Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Movie Executives Call for Oklahoma to Fully Fund Incentive Program

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Movie Executives Call for Oklahoma to Fully Fund Incentive Program

Article excerpt

Five million dollars in incentives won't be enough to induce movie executives to build a studio in Oklahoma, a group of filmmakers said Thursday. However, the director of the Oklahoma Film and Music Commission is questioning the merits of the group's proposal.

The Oklahoma Film Project, a group that includes a handful of Tulsa residents and Hollywood motion picture specialists, held a press conference at the state Capitol on Thursday. The group, which included movie producer Joel Douglas (brother to actor Michael Douglas and son to actor Kirk Douglas), and actor, screenwriter and director Kevin Brodie, urged Oklahoma lawmakers to lift the cap on the state's film incentive program.

How can you put a cap on success? said Bob Strom, a businessman from Palm Springs, Calif., and member of the Oklahoma Film Project. Strom said a well-known producer may establish on ongoing production facility in Oklahoma if the state demonstrates it is committed to supporting the industry.

The Oklahoma Legislature approved the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program, also known as the Compete with Canada Film Act, in 2001. It provides a 15 percent cash-back rebate on expenditures made in Oklahoma directly attributable to film or television production.

According to the Oklahoma Film and Music Commission Web site, the amount of payments for the program in any single fiscal year shall not exceed $2 million. However, the Legislature has not provided funding for the program since it was created.

You can't grow an industry if you're making a few small-league films, said Tulsa architect Steven Busch, a member of the Oklahoma Film Project. Here's one of many (producers) in his league that are ready to come, but we've got to offer them something. We have developers and investors ready to build state-of-the-art studios wherever we need to build them. We just need a law passed. …

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