River City Studios making its mark in Northern California film industry

By: Brody Fernandez, Gold Country Media
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The Greater Sacramento area is nationally known as the new hotbed of independent film and movie talent, according to co-owner Nalesh Chandra of Roseville’s River City Studios.

River City Studios is a Roseville-based cinema, video, audio and event productions company at 1100 Melody Lane, Number 122 in Roseville.

With nearly 50 years of combined experience, Chandra and River City Studios co-owner Al Gonzalez help clients tell their stories.

“Few production companies have decades of experience,” Chandra said. “That’s the kind of experience River City Studios brings to the Greater Sacramento region.”

Chandra grew up in the Sacramento area and is a Sacramento State University alum. Chandra,  is the studio’s director of marketing and branding, and producer..

Gonzalez has lived in the Sacramento region since 1984. A certified mediator with California Lawyers for the Arts in Sacramento, Gonzalez has been in the film and television business for more than 28 years. He began his career in radio, moving into live theater, then film and TV production.

In addition to working with small-medium businesses and corporate clients,Chandra and Gonzalez have entered into pre-production on an action-drama feature to be filmed in Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado counties. The feature’s working title is “The Abductors” and is scheduled to begin filming in mid-2019, with River City Studios as the project lead.

Gold Country Media asked the two co-owners about their company’s vision. Their answers follow.


What makes this part of Northern California a hotbed for filmmakers these days?  

Al Gonzalez: “Accessibility is a huge factor. The ability to shoot in San Francisco, Lake Tahoe Redding and the surrounding areas is great for accessibility. To have a vast variety of locations that lend themselves to a multitude of different themes and genres for filmmakers. Northern California has easy accessibility for our filmmakers to work with other film commissions in the area.”

Nalesh Chandra: “We are also seeing a significant population migration toward this area in Placer County. When you have younger people who want to be entrepreneurs, they need to know that getting into Hollywood is a rigorous process. The expense just to live there or in the Bay Area is very difficult. So this area is a great opportunity for people who want to work here (Gold Country) but also for people who want to live here.”  


How did you two form River City Studios?

Nalesh Chandra: “We were both working independently in other places for a while. Al and I met three years ago and started working on productions together. Al was managing while running the productions and directing. I would come on board the project as a camera operator and assisting on the production as a production assistant at times. …We then decided that this year was the right time to start up this business partnership and open our own company together.”   


What sets River City Studios apart from other film studios?

Al Gonzalez: “This production company is unique in Placer County because we do specialize in multi-language production. In the past several years, I have produced projects in Ukrainian, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Hmong. We will continue to produce multicultural projects because the market demands that we produce projects in languages that are still so rich in the state of California.”


Where do you see River City Studios in 10 or 20 years?

Nalesh Chandra: “I definitely see an education aspect with our studio. In fact before we set up our studio together, Al and I had discussions about the greater good for filmmaking. We wanted to teach people here in Northern California and Placer County what it means to be a great filmmaker. What it means to know how to learn to use the equipment it takes to make a film. People oftentimes think, ‘Well, I’ve went to film school, now I have my degree. So now I’ll head down to Hollywood and land myself a job’. It’s not necessarily that easy. There’s a lot of experience you have to get under your belt before you can go to a Warner Bros. or another large studio and become employed. So our goal is as our production company grows, we will grow an educational aspect and set up a school. There we will teach students on how to direct, produce and write in a hands-on format rather than a conceptional one.”