by Lorie Lewis Ham
Many people may not realize how much talent and creativity are in this Valley. KRL has covered theatre and music from the beginning, but only now and then have we written about the local film industry. Our hope is to start covering more local film, and to start that off we chatted this week with Jeff Meacham about the Fresno Filmmakers Alliance. Jeff is the Administrator of the FFA Mixers.
KRL: What exactly is FFA? What does FFA do?
JM: FFA is Fresno Filmmakers Alliance which creates a face to face social networking environment for local people interested in working in the entertainment industry and attracting new productions to Fresno, through mixers and an internet presence.
KRL: Do you have special film related events?
JM: In addition to a monthly mixer, we promote entertainment related events, such as, film premieres, actor casting opportunities, crew job hiring meetings, etc…
KRL: When was it created and what inspired it?
JM: The FFA started in 2008 with a $5,000 donation as a joint project of the Fresno Film Commission, Creative Fresno, and Entandem Productions, a local production company. The leadership consisted of a few people from within these groups and eventually settled to Bryan Harley, Vince Cosentino, and then Fresno Film Commissioner Ray Arthur.
The $5,000 donation from Universal Studios, was paid in lieu of a location fee for shooting Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at the Chandler Airport in Fresno. Unfortunately, our scenes wound up on the editing room floor, but the production dropped $280,000 into the local economy.
The mixers were one of several activities which became the most successful, started by and produced by Vince Cosentino. Bryan Harley continues to maintain the website.
KRL: How many people are members?
JM: There are around 1,200 members currently on the website.
KRL: Can you tell us about the mixers? Who can go, what are they like, and what is their purpose?
JM: The FFA Mixers create a face to face social networking environment for local people interested in working in the entertainment industry and attracting new productions to Fresno. We celebrate and acknowledge actor’s, filmmaker’s, and any entertainer’s accomplishments. Each month we feature, honor, and/or advertise a company or person that contributes to the entertainment industry.
The FFA Mixers are currently on the first Thursday of every month at:
Ginza’s Bistro & Lounge
7845 N. Palm Ave. Suite 101
Fresno, CA 93711
KRL: Is there a big film industry in Fresno?
JM: Yes, Fresno is a very active film community with many productions every month having a range of budgets and production values. In addition, people come from Los Angeles and the Bay Area to use Fresno as one of their production locations.
KRL: What is your involvement in the film industry?
JM: I’m an actor/producer involved in several productions at any given time both in local and Los Angeles projects.
KRL: What are the website and social media connections?
KRL: Is there anything else you would like to add?
JM: The FFA Mixer is a lot of fun whether you are an entertainment professional or an amateur that would like to go pro.
The next mixer is on September 1.
You can find more other entertainment articles, in our Arts & Entertainment section.