Film crews boost business, market city

newsletter-110-4NEW BEDFORD — A renewed interest in the city from film crews is helping to better market it in the regional and national markets.
In April, Spike TV finished shooting an episode of the reality show “Bar Rescue” in the South End, bringing in new business and attention.
“It’s definitely been a successful experience,” said Dagny Ashley, the city’s director of tourism and marketing. “Once people realize New Bedford was filmed in they’ll want to check it out.”
The 35-member crew stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, hired local contractors, shopped and ate at local businesses, spending more than $75,000 in the area, she said, aside from personal expenses.
“It was a wonderful piece of business to have. It brought excitement to New Bedford,” said Shelly Perry, director of sales at the hotel.
The show also helped revitalized a local bar in an episode that is scheduled to be aired in its third season. Libads Bar and Grille, now Libads Seaside Tavern had its menu, decor and business plan revamped through the show and will help market New Bedford to the rest of the country.
“Films are important to tourism,” Ashley said. “They are good for marketing the city as a destination.”
While working on launching a new “Destination New Bedford” website, Ashley is also fleshing out the little-known film department she oversees. She said “Film New Bedford” would be integrated into the new travel site with information pertinent to people interested in shooting films in the city.
“We get requests. It’s just whether a production company chooses us as a destination,” Ashley said.
Massachusetts offers a production tax incentive that draws crews to the state and the city is looking to capitalize on it, Ashley said. She is planning a training session led by the state’s film office to figure out what production teams typically look for and how the city could work best with them.
The city has received a lot of interest lately, Ashley said. Last week a PBS film was shot in the Nathan and Polly Johnson House and a crew is looking to shoot a documentary on “Moby-Dick” for French and German television.
Perry said they have had prior experience housing film crews here, from “The Deadliest Catch” to historical films about New Bedford’s fishing port.
“We hope more film crews come here,” she said. “This brings more people to New Bedford.”
Source: The Standard Times
By Auditi Guha
May 05, 2013 12:00 AM
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