City leaders work to bring Hollywood to town
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Austin city leaders are working to have more mainstream films shot right here in the Capital City.
This week the council will decide on a partnership between the city and Troublemaker Studios, a local film production company headed by Robert Rodriguez. With council’s approval, the city would pay Troublemaker Studios to promote Austin within the film industry as a film-friendly city.
"A place where people can tell stories and make films and make movies that is local and uses all local talent and also helps us with advertising with branding to create a 'Made in Austin' stamp that people can then appreciate," Kevin Johns, Director of Economic Growth, said.
Austin is already no stranger to film crews. Many films and television shows were at least partially shot in town.
Most recently, the ABC drama The Lying Game was filmed on a 20-acre facility run by the Austin Film Society.
"Austin can serve as many locations—anything from city to piney woods to even desert around here,” Rebecca Campbell, Executive Director of the Austin Film Society, said.
Campbell said Texas’ current incentives for filmmakers pale in comparison to other states.
"If all things were equal and the Texas incentives were equal to the incentives in the other state,” she said. “Austin would be more competitive because we have more experienced crews and great locations and affordable facilities."
The local film expert said the average feature film creates about 130 jobs, and provides a serious boost to local business.
A study released by the City of Austin shows the creative sector raked in $4.35 billion in 2012—about one-third more than in 2005.
The money for the partnership with Troublemaker Studios will come from the city's Economic Reserve Fund. Among a list of conditions, Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios would work to bring at least one major motion picture to Austin every year under a program dubbed the "creative content incubator."
If passed during Thursday's council meeting, the project would immediately move into a pilot program. After a year, the project would expand to include other stakeholders including the University of Texas and the Austin Film Society.