MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Monday Night, Governor Bill Lee unveiled his spending priorities and other plans for the upcoming year. The Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission is hoping to grab a piece of the budget to create more incentives for TV and filmmakers.
This year MovieMaker Magazine put Memphis the highest it’s been as top city to live and work as a Moviemaker. Ranking the city 8th out of a list to 20.
“This is the highest we’ve ever been and I think the first time we made the list it was 2006,” said Linn Sitler, with the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission
It comes after a big production year in 2019 with NBC’s Bluff City Law filming it’s entire first season in its namesake city along with the second installment of Hallmark’s Christmas at Graceland.
Still, missing state incentives pull potential work away from Tennessee.
“I came to LA because I was always told that that is where the film making and infrastructure is,” said John Cerrito.
The lack of funds kept Memphis born filmmaker, Cerrito’s production of his debut film “The Way You Look Tonight” in California.
I actually originally wanted to shoot my feature in Memphis but I got a bunch of incentives and funding and resources in LA that made it kind of hard not to," said Cerrito.
“We will have all the projects we want if we can get the state film incentive up,” said Sitler.
Sitler says the Bluff City is losing a lot of money and jobs because of the state’s hesitance to incentivize film projects. This week she and other city leaders will be fighting for more money to compete for more to be filmed in Tennessee.
“What we are asking for is realistic in a state that has no income tax. We can’t expect no cap on the fund but we do need $10-20 million. Preferably $20 million,” said Sitler.
Incentives that are not tax cuts to Hollywood, rather the creation of jobs, tourism and infrastructure for Memphis and the state.
Sitler says she likely won’t know how much money the commission will receive to lure projects to Tennessee until April.