FILM BY THE NUMBERS: Austin-based writer Joe O’Connell has been covering the film incentives beat for The Dallas Morning News, and today he reports on a new wrinkle for the proposal: a flexible incentive. Currently Texas offers a 5 percent incentive for projects shot in the state, and the film community has hoped for a 15 percent break – the number many feel would be the tipping point in luring projects. Neighboring New Mexico and Louisiana offer 25 percent incentives.
A new proposal suggests that the state would offer a flexible incentive to be determined by the Texas Film Commission on a case-by-case basis. How the Commission would decide how much to award to whom is anyone’s best guess at this point.
A positive suggestion in the proposal is the lowering of the in-state spending requirement to qualify for the rebate from $1 million to $250,000. When I spoke with Dallas filmmakers Brandon Jones and John Venable about their locally shot movie Karma Police, they said their budget was too small to qualify under the current laws. But producer Jones was convinced that turning a profit on smaller projects is the best way to convince larger shoots that coming here can be profitable. Lowering the spending minimum is a crucial step in that process.
“We should really be focused on making movies that are $250,000 to a million and a half dollars and make good, quality films that are returning the investment here, so that the investment community sees that as a good investment,” Jones said.
LOCAL ARTIST HEADED TO NYC: Lewisville artist Eric McGehearty will take part in next month’s Armory Show in New York City as part of a booth sponsored by VSA – an organization for people with disabilities in the arts. This is the first year that the Armory show has included a booth dedicated to artists with disabilities.
“As an artist who is dyslexic, I explore the worlds of illegibility and inaccessibility,” McGehearty says in an artist statement on his Web site. “I see my work as a visual branch of semiotics – the theory and study of signs and symbols. I’m interested in the relationship between words and images.
McGehearty holds an MFA from the University of North Texas and will be the subject of a one-man show later this year at McKinney Avenue Contemporary.