With a handful of film projects on the line, Iowa legislators are talking about providing tax credits to filmmakers shooting movies here. Iowa Film Office manager Tom Wheeler says the state doesn’t charge when movie-makers shoot on state property and there’s no registration required, but that’s not enough for today’s Hollywood.
"The competitive nature of the industry has spilled to all of the states across the country and, in fact, around the world," Wheeler says. "In the Midwest region, Iowa is one of only three states that (doesn’t) have dedicated programs."
Wheeler says the tax credits are crucial. "There are at least four projects in the wings that are seriously considering Iowa," Wheeler says. "With the incentives, it’s about a 95 percent chance (of landing the projects). Without the incentives, we’re at 50/50." The bill approved this week by the House Ways and Means Committee would provide a tax credit for the goods and services filmmakers buy in Iowa — things like hotel rooms and food for the crew.
The state will reap huge financial rewards in return, according to Wheeler."Everybody makes money when the (movie) business comes to town," Wheeler says. "…The promotion that we get from it is utterly priceless. We all know that ‘Field of Dreams’ is a well-known movie, but the phrase, ‘If you build it, they will come,’ is a global phrase and it is synonymous with Iowa." The bill would not extend those tax breaks to producers making X-rated or obscene movies, however.