This is the first of a series of articles by and with members of the board of the Arizona Film & Media Coalition (AFMC). We hope this series will help you learn about the things we do. If you like what you read, please consider joining our cause:
Hello everyone, my name is John Stewart, I am the current President of the AFMC. For the past 30 years I have been employed in the multimedia industry. Currently I work as a Chief Lighting Technician and Key Grip for feature films, episodic television, national/international commercials. Additionally my career involves working as a broadcast technician for live sports and news.
Since my arrival to Arizona in 1992 I have been striving to obtain a stable and thriving business climate for the Film and Digital Media Industry. When the past film Bill sunset in 2010, I was extended an invitation to join the board of the AFMC as a representative of IATSE Local 336. The AFMC has been at the forefront of legislation and public relations impacting the future of the industry and I wanted to assist their efforts.
Currently, I am the President of the AFMC. For the past 8 years I have had the privilege of serving as an officer and Chair of several committees. It had been an honor to serve on the Board and as a representative for the Film and Digital Media Industry. I take great pride in giving back to the industry that has given me so much throughout my career.
The most pressing issue facing the Film and Digital Media Industry in Arizona is the loss of business to other states. Since the sunset of our film incentive bill in 2010, other states have have instituted aggressive pro-business programs to lure the production industry to their respective states. While once enjoying a thriving and growing business climate, Arizona has suffered by not remaining competitive. Throughout this difficult time the AFMC has attempted to pass legislation to level the playing field. The unique challenges of working with legislators and outside groups who are completely opposed to growing this once thriving industry has been a difficult hurdle that we continue striving for.
As the primary organization that represents the industry through legislation, education, and public relations, the AFMC has been hard at work attempting to enhance the economic vitality of Arizona. The political will to pass this desperately needed pro business legislation has proven to be a difficult journey. It is my belief that Arizona deserves its return to the new golden era of Film and Digital Media. With over 100 years of film history in Arizona, it is sad to see the loss of jobs and revenue as the industry continues to migrate towards other pro-business states.
The AFMC is actively working towards legislation that conservative, and achievable by sensible and incremental steps. While other states offer massive incentive packages to attract business, the political will to compete with them is a hard sell in this state. Our realistic goals are to level the playing field within our unique political climate. Due to the lack of a pro-business climate, Arizona no longer able to create and export our own stories and content to worldwide audiences.
The question I am asked most often is how can I help? One of the first places to start is by becoming a registered voter and actually engaging in the process at the polls. Find out which Legislative and Congressional Districts you reside in. Discover who represents you and their positions on the issues that affect you. Get to know them personally by emails, phone calls, and attending public events where they are attending. Support the industry that supports you and become informed with the issues and candidates that align with your interests. Support the AFMC today by contributing towards our efforts to expand the opportunities for Film and Digital Media in Arizona.
Arizona Film & Media Coalition