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Tax breaks for films could bring cash to KC

Posted: 3:41 PM, Apr 01, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-01 23:36:06-04

Kansas City could be on the verge of becoming one of the prime areas for filming everything from commercials to television shows and feature films.

That’s what Stephanie Scupham of the KC Film and Media Office would love to see.

“We work with an average of 10-20 productions a month," she said. "In March alone, we assisted 21 different productions.”

The KC Film and Media Office opened in October of 2014.

“The re-opening was a strong recommendation from the Mayor’s Task Force for the Arts," Scupham said.

In addition to serving as a liaison to any production team, Scupham said the office's other mission is to attract more production to the metro and keep our own talent from leaving.

"It starts with three things," she said. "Communicating that we are open for business, having a legislature that also communicates we are open for business, and lastly, to keep creative content occurring in Kansas City that comes from the inside going out."

One of the biggest challenges to keeping projects from going to other states is the lack of a state incentive.

"A lot of the higher-profile films and TV shows have a lot to do with states that have incentive packages that will work for a production," Scupham said.

One such feature film, Thank You for Your Service, which follows four Kansas City-based veterans, is actually being shot in Atlanta, Georgia.

Producers for the movie went to the peach state because they offer a 30 percent tax credit to production companies.

"But unfortunately, none of those production jobs or acting jobs will be coming from our workforce," said Scupham. "We won't benefit from that."

The last big film to benefit from the Missouri film tax incentive program before it expired in 2013 was the David Fincher thriller Gone Girl, which Scupham said ultimately generated $7.9 million in the Cape Girardeau area. 

Filming in Missouri doesn't just benefit actors and film crews in the state; large productions can also be a boon to local hotels, restaurants and other businesses.

"When American Ninja Warrior came and filmed, they only filmed for two days, but they took up 758 rooms at a local hotel."

Roughly 40 states currently offer some kind of film incentive program.

Locally, Kansas City just passed its first-ever film incentive program, which will kick this May.

Qualifying productions can earn up to 7.5 percent rebate.

A reading for a proposed bill that would re-instate the Missouri film tax incentive was heard earlier this month.

Currently, there are no active film incentives in Kansas.

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Jane Monreal can be reached at jane.monreal@kshb.com .

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