Bailout boosts local filmmaking

Sunday, October 5th 2008, 11:48 pm
By: News 9

By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The financial bailout bill is helping more than Wall Street and Main Street, it could also impact movie making in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma has been dubbed a recession proof state and to further boost this, the bailout features a tax incentive program for producers who keep TV and film production in the U.S.

"I think the film industry in Oklahoma, it's starting to pick up. It's a small pebble in the bucket compared to other states, but it's moving places," said Amy Briede, who works for Media 13 Productions.

The local production company Media 13 has set up shop in and around Oklahoma City for several days shooting scenes for "Pearl," a movie portraying the true story of a Chickasha girl who became the youngest pilot in history.

With a local cast and crew in a local landmark, it's a win-win for everyone.

"It's great because you can have your entire budget of your film, and once it's approved you can somewhat anticipate some type of return," Briede said. "So you can choose to spend that early on, or expect it to come back later when you're trying to market your film."

Other local production companies are also cheering the tax incentive.

"I think production in Oklahoma is at a very advantageous position," Rockhouse Cinema co-owner Kenny Phillips said.

Phillips is working on his first feature film "Damnation Road."

"We haven't had a lot of people doing films here that are homegrown in Oklahoma," Phillips said.

But, Phillips said the bill's tax incentives better serve bigger budget productions.

"I think mostly the incentives are for larger production films that are largely going into Canada, especially that are taking away jobs in Hollywood," Phillips said.

The local producer said all filmmakers start out small, but dream of making and moving into big budget blockbuster movies eventually.

"Indirectly, it is long term that it's going to affect me or our production company," Phillips said.

The provision is nothing new, it's an extension to the 2004 corporate tax bill that is set to expire at the end of 2008. The cost of this provision is estimated at $478 million over 10 years.