Tag Archives: films

CTN Animation Expo Comes to Burbank

Over the weekend of November 17-19, the CTN Animation Expo arrived at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airpot hotel, located on Hollywood Way. The expo, which turned eight years old this year, celebrates the arts and industry professionals in both traditional and digital animation fields. CTN, which stands for the Creative Talent Network began in 2006 and aimed to bridge the art community with creative professionals.

The expo spanned the Marriott Convention Center, as well as a large tent that we set up in the Marriott’s parking lot. Before the Expo kicked off, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held with members of City Council, CTN Expo’s founder Tina Price, and a representative from the California Assembly. The ribbon cutting ceremony acted as a visual display of Burbank’s support for the creative arts here in the media capital of the world.

After the ceremony, the Expo opened its doors to thousands of anxiously waiting creative attendees. While the CTN Expo may sound like a great time to some, for others, this event also provided the opportunity to numerous impromptu job interviews in the creatives arts field.

The CTN Expo’s popularity has steadily been growing with each passing year. In its first opening in 2009, the Expo saw over 2,800 attendees. This year, the Expo was expected to attract more than 8,000 people from around the world.

The event had many special engagements, including:

  • Inspiring Kick-Off with Legendary Animator Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant.
  • Appearance by Pixar Animation Studios Director Pete Docter.
  • Internationally renowned artists Jordi Lafabre, Frank Pe and Tomer Hanuka.
  • Special mentions to the women of animation with Chiara Benedetti, Genevieve Godbout, Iris Campiet and Elle Michalka.
  • Animation Legends Aaron Blaise, Eric Goldberg, Andreas Deja and Burny Mattinson in attendance.
  • Creators from Blizzard Entertainment, Bluesky Studios, The Walt Disney Company, Reel FX, ILM, Nickelodeon, Pixar, Sony, and more.

To learn more about the CTN Expo, you can visit their official website here.

Governor Signs Historic Deal for Film Tax Credit Extension

After months of intensive negotiations, Governor Jerry Brown joined Assemblymembers Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) and Raul Bocanegra in taking bold action to protect jobs and families across the Golden State.  At a ceremony this morning at TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, and with one swipe of his pen, the Governor signed AB 1839, the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act of 2014.

Burbank Assemblyman Mike Gatto

Burbank Assemblyman Mike Gatto

The legislation, first introduced by Bocanegra and Gatto in January, was co-authored by more than sixty-five other legislators, and received bipartisan support from elected officials and below-the-line workers from every region of California.  It significantly expands and improves the state’s film tax incentive program to keep production jobs in California, including a five year program extension, an increase in the program’s budget allocation to $330 million annually, and the creation of a new competitive jobs rating system to determine which projects will receive the credits.

AB 1839 will increase the state’s film and television tax credit to $330 million a year for five years beginning with fiscal year 2015-16 and replace the current flawed and arbitrary lottery system with a more competitive and accountable system that ranks applicants according to net new jobs created and overall positive economic impacts for the entire state.

“I’ve heard from so many people during my time in office, who have told me about their families being torn apart because of production fleeing the state, and how this program will give stability to families, certainty to small businesses, and will help our communities thrive,” said Gatto.  “I am grateful for all the help from those involved in this legislation, particularly my co-author Assembly Bocanegra, Governor Brown, Speaker Atkins, Senate Pro Tem De León, and all of the hardworking people who stood up for middle-class jobs.”

“This is a home run for the film and television industry in California.  Reaching this deal has been a long and difficult process, and I’m proud to have worked in tandem with my joint author Assemblymember Mike Gatto as we were able to deliver for our constituents,” said Assemblymember Bocanegra.  “I’d like to thank the Governor, Speaker Atkins and Senate leadership for their help and leadership in reaching this historic agreement.  This expanded and improved program will go a long way towards making California more competitive and ultimately will protect and create tens of thousands of jobs for hard working Californians.”

“Today, we remind the world that the Golden State is the home of the silver screen,” said Governor Brown. “This bill helps thousands of Californians – from stage hands and set designers to electricians and delivery drivers.”

AB 1839 was also backed by a broad coalition of leaders representing labor and the film and television industry.

“The MPAA and the studios we represent appreciate the Governor’s leadership in growing California’s motion picture and television incentive to bring good middle class jobs to the state, and we thank him for his recognition of the importance of film and TV production to the vitality of California’s economy,” said Motion Picture Association of America Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd.

“With the Governor’s signature on AB 1839 today, we ensure that film and television production will continue to be a wellspring of middle-class jobs that fuel our economy and boost our communities. California’s unions are proud to stand with the Governor in support of our state’s iconic film and television industry and the hundreds of thousands of good California jobs it sustains,” said California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski.

“Over the last 20 years, our California has lost much of its film and television production work, and with it the solid technical and creative jobs that our industry provides. The legislation is a catalyst to grow those positions for the thousands of current and future crew members who want to work here and for the myriad small businesses that supply and support our industry every day,” said Warner Bros. Pictures President of Worldwide Physical Production Steve Papazian.

The legislation received broad support from both republican and democratic lawmakers.

California’s film and television industry has faced increasing competition in recent years from subsidies by other states and countries.  Since its creation in 2009, the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act prevented as many as 51,000 well-paying jobs from leaving the state, and helped generate $4.5 billion in economic activity.  Despite the program’s success, figures from the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics show that from 2004-2012, California lost more than 16,000 film- and television-industry jobs, resulting in more than $1.5 billion in lost wages and economic activity.

Provisions of AB 1839 include:

1. Extends the program for five additional years;

2. Lifts the per-film budget cap so that all big-ticket films may apply, but only qualified expenditures of up to $100 million will be eligible for credit;

3. Lifts the per-film cap so that all independent films may apply, but only qualified expenditures of up to $10 million will be eligible for the credit;

4. Allows all, new, one-hour television series, regardless of where they air, to be eligible to apply for the program;

5. Stimulates TV series production by allowing pilots shows to apply for the credit;

6. Creates certainty by guaranteeing that a returning or renewed television series, or a new television series picked up from a pilot made in California have priority in one credit allocation each fiscal year;

7. Offers a 5% increase in the tax credit for filming outside of the Los Angeles Zone;

8. Offers a 25% credit for television shows that relocate to California within the first year of production;

9. Offers an additional 5% increase in the tax credit for costs related to music scoring and music-track recording;

10. Offers a 25% tax credit to films in the program that spend $10 million in California or commit 75% of qualified expenditures related to visual effects in California;

11. Ensures that more jobs are created in California by modifying the requirement that 75% of the production days occur in California to 75% of the principal-photography jobs occur in California;

12. Makes the new incentive program effective immediately.

Sudden Twist of Fate Becomes a Fulfillment of Dreams

By Juanita Adame

Call it fate or coincidence.

But, whatever it was that brought a University of Miami graduate to Los Angeles and turned him into an award winning film director and classically trained opera singer was probably a mix of both.

Nunzio Fazio (Photo Contributed)

Born to Italian parents, Nunzio Fazio said that during college, his goals were more about law school and business, and less about acting and film-making.”It was kind of like well, I just stumbled into this,” Fazio said in his soft spoken voice and gleaming white smile.

So, how did it happen?

“Well, during my sophomore year in college I was in a band and thought it’d be a good idea to get us some gigs touring the country,” he said.  His vision however, didn’t go as planned. “Two of the guys didn’t wanna go because they were married,” he said.

Somewhat disappointed, Fazio said he decided not to let it bring him down. “There were auditions for a few theatrical plays, I was taking improv classes and figured- why not?”

To his surprise, Fazio was not just cast for one, but each and every play he auditioned for. He realized he had discovered a love for theatre and ultimately changed his major to acting. During this same time, Fazio somehow managed to cross paths with an esteemed vocal artist named Gina Maretta.

Maretta had a track record of being one of the best. Her student clientele included everyone from: Latin pop sensation, Gloria Estefan to Journey front man, Steve Perry.  Fazio soon became a part of that list and began training with Maretta. He said she taught him everything there was to know about singing classical Opera.

He calls this experience one of the most extraordinary gifts he received. “She taught me so much, I mean how to get through a concert and how to sing when you are too tired,” he said. “Those are some techniques I learned and will cherish about Gina forever.”

Nunzio Fazio playing Jerry at the Sands Hotel for the film Millie and Jerry.   (Photo Contributed)

After graduating from the University of Miami, Fazio said his life changed yet again. “I took a test, got into the Director’s Guild,” he said. “That was my ticket out of Miami and I took it.”

Fifteen years later, Fazio still calls Los Angeles home. He has directed a number of films including the award winning: “Kenmore Ave” and “From the Midst of Pain.” He has produced several others including “Kissing Strangers” and the ABC specials:  “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “Sleeping Beauty.”  His films have played at the Cannes, Sundance and Toronto film festivals.  Fazio has won several awards including: Best Director, Best Documentary and Best Social Commentary.

His vocal talent has been compared to that of the ‘Three Tenors’ and he said he is greatly inspired by the 1920’s opera great, Enrico Caruso.  “It is such a great feeling when your talent gets recognized,” he said. “I enjoy singing so much.”

Fazio is currently working a project called, Lone Star Hit Men,  “It’s kind of like Goodfellas in Texas,” he said.He said he loves making movies and singing opera. For him, moving to Los Angeles was a risk, but he is glad he took it.

You just really have to do it,” he said. “Take the gamble and leave home, whether to Los Angeles or New York.  Go somewhere where, whatever it is you want to do, is the normal way of life.”