliers were distributed at the Citizen Summit in mid-November, which had nearly 3,000 D.C. residents at the Washington Convention Center, as well as smaller community meetings, Mr. Bender said. A public service announcement will begin airing on the District’s Cable Channel 16 this month.

Agency recommended

The Maryland Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts has recommended GKV Communications to handle its one-year advertising contract. The decision still needs final approval from the Board of Public Works next month.

The Baltimore-based agency competed against five other contenders for the estimated $5.5 million account, including the Campbell Group and Euro RSCG Brann.

GKV teamed up with the Canton Group in Baltimore and Carol Hirschburg Consulting in Owings Mills to develop a strategy for the state agency, which is part of the Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED).

“It’s a prestigious account,” said Roger Gray, GKV president and chief executive. “It’s a feather in our cap.”

The ad agency will create and implement a campaign for 2004. Mr. Gray hopes to have something on the air by the end of the first quarter.

Mr. Gray says the length of the contract is a challenge. In the past DBED, issued a multiyear contract but scrapped that idea this year because of budget concerns.

Many agencies didn’t participate in the review because of the short contract length.

“It makes it more difficult,” Mr. Gray said. “We’re starting a relationship and developing a 2004 marketing campaign. By the middle of the year, there will be another [request for proposal] process.”

Mr. Gray hopes to retain the account beyond 2004.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884.Advertising & Marketingappears every other Monday.

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