Let the Shooting Start

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The Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission has rolled out its long-awaited incentives package to stimulate film and TV production in the state. The complex details are being scoured by the state's entertainment industry, especially the part about grants for Tennessee-based filmmakers. But these are among the bullet points:

ՠ13-15-17-percent production rebates. Outside productions spending $500,000 or more in Tennessee can receive a 13-percent rebate on below-the-line production costs (i.e., non-starring cast, crew, studio facilities, etc.). The rebate would be paid out of the state's $10 million incentives fund, and it can go up to 15 percent if the production hires 25 percent of its cast and crew in Tennessee. Another two percentage points (worth up to $100,000) are available if the production spends $20,000 in post-production for music created or recorded by Tennesseans.

ՠScore one for the home teams. Tennessee-based production companies are eligible for the same rebates with an in-state expenditure of at least $200,000.

ՠHeadquarters location refunds. Any production company that establishes a permanent production facility in Tennessee—and spends at least $1 million here in "qualified expenses" necessary to produce a theatrical feature—gets a crack at a 15-percent refund of those expenses.

ՠGrants for in-state filmmakers. Through a competitive grant application system, Tennessee filmmakers can apply for up to $40,000 to develop and complete qualified film or digital productions.

TFEMC executive director Perry Gibson (who's nursing a bad cold) stressed that the financial incentives will not awarded on a "first come, first serve" basis. Incentives will be limited to the $10 million in the state's allocated fund. Qualifying projects will be considered and ultimately chosen by Gibson, Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Matt Kisber, and Commissioner of Revenue Reagan Farr.

Several film projects are said to be circling the state anticipating the announcement—good news as neighboring North Carolina ramps up its game. However, the state stipulates that none of them can be obscene. Maybe that'll weed out a few down the line.

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