64 productions permitted, filmed on Big Island in 2019

  • MTV’s reality dating show “Are You the One” — which previously filmed its third and seventh seasons in West Hawaii — returned this year and was shot at a home on Keauhou Bay. (Courtesy image/Vocal Media)

HILO — The Big Island took to the small screen in 2019.

As of Wednesday, 64 productions were permitted through the county and filmed on the Big Island this year, said Hawaii Island Film Commissioner Justin Finestone.

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That total, however, doesn’t include productions that obtained permits only through the Hawaii Film Office or productions filmed on private property, which do not require permits.

According to Finestone, the Big Island is often a destination for travel and reality shows and commercials, and “a lot of Japanese productions come here as well.”

MTV’s reality dating show “Are You the One” — which previously filmed its third and seventh seasons in West Hawaii — returned this year and was shot at a home on Keauhou Bay, he said.

An episode of Food Network’s “Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives,” hosted by Guy Fieri, also filmed on the Big Island in 2019, as did commercials for Samsung and Chevrolet.

According to county permit data for 2019, Finestone said there was a reported $7.2 million spent on Big Island projects this year.

The actual number, however, might be higher when combined with numbers from the state, which Finestone did not have Wednesday.

Spending and permitting documented by the county, however, is down this year compared to 2018.

Finestone said 73 productions reported spending $7.4 million in 2018.

Because of the months-long eruption of Kilauea volcano last year, Hawaii County “did see a slowdown,” but Finestone said he was happy to see spending top $7 million in 2019.

“The year started slowly, and (the county) kind of rebounded over the summer, and we got busy again,” he said.

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Finestone also is looking to the future and said he’s anxious to see how production companies proceed with a new, annual $50 million total cap on state tax credits that be claimed for film productions, “and if that affects business.”

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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