Bringing The Silver Screen To The Bluegrass State

Kentucky is hoping to attract more feature films and the state is taking steps to promote Kentucky as a location for film production including documentaries and commercials.

What the movies playing in Lexington have in common is they weren't filmed in Kentucky. But that trend could change if some proposed legislation in Frankfort is passed.

For years, Kentucky has ranked no higher than 45th in terms of actively seeking film production. Even some movies about Kentucky have been shot in other locations because it was more economical for the producers.

"This bill is to stop that. It is to put ourselves what we hope to be in 14th or 15th place in the entire country as far as our aggressiveness is concerned in attracting projects," said J. Patrick Stipes of the Kentucky Film Office

The bill would provide a refundable income tax credit of up to 20% but feature filmmakers would have to spend a minimum of $500,000 to get the rebate.

"We're not giving the farm away on this. We're basically saying Kentucky is open for business with regard to the entertainment industry so you spend some money with us, and we'll give you a little bit back. It's what other states have been doing for years<" Stipes said.

Lexington video production specialist Mike White has shot all over the world, and he knows Kentucky can provide some of the most scenic vistas anywhere.

"Of course you've to the horse farms here in Central Kentucky. You've got the Appalachian mountains which offer a lot more than just a look at the stereotypical hillbillies. We've got over 12,000 miles of scenic shoreline, more shoreline than Florida, and cypress swamps that would pass for Louisiana or Florida any day of the week," said White

And he says the climate here is better for film crews and their equipment. He's convinced the bill will be an economic stimulus for the state.

"When you look at the trickle down effect for painters, carpenters and caterers who they will not bring with them as well as what they will spend to put the crew up in motels, you get that money back on the back end," said White.

The legislative proposal creates a 15 member Kentucky Film Commission, appointed by the governor. All members would serve without a salary.

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