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CNN Today

Showbiz Today Reports: States, Countries Vie for Hollywood's Attention

Aired February 23, 2001 - 2:42 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Time to pause from Washington and head out to Hollywood; why don't we do that?

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.

ALLEN: And the big story Laurin Sydney's watching: how to get your town in the movie spotlight, and a really nice movie about Judy Garland that you should stay home and watch.

WATERS: Laurin, it's all up to you, now.

LAURIN SYDNEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What a burden, but I will try to take care of that, Natalie and Lou. Thanks guys; good afternoon.

From small towns to major metropolitan areas, any place on the map that wants Hollywood's business actually has a representative in Los Angeles right now. They're at what's called Location Expo, and Paul Vercammen's in a prime location in the middle of it all, where you usually are, Paul.

How are you doing?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Me? I'm in the middle of nowhere. No, I'm not: look at this -- it's fake, I just wanted you to know that.

I am in the "Northern Plains and Rockies" exhibit, which included South Dakota and North Dakota and Montana and Wyoming and Idaho; and they're all saying, pick me -- put your movie in my backyard and bring all sorts of money to our area.

And joining me now is Michelle Falen (ph) of Wyoming.

OK, pitch me; I'm a big Hollywood producer, why should I make my film in your backyard?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because Wyoming has fantastic locations and we also offer a 10 percent production incentive to companies that come and film in Wyoming.

VERCAMMEN: And, of course, if you're going to shoot a Western or something of that nature, Wyoming suits you well. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It does; we have all sorts of locations -- actually, all five of these states offer similar locations; we have badlands, we have plains, we have mountains. So we come here to market our locations and to talk to the industry face-to-face.

VERCAMMEN: Great; I thank you so much for taking time out.

So as you can gather, if you can get Hollywood to come into town they're going to pour all sorts of money into your infrastructure.

How are you doing, there?

Folks are walking in -- they're going to get pitched today, and you're watching it live. Go around any corner and you can see other places pitching themselves. New Zealand, home of Middle Earth -- as you may know, "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy is being filmed down there, it will be wrapped up soon.

And also joining me, Ward Etley (ph); he's a Mississippian and he's also the president of the commission that put this whole thing together.

There's just a lot of dollars at stake here. Tell us about that.

WARD EMLING, PRESIDENT, ASSN. OF FILM COMM. INTL.: Well, you know, it's a huge -- billions and billions of dollars industry. And what -- this is our marketing -- our trade show, to show off all of our locations.

VERCAMMEN: And you celebrate little successes; for example, in Mississippi you recently had "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

EMLING: Right, which was a great success, and it was a film that shot on a lot of locations in Mississippi. I mean, they were in 10 counties, they were all over the place. And it's good to have a movie like that in -- certainly in the theaters when you've got this trade show going on because people are, you know, kind of interested in your place because of what they've just seen in the theaters.

VERCAMMEN: So talk about the beneficial spinoff effects. They set up in something like 10 counties -- "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" -- in Mississippi, and what happened from there?

EMLING: Well, we tracked them; I mean, they spent -- directly spent $5 1/2 million in Mississippi in the time that they were there. And that, you know, that doesn't include any kind of formulas and multipliers and all that kind of stuff that you would attribute to industry. But they were there -- it's exciting when they're in; and they improve towns and they improve cities, and people have a good time, and it was a great experience.

VERCAMMEN: Great; I thank you so much for taking time out.

EMLING: Great; thanks for being here.

VERCAMMEN: So, as you can gather from the Mississippi experience, and we walk over here and see some of the other states that have set up shop -- and other countries. Everybody, you know, from Iceland to Greenland to Utah to Ontario, Canada -- every region trying to suggest to these folks in Hollywood that they have what it takes, not only put on a film, but to do so inexpensively. And, of course, they want to reap all of the ancillary economic benefits of it, and I guess it's working pretty well.

Reporting live from Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen -- Laurin.

SYDNEY: Paul, you really get around, as always.

VERCAMMEN: I try to.

SYDNEY: And Monday -- thank, Paul -- Monday in our "Showbiz Today Reports" location, comic actress Rhea Perlman is back and sassy as ever in her brand new TV series. She'll be here to talk unabashedly about Kate Brasher.

That's next week, same time, same place, so please won't you join us?

I'm Laurin Sydney reporting from New York -- back to Natalie and Lou in Atlanta. And by the way, unfortunately we did not have to time you all about the Judy Garland movie that's airing Sunday and Monday on ABC, but it's wonderful.

ALLEN: That's good enough; all right, thanks Laurin.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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