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New law boost state's film-making incentives

JACKSON — Mississippi’s film industry recently received a major boost in the form of new legislation that increases the state’s cash rebate incentive program.

HB 1161, which was introduced by Rep. Diane Peranich, who chairs the House Tourism Committee, was signed by Gov. Haley Barbour last month. Effective immediately, it increases the rebate by 5 percent and expands the definitions of qualified distribution and production to include new technology.

The legislation increases the current rebate to 25 percent for qualified local spend and non-resident cast and crew payroll and to 30 percent for Mississippi resident cast and crew payroll. The per project rebate cap remains at $8 million (an approximate $30 million local spend) and the annual cap remains at $20 million.

The expanded program added streaming video and Internet delivery as qualified distribution. New technology areas, such as animation, 3D applications, video game cinematics, visual effects and motion capture within the fields of feature film, television, commercials and games, were added as qualified production.

In addition to the new incentive program, Mississippi Film Studios at Canton is set to open in this month. As the state’s first purpose-built production facility, the complex sits on 31 secure acres with a massive 36,000-square foot stage, which has 40-foot clearance to the ceiling. The facility will be another valuable resource for film and television production businesses.

During fiscal year 2010, the Mississippi Film Office coordinated the activities of more than a dozen productions, including films, documentaries, music videos, short films and commercials.

Source: Mississippi Development Authority

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