Paris film group

Paris Texas Film Office supporters with Hollywood film producer Noor Haghmi, seated. From left, Julia Trigg-Crawford, Becki Norment, Edwin Pickle, Ashlea Helms-Mattoon, Adriana Gonzalez, James Wyatt, Marcella Brockman, John Brockman and Lisa Mikitarian. 

Paris, Texas, as a film capital has sparked the interest of a Hollywood film producer and his associate, who have been in town for the past month laying groundwork for a nonprofit organization to lead the way.

Local residents chosen to form the Paris Texas Film Office met Monday night with Hollywood film producer Noor Naghmi and his associate, Lisa Mikitarian, in the home of Dr. A.J. Hashmi on FM 195 to lay the groundwork for a promotional foundation focused on making Paris the film capital of Northeast Texas and beyond.

The group will meet again July 17 to enact by-laws, elect officers and make plans for the city’s first international film festival planned for April 2020.

Naghmi told the group he fell in love with Paris in 2017 while filming Hashmi for “Angels Within,” an Oscar-qualifying documentary about Pakistani doctors serving in rural America.

“Hollywood is looking for places in small town America just like Paris,” Naghmi told the future board members as he shared how Hashmi took him around town and shared his enthusiasm about Paris.

“Once he took me to that square I just fell in love,” the producer said. “While he was driving me around, I said, ‘why don’t we bring Hollywood to Paris,’ and he said, “how do we do that.’”

Naghmi has been to Paris numerous times in the past two years, meeting with community leaders.

“I told you when I met with you in March I would be back,” Naghmi said after the gathering. “I am serious about making Paris a film capital, and I plan to move here one day.”

Paris Texas Film Office has as its proposed mission the following objectives:

• organize, conduct and raise funds for the annual Paris International Film Festival;

• partner with the entire community in order to promote the industry, education and enjoyment of film;

• create and promote an environment and workforce, which encourage outside organizations to produce films in Paris and surrounding Lamar County; and,

• match filmmakers with any resources needed.

Prospective board members include John and Marcella Brockman, Cristy Burns, Rizma Hashmi, Ashlea Helms-Mattoon, Becki Norment, Edwin Pickle and James Wyatt.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at mary.madewell@theparisnews.com.

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