There are thousands of film production companies in the United States. If you are interested in watching, working in or understanding where films come from, get to know some of these companies. There are quite a pile of  film production companies in California, but there are plenty of companies in Oregon, Utah, New York, and in many other states that are producing advertising, shorts, documentaries, corporate/industrial film and animation or effects. Check out these great film production companies and some of their recent projects.

Food Chain Films: On the small, niche end there are film production companies like Food Chain Films. The company has produced advertising such as "All Bran" commercials starring William Shatner as well as Sundance Film Festival selection, "How to Die in Oregon." Check out their films and become part of the media food chain.

Dreamworks: Known for their animated features including "Kung Fu Panda," "Bee Movie," "Antz" and "Shreck," and films that combine live action and effects, such as "Cowboys and Aliens," "Fright Night," and "Dinner for Schmucks"  is known for great storytelling and powerful animation from their feature film production company. Don't be a schmuck, grab a TV dinner and sit down to some great entertainment.

Focus Features: This alternative film production and distribution company has stepped outsid the box of your everyday "blockbuster" contender. Often they pick up and distribute films produced by smaller companies. Their films include "Lost in Translation," "Being John Malkovich," and "Milk." Next time you find your self stuck in Japan shooting whisky commercials during a mid life crisis, leave the 20 something girls at the bar and watch one of these awesome films.

40 Acres and a Mule: This production company, founded by Spike Lee in 1986 has has reached critical acclaim and box-office success through his narrative feature films and documentary. Everything Spike is involved in gives you access to dynamic raw urban experience, great characters, and a perspective that is not often expressed in American media.

Dog Eat Dog Films: Nobody likes eating other dogs more than king of the documentary dogs, Michael Moore. Michael formed this film production company to support his dog eat dog documentary style. The films are fun to watch, but when Michael shows up at Charlton Heston's house in the film "Bowling for Columbine," with his anti-gun ten commandments,  Michael shows he's no Moses, and there's no promised land. Still, without Michael Moore's film company, documentary films wouldn't have made the same leaps and bounds in audience appeal.

-Alan Murdock