New director brings enthusiasm to post


April 20, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The Imperial County Film Commission, which brought in as much as $3 million in business locally last year, has a new executive director — El Centro native Allison Martin

"She was far and away the best applicant," said Nan Rebik, president of the Imperial County Arts Commission board of directors. "She's very excited, she's very up, she's very enthusiastic. I think she's going to do a good job."

Martin, 28, said acting has always been a passion for her and she loves public relations.

"I've always worked with the public and I like it," she said Friday. "I love acting, so it all kind of fits together."

Martin began working for the commission March 26 after working for the county as an HIV counselor with the Behavioral Health Services Department's alcohol and drug program. Before that she worked at the Imperial County Office of Education.


She has replaced Matt Lopez, the commission executive director for two years. Lopez left to serve as vice president of marketing and advertising for the Monterey Chamber of Commerce.

Martin praised Lopez for building the film commission's reputation.

The role of the Film Commission — a nonprofit organization — is to promote and market the Imperial Valley as a backdrop to the film industry for movies, commercials, videos and more.

Recent examples of filming that have occurred in the Valley include commercials by Nike, Cosmo Girl and Harley-Davidson. Sony is considering filming locally.

A film featuring World Wrestling Federation star The Rock, titled "Scorpion King," will be filmed in the Buttercup area of the local sand dunes sometime toward the end of the month or early May.

Two recent movies filmed in-part locally include, "Joy Ride," with Leelee Sobieski, due for release in September, and "The Salton Sea," with Val Kilmer.

Martin said though the filming of movies and commercials brought in $3 million to the Imperial Valley in fiscal 1999-2000, the commission gets its financial support from various local government agencies, memberships and private donations.

Memberships range from $25 to $20,000.

Future commission events include a "Spring into Stardom" fund-raiser June 22, to include a talent contest and dinner, in association with the Mostly Theatre Co.

Anyone interested in a film commission membership, including those waiting for their "big break," or any other information, are welcome to call Martin at 337-4155.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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