Tax incentive package could attract film makers to Kentucky

By Eric Flack

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Movie makers in Kentucky are getting good news. A long awaited boost to the local film industry could be on the way.

Kentucky’s film industry is shooting to be on the marquee as a destination location for movie makers.

“When studios or film producers are looking at where to shoot their production the first thing they think about is tax incentives,” said Drew Ingram, the manager of Outrider Studios, a Kentucky based film production company.

Tax incentive packages in Georgia and Louisiana are far more lucrative than what is offered in Kentucky and that investment has paid off. By some estimates, film and television production in Louisiana now exceeds that of California. Georgia reported a one year economic impact of $5.1 billion from the film industry. Kentucky’s economic impact: A little less than $15 million.

Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism Mike Mangeot hopes a new package passed unanimously by the Kentucky House of Representatives in February will narrow that gap.

“It immediately puts us in the same conversation as them from an incentive standpoint,” Mangeot said. “I think the legislators understand it’s a fantastic business opportunity for the state.”

Under the new plan Kentucky will offer a 30 percent refundable tax credit for qualified production costs and more if film makers use Kentucky based crews or shoot in counties in need of an economic boost.

The measure, which still needs senate approval, will immediately rival incentive packages offered by Louisiana and Georgia.

“They’re bringing in a lot of big studio productions,” Ingram said of the other two states. “We can’t handle that yet. But what we can do is bring in a lot of independent productions.”

Productions like “Roman Citizen,” a film made by Italian director Luca Elmi in Louisville with a mostly local cast and crew – a workforce that grows with every movie produced in Kentucky. And while the state is years from becoming “Bluegrass Hollywood” supporters say the new tax incentives could make the state ready for action.

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