Tax incentives help lure filmmakers to Nevada

LAS VEGAS -- The Las Vegas Film Festival is underway this week. Now, in its seventh year, the event is screening more movies than ever, some of them shot locally.

The local film industry says the recently passed film tax credit creates more financial incentives for Hollywood to bring projects to Nevada.

There is talk about building a major movie studio locally that would be capable of handling productions for blockbusters like Iron Man and Star Wars. There's a sense of hope that Hollywood is starting to see Las Vegas as a serious player in the film industry.

One of the main features at this year's film festival is the 2011 film "The Motel Life" shot entirely in northern Nevada. Christopher Ramirez who helped coordinate local production crews for the film says he can't wait to see more of these projects in his home state.

"The people will come if the projects are here," Ramirez said.

He founded Las Vegas based film development company Lola Pictures and says he has four other movies already lined up for production in Las Vegas through the end of the year.

Ramirez says the new state's film tax credit helps boost interest from Hollywood filmmakers, but with the tax breaks hovering around 17 percent, it's still hard to compete with states that offer close to 30 percent.

"Their budget levels are so high, they almost have to go to Louisiana and New Mexico because their tax incentive so appealing," Ramirez said.

Eric Preiss, director of the Nevada Film Office, says the film industry spends more than $80 million per year in Nevada. He says the state has always been appealing to filmmakers, but what will help draw more big budget productions is a major studio.

"We definitely encourage them to come build sound stages and build studios. It just depends if the financial arrangements work for them," Preiss said.

"That's the next step, increasing our tax incentives and start planning and building a studio," Ramirez said.

A studio he hopes will one day house the movies his company plans to make.



 


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