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City rep. working to boost local film industry

A local city representative is looking to boost the El Paso film industry with a pilot program that would offer incentives to filmmakers who create projects in the city.

City rep. Peter Svarzbein said he’s been working on this program for several years and now trying to get city council on board.

“It’s not just about supporting this community, but there’s a larger issue that we all are aware of, and that is how do we control our narrative and get a positive perspective about El Paso in the region,” Svarzbein said.

The Film Incubator Project would provide up to $30,000 for local projects created by El Pasoans, up to three projects could be funded.

Svarzbein said it is time to change the narrative of El Paso because there are too many films that have portrayed El Paso in a negative way.

“Local film makers with their authentic stories about our home, is a really great way that we can promote positive vision of El Paso,” Svarzbein said.

Another challenge is keeping local filmmakers and their movie projects in El Paso to help boost the eceonomy and attract more projects to the Borderland.

Many times El Paso loses out on film opportunities because of New Mexico’s competitive incentives.

“There are filmmakers involved with the industry of film here in El Paso that have to work in New Mexico so we should be doing everything that we can to keep them here,” Svarzbein said.

ABC-7 interviewed local filmmaker James Arrabito, who is currently in Los Angeles trying to get interest and funding for a film he is working on.

“It is so dificult to get funding in El Paso,” Arrabito said.

Arrabito said the film industry needs more support in the city.

“You do need that support to help you develop the film, get a crew on board to hire people, get the proper equipment and make the film a certain quality to reach a vast audience.”

Svarzbein said he wants to get this project in the upcoming city council budget.

“Last year, the mayor (Oscar Leeser) did not listen to any budget requests from any members of council.”

Council did approve more research to be done on the project. Svarzbein hopes to get a vote on it in the next month.

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