Thursday, September 09, 2010

Another In DCVB’s Tradition of Region, State and Nationwide Initiatives!

The highest form of compliment is to see a culture you helped forge or with which you once had a part continue to thrive and grow after you’ve moved on.

Formation of the Triangle Film Commission isn’t what some may see as a power grab or the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB) losing sight of the provision in its General Assembly chartered legislation to promote “only Durham.”

Actually, this is just another example of the many ways that organization has often leveraged expertise to assist other communities, often with a hand up, while remaining fiercely focused on its role. hollywood-sign

DCVB, long ago officially credentialed and successful as both the official film commission and sports commission for Durham, has for many years encouraged other destination marketing organizations (DMOs) to organize their communities for film promotion.

Across the nation, film promotion is customarily handled by DMOs because it is primarily a means to generate visitor related economic development just as it is at the state level in North Carolina.  But many have preferred instead to rely solely on the state counterpart or to surrender the responsibility and opportunity.

Last year private individuals with Durham ties voiced a desire to DCVB to bring the surrounding dozen counties up to Durham’s level when it comes to film promotion.  They approached DCVB for assistance because it is a well known and successful film commission and because it already has in place a best practice inventory of film-related services and database of film location.

Hollywood producer and Durham native Thom Mount, who has long assisted and worked with DCVB, also understood, that the Bureau provides the wider effort the public umbrella as well as well-proven and audited systems of transparency, accountability and even-handedness that would give a wider effort instant credibility with other cities and counties.

Unfortunately, there have been one or two misuses of the term “commission” which by definition signals “official,” that got by the Secretary of State’s office.  For instance, had it been caught the more accurate term “association” would have been substituted for “commission” when several private individuals as sports enthusiasts adopted the term giving the misimpression they are official representatives of cities, towns or counties in an area or the credentialed commissions that already exist.

Film Commissions like DCVB are also credentialed by the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) requiring that it be officially endorsed and supported as the official film commission by the respective national, state, provincial or local government of an area.  Also mandatory is completion of an extensive program to become “official.”

The folks encouraging DCVB to backbone formation of a 13-county Triangle Film Commission are primarily enthusiasts about film as an art form, although one or two may also have a private agenda.  DCVB, already having earned AFCI credentials, will make sure everything about the wider Triangle effort is transparent with a level playing field.

The Triangle Film Commission is just the most recent in a long list of DCVB region, state or nationwide initiatives, a sample of which include:

  • Co-anchoring development of the Goodmon Award-winning, The Triangle-A Family of Communities,
  • Pioneering a region-wide initiative to encourage coherent local way finding signage,
  • Forging a region-wide agreement on criteria for multi-community mega-events,
  • Authoring a toolkit to help Destination Marketing Organizations nationwide and respective cultural-heritage stakeholders form closer relationships and,
  • Most recently a toolkit to orient tourism development authorities across the state.

But true to the restrictions of the legislation with which it was formed, DCVB achieves all of these broader initiatives without every diluting or diverting energy or resources from its primary mission as noted below:

General Assembly Session Laws 1985-969, 1991-665, 2001-480, 2002-36

...The Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau, created on January 17, 1989 in an interlocal agreement between Durham County and the City of Durham to meet provisions of Chapter 969 of the 1985 Session Laws, shall act as a tourism development authority, which is a public authority under the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act.

...The Bureau may use the funds remitted to it under this subsection only to promote travel, tourism, and conventions in Durham County.

...Definitions:..."Promote travel, tourism, and conventions" means to advertise or market an area or activity, to publish and distribute pamphlets and other materials, to conduct market research, and to engage in similar promotional activities that attract tourists, business travelers, or conventioneers to the area, and also includes administrative expenses incurred in engaging in these activities.

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