Lights, camera, action!

Local communities of Madison,
La Grange welcome film crews

Production to begin soon
of a movie to be filmed in Madison

Small towns in Indiana and Kentucky are moving quickly to capitalize on economic development opportunities arising from movie production companies in search of locations to make their next films. These include La Grange, Ky., and Madison, Ind.
The movies “Monumental,” “What Lies Ahead” and “Above Suspicion” were recently produced in Kentucky. The Motion Picture Association of America shows the economic impact of the industry in Kentucky at $157.25 million in production and distribution related jobs, plus 985 production related jobs.
The state of Kentucky recognizes the economic impact the motion picture industry can have for its state. which is why Kentucky offers a tax credit for motion pictures, television and commercial production as an incentive to attract filmmakers. Oldham County, Ky., has recently experienced the impact of movie production in their community.

Photo courtesy of Karen Eldridge

A film crew prepares to shoot a movie scene on La Grange, Ky.’s Main Street. Oldham County provided the backdrop for several movies in recent years.

Karen Eldridge, executive director of the La Grange Crossroads District, the city’s Main Street Program, said two of the most recent movies filmed in La Grange were the Hallmark movies – “The Ultimate Legacy” and “JL Ranch.”
“The Ultimate Legacy” was filmed in 2014-15. It was the first Hallmark movie filmed there. It tells the adventure of a young man who must prove himself worthy to receive an inheritance left by his grandmother. During the filming of the movie, many local residents enjoyed coming out in the evenings to watch the filming.
The second Hallmark movie was filmed in 2015 and released in 2016. It starred Jon Voight, Melanie Griffith and James Caan. “JL Ranch” is about a veteran rancher that takes on bureaucracy and an old enemy to save his family’s ranch. During filming, the stars and film crews stayed in Oldham County.
The community had fun watching for Voight sightings around the county. Voight was extremely gracious, they said. Many local businesses and people were part of the movies. All began with the initiative and simple connection of an individual, Taylor Rinehart.
Rinehart owns The Treasured Child toy store in La Grange. She heard that Voight was having lunch at The Red Pepper Deli, so she went over to meet him, and the rest is history.
The Hallmark movies were entirely filmed in Oldham County. Other movies filmed in part there include “Lawn Dogs” (1997) and “Elizabethtown” (2005). Also, the Kentucky Lottery filmed a commercial at the Friends & Fiber store on La Grange’s Main Street last year.
Projects like this boost the economy by supporting local businesses and employing local talent.”

Photo by Rhonda Pennington

“Acapulco” film director Lana Read and script writer David Hughes visited with Madison, Ind., residents Oct. 18 to discuss their plans to begin shooting the movie soon.

Having a commission or advisory board would provide a local liaison for the production to the community, Nyberg says. This was recently demonstrated with Pigasus Productions, producing the “Good Catholic,” which won the Santa Barbara Film Festival.
An assortment of local organizations came together to assist them with the filming of the screenplay, written by Southwestern High School student Kira Daniels. When the production company came to town, the work with local organizations provided them a fast track in finding locations, materials, production props and equipment. It also connected them with local people who could help with their needs from lodging, services and food.
A commission or an advisory board would have responsibilities to ensure Madison is film ready, Nyberg said, much like saying a site is shovel ready for the building industry. Another important task of a commission or advisory board would be developing a comprehensive site catalogue with a digital collection of sites and natural amenities of the area. This would be like the one VisitMadison Inc. produced in the early 1990s.
The one produced in the ’90s would provide a good start, but it would need to be updated to reflect the many things that have been improved since it was developed, officials say. Also needed would be a comprehensive talent catalogue. And a digital collection showcasing the wide assortment of the creative community members would benefit production.
Affirming a production would be a good experience for the community and  that the community is viewed in a good light, officials said. It would be important to hire local  businesses, goods and services, and talent. Providing opportunities to advance arts and culture tourism efforts while protecting natural and built environment from damages.
Currently, the state of Indiana does not offer incentives to produce films in Indiana. A commission or advisory board could address in-kind or possible financial incentives if available to attract film, video and multimedia production in the local area.
“The exposure of our community to the public through film can be a huge marketing opportunity for awareness, residential relocation, tourism and economic development,” Nyberg said. “Film production gives us a chance to show our natural and built assets on a larger scale. It also brings opportunities for our artists and our large concentration of creative people as we have a large collection of talented artists and technical artists who are readily available to assist with a production.”
Film Production can also benefit the local businesses, she said. “A film can bring lasting effects to a community.” 
The Motion Picture Association of America’s recent data for Indiana shows that the economic impact for motion pictures and the television industry is responsible for 7,018 direct jobs and $241.06 million for both production and distribution related jobs. Plus, it provides 1,493 production related jobs. During 2015-16 six movies and four TV series were produced in Indiana.
“Columbus,” “The Good Catholic,” “The Stray,” “Bethlehem” and “Roshtalivik” were the movies produced. The TV series produced were “60 Days IN,” “Good Bones,” “Kart Life” and “A Season with Notre Dame Football.”
Currently, most states have a film commission to attract motion media crews, movies, television and commercials. How the commission supports communities varies by state. Tax incentives are offered by some states plus some sites provide access to digital catalogues of resources and locations. They offer support so production work is completed smoothly.

The MPAA information showed that the total film and television industry supports 1.9 million U.S. jobs and $121 million in wages. Industry jobs are producing, marketing, manufacturing, and distribution of motion pictures and television series. This is 48 percent higher than the national average and employing more people than utilities, crop production and metal manufacturing.

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