January 31, 2012

Filmmakers fight to preserve incentive

Supporters of Oklahoma’s infant motion picture industry are on a mission to preserve a $5 million incentive program at a time when other states are scaling back their film subsidies. In the past four years, state rebates have helped finance 20 feature films with production in Oklahoma, including 2010′s "The Killer Inside Me" featuring Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba.

Three months into the 2012 fiscal year, the program had already committed its entire $5 million allocation. Rep. David Dank, chairman of the legislative task force, said he wants advocates of the film program to show that the incentive is providing a positive economic return.

"We give them up to 37 percent of all of their costs, and there aren’t any full-time jobs from that," said Dank, R-Oklahoma City. "They say there will be full-time jobs in the future. But I want to know when and where."

Simpson said this year’s $5 million state subsidy is expected to stimulate $15 million in direct spending by filmmakers for crew labor, lodging, food, supplies and other production expenses in Oklahoma. Although most of the work is temporary, she said the goal is to generate enough activity over time to support permanent employment for crew personnel and support firms.

Read more from Oklahoma Watch.

Hat Tip: Oklahoma Policy Institute.