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Oklahoma Legislature Looks To Extend A Tax Incentive To Bring More Films To The State

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The Oklahoma House of Representatives votes to pass a tax incentive for film production in the state, after initially voting against it. The rebate aims to entice filmmakers to the state -- to help with it's image and it's economic bottom line.  
From Spielberg's "Twister," Francis Coppola's "The Outsiders," to most recently John Wells' "August: Osage County." A lot of big budget movies have been filmed in Oklahoma. And now state legislators are deciding whether to extend a tax rebate incentive for film production in the state.

"It is definitely useful from a reputation stand point in helping us to be more reputable in the community," said Oklahoma Filmmaker Joshua Miller.  

Miller owns of Zenawood Entertainment in Oklahoma. The bill currently has a cap of five million dollars, with a minimum budget of $50,000 dollars to apply. But even though Miller's films don't qualify, he says it still helps him and his business.
  
"When you have low cost of living, good infrastructure, it opens up the door for filmmaking to grow," Miller said.
 
The current bill is set to expire on July 1st of this year, but what ever it did, Miller says it seems to be working, the film industry spent approximately $35.1 million dollars in the state last year. Which is why State Representative Larry Glenn says he decided to vote to extend the bill for another 10 years, after initially voting to end it.  

"Anything we can do to get more people up here to stay in our hotels and visit our businesses and see the lovely Coleman Theater and other things, we're all for," said Glenn (D).
 
Glenn says some members of the House were worried about recent negative portrayals of Oklahomans on screen, citing Meryl Streep in "August: Osage County." But Glenn says the film not only brought in tourism and money, but future films as well.
  
"It generated a lot of economic benefit to the state," said Glenn.
 
And as for Miller, he says he is proud to write and direct films in his home state.
  
"Any attention that comes to movies coming from Oklahoma is a good thing, for filmmakers and for Oklahomans," Miller said.
 
The bill will now go to the State Senate and if it passes it will go to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin for final approval, before the rebate is officially extended. The Oklahoma Senate also passed it's own version of the Bill.

To visit Zenawood Entertainment, click here.      
 


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