One of the biggest dramas being staged in Hollywood right now has nothing to do with a script or a set. It’s the real life struggle to keep movie making in Hollywood, as productions are fleeing for the greener pastures beyond Tinseltown.
It’s been an issue years in the making. Tax incentive programs have been implemented in cities and states around the country, rolling out the red (or should we say green) carpet to attract film and tv productions.
Producers are finding it hard to sidestep the temptation of incentives that can cover up to 30 percent of production costs, not to mention shooting in places where it will be cheaper to get accommodation and meals for an out-of-town crew.
Of course, Hollywood isn’t closing up shop anywhere anytime soon. But productions are bringing jobs and revenues to a growing list of film hubs outside of Hollywood, and their impact on the industry is well worth noting.
The Steel City has gained a lot of traction in the film industry in the last three years, providing the backdrop for independent features and blockbusters. The Sundance breakout “Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl” is the most to gain acclaim, but “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Foxcatcher” and “The Dark Knight” have also called the city home. Will Smith and Jake Gyllenhall films are both planned in the near future—and a 25 percent tax credit certainly only helps films coming into town.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Things are buzzing in New Mexico in general, but Albuquerque alone is pulling some major weight. The New Mexico Film Office offers incentives of 25 to 30 percent for most productions. As a result, over the last two years, nearly 50 films have been shot in the city. With a bustling film programming calendar and more productions on deck for this year, it seems they’ll be at the top of the list for a while.
South by Southwest, the Austin Film Festival, and a strong film program at UT-Austin have helped carve out a significant spot for the city in the film world, particularly in terms of independent productions. “Boyhood,” “Tree of Life,” “True Grit” and “Friday Night Lights” are just a few of the dozens of films and tv shows that have been filmed here in the past decade. With a large pool of professional crew members, diverse shooting locations and nice weather, there are few reasons NOT to shoot here.
The Midwest town is picking up steam for movie making, providing equal access to pastural settings and more moody city scenes. 2014 alone saw three major films shot there, with Cate Blanchette, Jessica Biel and Don Cheadle among the stars who came through town. The continuation of the tax credit will determine whether the Queen City can keep up the filmmaking momentum.
New Orleans has so much history and culture, it has a way of becoming a character itself. Its list of TV shows and films is expansive, but a few heavy hitters include “American Horror Story,” “True Detective,” “Jurassic World” and “12 Years A Slave.” With very competitive tax credits, it’s a significant option for productions looking for a specific atmospheric feel.
The warm weather, lush greenery and southern charm of Georgia’s capital seem to be a big draw for the film industry. “The Hunger Games,” “The Walking Dead,” “The Vampire Diaries” and scores of Tyler Perry movies are among the productions that have called Atlanta home in recent years. The productions in the state of Georgia spurred $5.1 billion in economic impact in 2014 alone, and the Atlanta Office of Entertainment is responsible for a big chunk of that.
In the 1990’s, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon put Boston on the map for a generation of movie lovers, and the ball has only picked up speed with other productions across the city. “Ted,” “The Equalizer,” “The Heat,” and “Moneyball” are a few of the major studio productions filmed there in the past few years. Whether going for the gritty look, historical charm, or an expansive downtown feel, there’s plenty to choose from in this New England hub.