Nebraska-born director Alexander Payne is no stranger to movie sets. The filmmaker has filmed several of his films in his home state and he wants to do it again with his next film. Nebraska doesn't offer tax incentives for film production, so budget-minded movie studios are pressuring him to film in Kansas.
"Frankly, I am hard pressed to offer resistance," he told Nebraska legislators Tuesday, citing the state's 20 percent tax rebate for entertainment production.Payne and Nebraska-based actor John Beasley are lobbying the state to offer financial incentives to bring more of Hollywood to the Plains.
* Lincoln Sen. Colby Coasch introduced legislative bill 863 into the Nebraska Unicameral this session. It would encourage more film and commercial productions through a local option economic development incentive program.
* The "local option" would give cities the ability to use economic development funds to attract productions instead of controversial tax deductions. Residents would have to vote whether the funds should go to movie productions.
* Currently, 40 states offer some sort of tax incentive for film production. Iowa is one but the program was put under review in 2010 after an audit found $26 million in tax credits were misused.
* Fifty-nine Nebraska communities have established local economic development funds. Valentine used some of the funds to attract the independent film "Aviation Cocktail" to the area. The community spent $5,000 on production and earned somewhere $40,000 to $45,000 from the production, according to Sen. Coasch.
* Omaha-based Beasley is readying production on a new film with an Omaha slant. He won't film in Omaha, though. "Ours is a modest $12.5 million budget," he said, according to Omaha World Herald. "We want to shoot in Omaha because it's a unique Omaha story. But our investors insist that we make our money go as far as it can go."
* Payne wants to shoot his upcoming film "Nebraska" around the state within the next year. It's likely a good majority of it will be filmed in Kansas if no incentives are passed.
* The Nebraska legislature hasn't voted on the bill. Several similar efforts have failed in prior sessions.
Meagan Morris is a freelance journalist, native Nebraskan and graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She focuses her work on arts, entertainment, culture and women's issues. Follow her on Twitter @upsidemeagan.