It's a new year -- and, maybe, a new day for the local film industry.
At least that's the view from the Nevada Film Office.
NFO director Charles Geocaris reports that the agency has "been getting a lot more calls, volumewise," from out-of-state filmmakers interested in bringing productions to the Silver State, marking a definite change from 2011's lineup of "reality and TV work," Geocaris notes.
One positive sign: the dueling-magicians comedy "Burt Wonderstone," starring Steve Carell and Jim Carrey, which is scheduled to arrive next week.
Initially, the New Line Cinema production only planned a couple of days of Las Vegas location work, Geocaris notes. Now, however, he expects the production to shoot at least five days here.
Add interest from a variety of independent productions and "we're seeing a little bit of things changing," according to Geocaris.
In part, that's because fee-free film permits, limited red tape and "great cooperation" from local agencies make the filmmaking process easier for productions, he explains.
"One of the things we hear from producers" working elsewhere is "the process is so hard," adds assistant director Ed Harran.
Besides, other locations don't have what Nevada has: Las Vegas.
Neon Nirvana remains a visually vibrant setting that features and writers want to explore, Geocaris says. "It's a good character to have."
As a result, he predicts, "if this is what is going to be the new trend, we will see more and more projects -- and bigger projects" in 2012.
Local motion: Nevada-based filmmakers, meanwhile, aren't waiting for outsiders to put them to work.
The Nevada Film Alliance, for example, has launched registration for its Nevada Film Project competition, which will focus on production of one 100-page script, featuring the same 10 characters -- by 10 separate production teams -- on location in the Silver State.
In addition to showcasing Nevada locations and filmmaking talent, the project gives that talent "the chance to make a feature" -- and audiences the chance to see "a fun presentation" offering "10 different takes on the same script," according to project developer (and Las Vegas-based filmmaker) Marko Sakren .
Registration for the competition begins today at www.nevadafilmproject. com and www.withoutabox.com; registration ends Feb. 7. Winning participants will be announced Feb. 28, with production scheduled to take place April 1-30, Sakren reports.
Another Las Vegas-based filmmaker, cult favorite Albert Pyun, plans final test shoots this week as he gears up for next week's production start on "Cyborg: Rise of the Slingers," a "loose follow-up" that "expands on the universe" created in the 1989 original. Two cast members from that production, Terrie Batson and Vincent Klyn, are expected to join Michael Pare and Sasha Mitchell in the sequel, Pyun notes.
Quick takes: Also on this week's production itinerary, Dream Vision Studios hosts additional production -- complete with live lions -- for TV commercials touting Kiss' upcoming Monster Mini-Golf, which is scheduled to open March 15. Dream Vision's art and prop department is designing and building the attraction's entrance, 18-hole course, facade and interior, reports Dream Vision President Phyllis Carreon-Taie.
And filmmaker Kevin Silva's still on track to shoot the documentary "Luck Be a Lady," keyed to Valentine's Day, focusing on couples tying the knot in Las Vegas. If you're interested in participating in the February-March shoot, email Silva at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carol Cling's Shooting Stars column appears Mondays. Contact her at (702) 383-0272 or ccling@reviewjournal. com.