Movie promo program in flux

By Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat June 28, 2013 07:49 am

The Tuolumne County Film Commission, already faced with county budget cuts, is losing its longtime executive director.

Jerry Day, the commission’s main staffer for a decade, said this week that he plans to resign from the position at the end of the year.

Day said he plans to relocate to the Bay Area. He said he made the decision before learning of county budget cuts. 

The county this year eliminated $45,000 in funding as part of broader money-saving moves. The Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau will take over commission operations, with Executive Director Nanci Sikes and Lisa Mayo handling those duties.

“We’re perfectly capable of doing this in house until some major film projects come our way,” Sikes said. “We cannot be Jerry Day, so we’ll just do the best we can.”

The Film Commission markets the county to potential filmmakers and production companies. In its annual report, Day said the commission is looking to bolster efforts in both areas.

Film projects can bring money to the county in multiple ways, with lodging, materials, wages for local workers, permits and more.

Tuolumne County has a rich film history, with around 200 films including “High Noon,” “Back to the Future III” and “Unforgiven” all shot in the county.

The county has also hosted many travel and historical features, as well as commercials, over the years.

Sikes would like the Visitors Bureau to add a part-time staff member to handle film promotion duties. However, budget decisions like that are still under consideration.

“We’re in transition,” she said. “We will not drop the ball on this. We will continue and we will adjust as needed.”