From the Director's Chair

directors chair

Welcome to the Director's Chair! Arizona Film & Digital Media Director Matthew Earl Jones shares thoughts, industry news, and highlights from productions to media reports focused on Arizona's film and digital media industries. 

Local DP HighlightedBritish Cinematographer

Congratulations to Arizona DP and Director Jason Ryan (IMDb) with Psychicflying Monkey Productions for coverage in the British Cinematographer's Focus On: Lenses Guide highlighting work on his latest music video "Fishing for Love"! The production was filmed entirely in Arizona (Tempe/Mesa (The Monastery Bar and Grill) with local musicians, crew, cast, and support services. Keep up the good work! 

Read the article here
Watch Fishing for Love      

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Hollywood is Coming to Arizona : YC hosts AZ State’s Film & TV Production Assistant certificateYavapai College

people filming in church

Photo: Mysteries of the Heart film production shot in Prescott

April 19, 2023

Arizona’s new film production tax credit continues to draw motion picture crews to the state, and community colleges have partnered with the state film commission to offer a program that provides local jobs and qualified personnel when they get here. Yavapai College’s School of Film & Media Arts is offering a free Film and Television Production Assistant (PA) certification program, Monday-Friday, April 24 – 28, on the Prescott Campus.
READ more

Southwest Film Expo poster

Southwest Film ExpoApril 6, 2023

Southwest Film Expo
April 6, 2023
Peoria Center for the Performing Arts
Tickets:$40 Buy Tickets
For ADA seating please call the Box Office at (623)815-7930.

The Southwest Film Expo will showcase the best in Arizona film-making, from the past to the present. The goal is to celebrate Arizona’s rich film history while advancing increased diversity and the impact of minorities on the present and future of Arizona film. The Southwest Film Expo will present its first Michael Blake (academy award screenwriter-Dances With Wolves) Western Cinema Excellence Award and will feature speakers and panelists leading the industry. Co-created by Metacom Films and US Energy, which are Native owned and operated, along with the City of Peoria as a foundational sponsor.

Impact Cinema: The global film industry has seen a greater demand for impactful stories, diverse creators, and original content. The Southwest Film Expo’s ‘ImpACT Cinema’ lens is designed to reflect films that matter. This event will allow industry professionals to exchange ideas, reflect on the current film landscapes, ask questions, engage in constructive conversations, and focus on the values aligned with a diverse film industry, with content that speaks across all audiences. Impact x Cinema = ACTion.

More information

AZ Industry EventAVID World Vision Tour 2023

Join AvidALT Systems, and special guests Lori Jane ColemanACE, and Bobbi Banks for the Vision Tour 2023 to see how Avid’s latest storytelling solutions are giving audio and video post-production teams worldwide more creative capabilities than ever before—and how you have the power to do the same.Join us in Mesa, AZ at The Sidney Poitier New American Film School at ASU's state-of-the-art new Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center to try new workflows, speak with experts, and hear from our special keynote speakers.What you’ll see on the tour:

  • Meet film editor and author Lori Jane ColemanACE (Covert Affairs, Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, The Deliberate Stranger) and sound editor Bobbi Banks (The Batman, Chevalier, Coming 2 America, Dolemite Is My Name)
  • Discover Avid NEXIS | EDGE—our solution for collaborative remote video editing from anywhere. See how realistic over-the-shoulder collaboration through the game-changing Media Composer with SRT enables your remote teams to feel like they’re editing together in the studio
  • Try out the new Avid | Edit On Demand, the cloud-based post-production solution that can be deployed and scaled on demand
  • Find out what’s new in Pro Tools and discover new interoperability with Media Composer
  • Get the latest on immersive audio workflows that are transforming the way we create and experience sound
  • Collect fun swag! Win prizes, including Media Composer and Pro Tools Artist subscriptions!
  • Enjoy delicious snacks and refreshments on us!

When:Friday, March 17, 202310:00 am – 4:00 pm MSTWhere:The Sidney Poitier New American Film SchoolMedia and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center50 N Centennial WayMesa, AZ 85201Special Guest:GenelecSponsored by:Genelec

Prescott’s Streets, Businesses Serve As Sets For First In Series Of Mystery

Film is part of state’s effort to rebuild Arizona’s movie industry

people standing in front of building

During filming at the First Congregational Church on Gurley Street in downtown Prescott Friday, March 3, 2023, Arizona Film Commissioner Matthew Earl Jones, right, meets with representatives of the “Mysteries of the Heart” movie. Those involved with the movie include Nicely Entertainment Production Executive Dave Hickey, front left, and CEO Vanessa Shapiro, front center. Also meeting with Jones were Line Producer Rochelle Savory and Jon Wright of Maven Production Services, left, and Helen Stephenson, director of Film and Media Arts at Yavapai College, right back row. (Cindy Barks/Courier)

In what is expected to be among the first movies to benefit from Arizona’s newly restored film tax incentives, a cast and crew arrived in Prescott last month to shoot scenes on the picturesque downtown streets, in local businesses, and in a downtown church.

“Mysteries of the Heart,” a faith-based movie that depicts a young woman dealing with real-life issues, began filming in Prescott on Feb. 23 and was set to wrap up on March 7.

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Mescal Movie Set could become a filming hubSan Pedro Valley News Sun

Mescal Movie Set could become a filming hub
By Dana Cole [email protected]
Dec 28, 2022 

New Arizona film tax incentives that are going into effect in January have created an increased interest in filming in Arizona.

Read more

New Arizona tax incentives for filmmakers set to beginFox 10 Phoenix

New Arizona tax incentives for filmmakers set to begin

Posted December 16, 2022

Arizona is making a pitch to get back in the movie business, and state officials are hoping to entice filmmakers with tax incentives that will take effect in 2023. FOX 10's Brian Webb reports.


‘ZONAWOOD’ —The future of movie and TV filming in ArizonaKJAZZ 91.5 FM / NPR

KJAZZ (91.7 FM) Weekend Host Tom Maxedon interviews Director Matthew Earl Jones on the future of film and digital media in Arizona. 

‘ZONAWOOD’ —The future of movie and TV filming in Arizona
By Tom Maxedon

December 9, 2022

Arizona has a rich history of film and TV production from iconic westerns to famous horror movies — and even music videos. New tax incentives set to kick in next year promise to help expand on the history of filming in Arizona by securing the future of the state as a destination for the movie and TV industry outside of LA. More - LISTEN  | READ


Could Bullhead City become the next Hollywood? FOX 5 / Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - New tax breaks in Arizona for film productions go into effect in January and a state agency, Arizona Film and Digital Media, is pushing the entire state as a film destination, a cheaper option than neighboring California. Tuesday, their focus was Bullhead City. Read More.

Opportunities abound as Arizona promotes film-friendly climateMohave Valley Daily News

By BILL McMILLEN The Daily News, Dec 07, 2022 2:00 AM

Ramsay Wharton

(Ramsay Wharton, program manager for the Arizona Office of Film & Digital Media, explains some of the opportunities that production companies provide when they choose Arizona locations for their projects during a presentation Tuesday at the Bullhead City Council chamber.)

BULLHEAD CITY — Film, television and other production teams can mean big business for communities where they operate, even if it's only for a few days.

Attracting that potential business is a goal of many Arizona counties, cities and towns and assisting those entities is the mission of an office of the Arizona Commerce Authority. 
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State Film commission offers free production assistant workshopsAZ Family

State Film commission offers free production assistant workshops

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 
AZ Family (3TV/CBS 5)
AZ Family reporter Jessica Parsons visits the production set at Scottsdale Community College where participants of the first class of the new Production Assistant Certification Program are getting hands-on training. Arizona Film & Digital Media (AFDM) Director Matthew Earl Jones discusses the workforce development program.  AFDM operates as the state's film commission and is a program of the Arizona Commerce Authority. Click here for more on the training program and upcoming classes. 

Scottsdale Community College to offer production assistant certification programAZ Family

By Dani Birzer Published: Sep. 19, 2022 
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Scottsdale Community College announced it will be offering a Production Assistant Certification program in October.
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Production Assistant Training Helps Create A Workforce For Arizona's Next Major Film and TV Projects PRESS RELEASE

Arizona Commerce Authority and Scottsdale Community College prepare for a new wave
of projects to be filmed in Arizona

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (September 7, 2022) – As Arizona continues to attract major film production opportunities to the state, the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) has partnered with the Scottsdale School of Film+Theatre at Scottsdale Community College (SCC) to train local talent to fill openings as production assistants. The inaugural Production Assistant Certification program will run Oct. 3-7, 2022.
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How tech is fueling Arizona’s film comebackAZInno - The Business Journals

AZInno - Business Journals (July 21, 2022)
Arizona Commerce Authority 

"How tech is fueling Arizona’s film comeback"

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Arizona's Film Industry Is BoomingArizona Horizon

Arizona PBS, Arizona Horizon - June 20, 2022
ACA Director of Film & Digital Media Matthew Earl Jones joined Ted Simons on Arizona Horizon on Arizona PBS to discuss exciting new film projects and Arizona and future opportunities.
Read Online  

Navajo Nation and the Arizona Commerce Authority Sign MOU to Expand Film and Media Industry in ArizonaPRESS RELEASE

The partnership will focus on developing marketing strategies and providing workforce opportunities

WINDOW ROCK, AZ, NAVAJO NATION (AUGUST 30, 2021) — Navajo Nation and the Arizona Commerce Authority announced today a new partnership to promote Navajo Nation as a major international film and media destination. The partnership, which was outlined in a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), aims to build a foundation of generational opportunities in the film and media industry.

Read More


Arizona, Sonora Ink Nonbinding Deal To Draw More Filmmakers Fronteras

In late June 2019, Arizona & Sonora sign an MOU to support regional film production efforts.

Read Fronteras Article by Andrew Casey
(June 27, 2019)  

Marriott logo

Marriott Hotels Offers Discounts for Film Industry in ArizonaPress Release

Thank you, Arizona Marriott Hotels & Resorts for your sponsorship and support of the Arizona film and digital media industry with your participation in our Reel Savings rebate/discount program! 

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How to Save Thousands Making Films in AZWavyFolio


(9.4.18) WavyFolio & Elation Radio / JCAZ Industry Mixer Interview
Thank you, Jay Curtis, for inviting us to the JCAZ Industry Mixer! We had a great time. Appreciate Wavy and Christina Eve from Elation Magazine for taking the time to share what Arizona Film & Digital Media is doing to grow film in Arizona. WATCH Direct YouTubeLink here.

Arizona Production Association logo

Phoenix Town Hall at Sun StudiosThe Future of Film in Arizona

Thank you to the Arizona Production Association (APA), Sun Studios and the Arizona Film and Media Coalition (AFMC) for putting together another great Future of Film in Arizona presentation. We were happy to attend and talk about what the Arizona Film Commission is doing to help. Did you miss the event? No worries. WATCH the LIVE FEED Replay right here.  

AZ Daily Sun logo

C-Span Focus On FlagstaffAZ Daily Sun

Congratulations Flagstaff! Flagstaff to be featured in C-Span series. 
READ the Arizona Daily Sun story by Adrian Skabelund (Updated 10.1.18)



25th Reunion of Tombstone movie poster

Tombstone Actors Help Community Celebrate Anniversary of Popular MovieCongratulations Tombstone!

Congratulations to everyone who helped to organize the 25th Tombstone Reunion event in Tombstone, Arizona! It was wonderful to hear about the turnout and talent who came to celebrate this historic town. Please enjoy the Herald/Review Media article, Tombstone Actors Help Community Celebrate the Anniversary of Popular Movie.

The Unhealer cast and crew

Arizona-based Shared Card Films wraps feature production of The UnHealer That's a Wrap!

(Photo Courtesy: Ken Sklute/Serendipity Visuals)

Congratulations to the cast and crew of The UnHealer which wrapped filming in Apache Junction this month. The independent Sci-fi feature is slated for release in 2019! 

Here are some of the media highlights from its production: 
Apache Junction News - June 25, 2018 
AZTV 7- June 20, 2018 
Casa Grande Dispatch - June 19, 2018


PAC Dance Team

Sahuarita Dance Team to be featured on America's Got Talent

READ this Arizona Daily Star ( story about Sahuarita dance team to be featured on America's Got Talent. Thank you to our Sahuarita-based Film Resource Coordinator Michael Jansen who helped make sure AGT was all set to film these talented dancers when they came to town! If you need film permitting or location help in Sahuarita, contact Michael at 520-822-8819 or via email - [email protected]. Visit Pima County's Sahuarita Website: Visit Sahuarita
Image courtesy - Arizona Daily Star (

Future of FilmNews4 Tucson

KVOA 4, Tucson - WATCH
Coverage of the Future of Film in Arizona event at the Loft Cinema, May 21, 2018.  (5.21.18)

Student Seeks to Change View of AZ Film Industry12 News NBC

12 News NBC - (2.14.18) 

"14-year-old girl is on a journey to change the view on aspiring filmmakers in Arizona" 



Arizona Film Office Working to Lure Production Companies For KeepsKTAR News

KTAR News Online (9.20.17) - "Arizona Film Office Working to Lure Production Companies For Keeps"

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New AZ Film Program Director Talks About The IndustryKGUN9 News

(1.5.17) KGUN9 News - Matthew Earl Jones Talks About the Film Industry in Arizona