Rep. Rick Saunders filed a bill today that would give film production companies a 15 percent rebate, through the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, on all production costs made in connection with an approved film being made here in the state. The rebate would be good for production and post-production costs. Production companies would also get an additional 10 percent rebate for hiring “below-the-line” employees (including casting assistants, costume designers, gaffers, grips, production assistants, set construction and design staff) who are full-time Arkansas residents. Movie makers would have to spend over $50,000 within six months to qualify.
This legislation has been in the works for some time. The new bill would replace the Motion Picture Incentive Act of 1977, which expired in 2007. Right now, Arkansas is one of only two states that do not offer some type of incentive package (Delaware is the other). For info on what other states are doing in this arena, click here. Chris Crane, the state's film commissioner, has said these incentives would draw companies to Arkansas because the state can be "anywhere USA." The varied landscape of the state (the delta, the mountains, cities, countryside, etc.) will be an attraction for filmmakers. Local screen writer Graham Gordy, who writes natural state-specific scripts, has also said incentives would help Arkansas land projects that would otherwise land in Texas or Louisiana.