New Mississippi legislation hopes to attract film industry - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

New Mississippi legislation hopes to attract film industry

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CANTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

New legislation will now let Mississippi be able to cash in on the film industry.

In the past, Mississippi has seen it's share of big movies and the hope is to start bringing some of that back.

In addition to legislation, film industry leaders in Mississippi say they now have a new tool in becoming a little more camera ready.

The street signs in Canton say it all, and that future could be getting a little brighter as the lights shine down.

"It gives you a very big space to do a lot of work in," said Ward Emling with the Office of Film and Culture.

Emling hopes the lights are inside the 36,000 square foot sound stage sitting just off of Interstate 55 will help power some economic investments.

"What this puts out there is that it's another industry that we are serious about," Emling said.

Taking up just more than 30 acres, the Mississippi Film Studio is the state's first full purpose sound stage, opening it's doors to potential movie makers and looking to cash in thanks to the state's newly expanded rebate program.

Passed by the legislature, the law now allows a 25 percent rebate for film projects with non-resident payrolls.

A Mississippi cast and crew payroll would put the rebate at 30 percent.

Both with an $8 million cap, types of qualifying films are also being opened up.

"What this gives us is the opportunity to attract a film that's not really married to being outside, that has big interior sets, that has lots of special effects," Emling said.

The building was built back in 1995 for the movie 'A Time To Kill' and now the hope is for it to be center stage from Hollywood blockbusters to low budget independent films.

With the expansion, the hope is to make the Magnolia State a little more competitive to not only those surrounding states but on the national scene as well.

The enhanced program puts Mississippi right on par with Louisiana in what the state can offer.

"It's a competitive world this film industry these days and the more that you can offer beyond locations the better you're going to be," Emling said.

Given Mississippi's past moments in the Hollywood spotlight Emling says it time to refocus.

"This immediately gets the attention of people who probably weren't thing about coming to do a small movie in the South," Emling said.

The sound stage in Canton is available immediately for film makers to begin work.

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