Mississippi Film Office celebrates 40th anniversary

The award film, The Help, was one of the many films shot in Mississippi. Written by Jackson-native Kathryn Stockett, The Help starred Viola Davis (l)and Octavia Spencer (r).

From The Mississippi Link Newswire

JACKSON – On Jan. 17, the Mississippi Film Office celebrated its 40th anniversary with a special birthday cake celebration in the rotunda of the Mississippi State Capitol. Governor Phil Bryant also signed a proclamation declaring Jan. 17 as “Mississippi Film Day.”

The state boasts one of the five oldest film commissions in the world.

The award film, The Help, was one of the many films shot in Mississippi. Written by Jackson-native Kathryn Stockett, The Help starred Viola Davis (l)and Octavia Spencer (r).

The Mississippi Film Office, part of the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division, has been an integral part of the state’s economic development and tourism efforts since 1973. In addition to recruiting film projects to the state, the film office provides location scouting, logistical guidance, and research services. Through grants and other support, the film office sponsors film festivals and educational seminars, both in state and out of state. The Mississippi Film Incentive program is one of the most competitive in the country.

“Since the creation of the Mississippi Film Office, film productions in the state have accounted for over $200 million in direct expenditures and have had an impact in all of our 82 counties,” said MDA Tourism Director Malcolm White. “The film industry is a valuable economic development engine for Mississippi and provides tangible benefits for our citizens who work directly and indirectly with the industry.”

With the support of the Mississippi Film Office, more than 50 films, 21 television movies, 26 documentaries, two television series, dozens of episodes of television programs, countless short films and hundreds of commercials and music videos have been filmed in Mississippi.

Ward Emling, manager of MDA Tourism’s Bureau of Film and Cultural Heritage, noted, “The film industry creates great opportunity for Mississippi on so many levels. Its economic impact is widespread through the community. It creates jobs. It spurs community development. It provides global exposure for our state. Films produced in Mississippi have not only presented the work of Mississippi writers and highlighted the contributions of notable Mississippians, but these projects have brought some of the world’s greatest actors and directors to the state.”

The Mississippi film industry continues to grow in a number of areas. In 2011, Hinds Community College introduced its film and video technology program. The program is part of the state’s efforts to build Mississippi’s film industry workforce. Graduates will be qualified to work on feature films, television commercials, music videos, documentaries and Internet multimedia projects.

The 2011 opening of the updated and enhanced Mississippi Film Studios at Canton provided 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’ clearance to the ceiling.

Also in 2011, the Mississippi State Legislature passed new legislation to enhance the state’s film incentive program. The legislation increased the film rebate to 25% for qualified local spend and non-resident cast and crew payroll and to 30% for Mississippi resident cast and crew payroll. The revised legislation makes Mississippi more competitive for a variety of film projects.

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