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Guv wants films made in Ky.




FRANKFORT

Kentucky is hoping to become known for more than just bourbon and horse racing.

Gov. Steve Beshear was at Keeneland race track, where parts of the movie “Seabiscuit” were filmed, on Tuesday for a ceremonial bill signing of legislation intended to lure producers to Kentucky. The legislation, Beshear said, would put the state on “an even playing field” with others that offer enticements.

“We’re competitive now,” Beshear said.

Kentucky lawmakers approved the legislation during a special session earlier this summer, moving the state in line with 41 others that offer similar incentives. Adding the legislation may help Kentucky beat out other states for films and revenue, Beshear said.

The state’s new tax incentives apply to feature films, commercials, documentaries and Broadwaystyle productions. Among other things, the legislation offers tax breaks to film crews that do work in Kentucky for things such as set construction, wardrobe, food and accommodations.

“We can now offer similar incentives as other states,” Beshear said. “The physical beauty and all of the different attributes that Kentucky has to offer in addition to that will really help put is in the driver’s seat.”

Maybe.

Whether the incentives will attract movies that otherwise would have gone elsewhere without them is difficult to measure, said Ken Troske, an economics professor at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics.

“If that’s the world you’re in where everybody’s doing it, the rational thing for the state to do is to do it,” Troske said. “We may be in a world in which everybody does it, which is great for the movie folks.”

Russ Ray, a University of Louisville finance professor, said tax incentives contribute a small degree to where studios decide to film movies.

“As far as studios are concerned, it’s just not a big determining factor,” Ray said. “And as far as the states are concerned, it’s not a big deal to the state.”

Don Simandl, a local producer who owns Highroad Productions, said he expects the legislation would help him get to work on a movie he’s wanted to make for years.

“I’ve been doing commercials and whatever it takes to get the house payment made,” Simandl said. “Now with this new legislation I can make my movie here in Kentucky.”

Since 1955, there have been 93 films shot either entirely or partially in Kentucky, according to a state release. They include “Rain Man,” ”The Flim-Flam Man” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

In 2007, there were 233 days spent filming in Kentucky which had an economic impact of $3.1 million, Beshear said. Last year, there were 1,076 days of filming in Kentucky, which infused $7.8 million into the state’s economy, Beshear said.

With new incentives, those numbers could increase, Beshear said.

“You’ll see more documentaries made here, more commercials made here,” Beshear said. “Not just feature films, but a lot of different types of filming that will grow in Kentucky and be homegrown as a result of these incentive programs.”


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