ECD Thinking Smaller with Film Incentives

A film crew shoots on a Tennessee production. Image courtesy ECD

A film crew shoots on a Tennessee production. Image courtesy ECD

Tennessee is trying to steer more money to smaller video producers. A spokesman for the Department of Economic and Community Development says the downsizing will avoid competing with other states for big-budget movie productions.

Previously, grants from the state’s film commission were available only to projects with budgets over a million dollars. The new program is still being finalized, but the threshold has been dropped to $200,000, according to ECD commissioner Bill Hagerty.

“The overall result for the state is a reduction in the amount of subsidy paid. But we made it much easier for smaller, independent local film companies to take advantage of the credit.”

The state legislature repealed a long-standing film tax credit this year and instead put $2 million in the state’s grant fund. Hagerty says the move streamlines what has been a complicated process for smaller filmmakers to navigate.

States with more generous film incentives like Louisiana and Michigan have critics who argue luring productions away from California tends to create only a short-term stimulus.

While Tennessee is turning attention to local producers, the biggest beneficiary this year is a big-budget, Hollywood transplant. The TV show “Nashville” has received $7.5 million so far.

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