Film Industry Thriving in New Bedford

New Bedford is gaining a reputation as a film friendly city with multiple locations suitable for almost any type of film imaginable. In the past two years, the city has been the location for a segment of the PBS American Experience, a heavy metal musical video, several television shows and short feature films. One such film recently held its premiere in New Bedford. Homeland, filmed in On a Roll in downtown New Bedford.
The producers and director chose the film’s premiere as an opportunity to showcase short features made by local filmmakers. Called, “Building Bridges to the Homeland, an evening of short films from the South Coast.” the evening was the beginning of what Homeland’s director Don Burton describes as “building a bridge between creativity – making New Bedford a region-wide host for the arts, film and business.”
“The creative heart of New Bedford is beating strong,” said Burton. He and his team have founded Bridgethink.org, a collaboration of artists and other business people who realize the connection between New Bedford’s economic well being and its creative arts community. “Together, they’re building a vibrant city that is attracting visitors and new businesses even in these uncertain economic times. It’s no coincidence that these organizations have all come together in one place. The city’s revitalization has brought artists home and attracted new artists. It’s also allowed us to bring our film to the South Coast and to help pave the way for other filmmakers to do the same.”
And they are coming, thanks in part to the city’s partnership with the Massachusetts Film Commission to attract film location scouts. “New Bedford is doing everything right to attract film to the city,” according to Mary Choichois, director of Operations for the Commission. They respond quickly to requests for pictures highlighting New Bedford. They provide one-on-one tours for location scouts and they have a website that is easy to maneuver and provides a sense of all New Bedford has to offer.”
“New Bedford offers to production teams a wide array of visual opportunities including an active fishing port, scenic beaches, large parks as well as commercial main streets, historic tree-lined neighborhoods, a Civil War-era military fort and industrial mill buildings.” Said Mayor Scott W. Lang. “No other city in such close proximity to Boston and Providence has as much to offer as New Bedford.”
“We’ve had lots of scouts visit New Bedford ranging from feature films and documentaries to student films,” said Ann Marie Lopes, the city’s director of tourism. “New Bedford is an ideal backdrop for movies set in the 19th century to the present. We are film friendly and have the resources to provide almost anything a production needs including crew, props, talent, as well as caterers, make-up artists and costumers, to name just a few.”
“Even with the economic downturn that’s upon us, we’re still seeing positive developments. The number of film inquiries is one of these,” said Matthew A. Morrissey, executive director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council.
New Bedford is ready for its close up and, thanks to the efforts of the Massachusetts Film Commission and people like Don Burton; the city is well on its way.

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