Dastmalchian said the filming for most of his projects occurs in Georgia or Canada. He likes to film in Georgia “because the state of Georgia offers such a competitive tax incentive for companies to come work there. I would love to spend some of this time I’m working in these other places in Missouri or Kansas. It baffles me that we don’t get the opportunity to do that.”
The incentives gap also is apparent to Morgan Dameron, a writer and director from Kansas City. Her first film, “Different Flowers,” was shot here, at locations such as McGonigle’s Market and Country Club Christian Church.
“I wanted to make it in my hometown,” Dameron said. “I like to write Midwestern stories, and I would love to tell them in the Midwest. There’s an authenticity here that you can’t purchase.”
But it will take more than authenticity to get Dameron to film her next project in the Show Me State. “As I’m putting together the financing, I’m learning that you can only go where the incentives are,” she said. “I’d love to make my next movie in Missouri, but I need a state tax incentive to make it make sense from a business point of view.”
“As a proud Missouri native I would love nothing more than to return and shoot films in my former home. Unfortunately, it would not be good business to shoot in a state that doesn’t incentivize money spent when so many others do.
My last two films (RUDDERLESS, the Sundance feature which was directed by William H. Macy; starring Billy Crudup , Anton Yelchin and Selena Gomez and THE JOGGER which won the Heartland Film Award at the 2013 Kansas City Film Festival) were shot in Oklahoma taking advantage of the rebate program.”
– Casey Twenter, Writer/Director [Excerpt from a letter to MO House Committee, 2015]
”After my last film, American Sniper, for which I’m honored to have been nominated for a 2015 Oscar for Best Screenplay, I wrote a feature film script based a book by the same name, ‘Thank You For Your Service,’ a true story about Iraq war veterans from the Kansas City metro area. This film will be my directorial debut.
In the Spring of 2015 I was put in touch with the Kansas City Film and Media Office to arrange a location scout of the Kansas City area. Scouting went very well and we would have been thrilled to consider Missouri as a location for filming if there had been a film incentive program in Missouri but the decision was made to film Thank You For Your Service in Atlanta, Georgia. We are taking measures to dress the sets with authentic Kansas City props.
This project is being developed by Amblin Entertainment with distributor, DreamWorks SKG. The film will bring jobs, economic impact and publicity to the filming location. A film can make a large impact on a state; for example, American Sniper spent $54 Million in California with 4,125 crew/cast/extras hires and qualified for $6.8 Million in incentives from the state.”
-Jason Hall, Screenwriter/Director [Excerpt from a letter to MO House Committee, 2016]
“The available Film Production Incentive would lend to a much higher economic impact to the State of Missouri and the Lake of the Ozarks for such productions as Netflix’s “Ozark” series. The opportunity for the Lake of the Ozarks area to host the filming of the “Ozark” series is unprecedented. I have been on Hotel Association Boards in other states. Most recently on the North Texas Hotel Association Board and the TPID of Dallas, Texas, overseeing annual budgets in excess of $7 million dollars.
The state of Texas spent heavily in encouraging filmmakers to come to Texas, through tax incentives. The national exposure and economic impact were immediate. These film production incentives were put into place after losing out to Atlanta and New Orleans on major film shoots such as the Oscar winning “Buyers Club”, whose story took place in the Oak Lawn area of Dallas yet was filmed in New Orleans due to the production incentives offered by Louisiana.
To think, a majority of the “Ozark” ten-episode series about a Missouri destination could be shot in Vancouver, Georgia or New York and the economic spending would directly benefit any other state than Missouri is disheartening. We should review the $7.5 million economic impact that Cape Girardeau received for the filming of “Gone Girl” as a perfect example of a beneficial use of the Film Production Incentive.”
– Larry R. McAfee [Excerpt from a letter to MO House Committee, 2016]
“As you know, the Twentieth Century Fox movie ‘Gone Girl’ was filmed in Cape Girardeau. Let me provide you with a brief synopsis:
- Principal photography began on September 16, 2013 and concluded on October 23, 2013.
- 139 Missouri resident cast and crew participated (plus another 19 individuals from border cities in IL and KS).
- The film featured more than 1,700 extras.
- Twentieth Century Fox spent over $7 million in Cape Girardeau filming Gone Girl. Those numbers have been audited and verified by the Missouri Departmentment of Economic Development.
- More than $600,000 was spent in lodging and office space.
- Over $250,000 was spent on transportation and fuel.
- More than $180,000 on security.
- Nearly $150,000 in catering.
- More than $160,000 was spent on building supplies.
- And over $170,000 was spent on furniture and props purchased from local venues.
Clearly, tax credits supporting filming in Missouri have a demonstrable return on investment. When a movie is filmed in a community there is a dual benefit. On the front end, Gone Girl brought millions of dollars of positive economic impact to Cape Girardeau’s local economy. On the back end, our Convention and Visitors Bureau is further growing that positive economic impact by offering a print and digital driving tour that directs guests to the numerous sites of Gone Girl’s fictional community of North Carthage. Sites that were filmed and can be experienced Only in Cape Girardeau, Missouri!”
-Brenda Newbern, Executive Director, Cape Girardeau CVB [Except from letter to MO House Committee, 2016]
“As film educators at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, we support this bill because it will attract more professional film and television productions to Missouri, thereby providing more job opportunities for our graduates, many of our students at UMKC have strong ties to Kansas City, and wish to stay in the area to pursue their careers. A more robust statewide film and television production industry would enable more of them to do so.
Our department at UMKC is already working to build up our offerings in film production, with plans to offer a new B.A. in Film and Media Arts starting in Fall 2016. We expect this new degree to attract more students from across Missouri, as well as more out-of-state students. A more robust film and television industry in Kansas City will provide these students with a wider set of internship opportunities while pursuing their degrees, as well as more local career opportunities upon graduation.”
– Lyn Elliot, Associate Professor, Film and Media Arts, Communication Studies Department, University of Missouri-Kansas City [Excerpt letter to MO House Committee, 2016]
“In my tenure as President and CEO of the National World War I Museum and Memorial, we’ve hosted a number of film crews on the expansive grounds of the Museum and Memorial. To provide one example, in January 2015, the Museum welcomed an international crew from London, Los Angeles and Ohio from Legendary Entertainment, which has produced internationally recognized films such as the recent Batman trilogy, Inception, Unbroken and Jurassic World to name a few.
The purpose of their visit was to donate their time to assist the Museum in creating a dynamic and engaging short film about why the Museum is an important cultural institution. During their stay, several of the crew members commented that Kansas City would make an extremely viable commercial film location for a number of reasons (low cost, film-friendly downtown skyline, accessibility, etc.). However, each also noted that a lack of an incentive program likely served as a deterrent to an increased volume of productions in Kansas City.
As Kansas City continues to be spotlighted nationally, we feel certain there will be new interest in the production of films highlighting the rich history so evident in this area with its historic architecture and unique structures. That fact that productions specific to Kansas City are being made in other states is clear indication of the interest of the diverse stories that make up its history and people.”
– Matthew C. Naylor, President and CEO National World War I Museum and Memorial [Excerpt from letter to MO House Committee, 2016]
“In 2009 when the economy of the country and our state was in a recession, St. Louis and the State of Missouri received a shot in the arm with the filming of a major motion picture entitled ‘Up in the Air’, which garnered worldwide distribution and several Academy Award nominations. In January of that year our team sent a sales lead to the hotels for room commitments for an estimated 3,100 occupied hotel room nights in March. Jason Reitman and Paramount Pictures brought that film to St. Louis for a number of reasons which all hinged on the $4 million film tax credit they received.
According to the Missouri Economic Research and Info1mation Center, the project brought nearly $12 million into the State’s economy and benefited industries such as film production services, retail, rental leasing, accommodations, transportation, food service and professional technical services such as accounting/payroll, legal and banking services.
The film provided a much-needed boost for the month of March 2009 when the economy was at one of its lowest periods. Major films like this are heavily sought after and the field is competitive with many of the decisions being driven by available incentives from State gove1nments. The filming of ‘Up in the Air’ in St. Louis is just one of many examples of the positive impact that this segment can have on our State’s economy.”
– Kathleen M. Ratcliffe, President, St. Louis CVB [Excerpt from letter to MO House Committee, 2016]
“It has gotten increasingly difficult to fund films. The first question asked by financiers is “when will I begin to see some money back?” and the most immediate way to make that happen is with Incentives. It is one of the most important factors in deciding where we spend our production dollars.
I am going through this right now on several projects and as much as I have loved shooting in Missouri in the past, I have a responsibility to my investors to take our productions to states with aggressive Incentive packages. Missouri is one of the few states with no program, so it unfortunately gets bypassed.
I appreciate your help in attracting film production dollars to Missouri. It’s good for the local businesses, local professionals, and the local economy.”
-Andrew P. Jones, Producer/Director [Excerpt from letter to MO House Committee, 2016]