Iowa is "quietly" becoming a major filming location for the motion picture industry according to the director of the Iowa Film Office. Two movie productions — "South Dakota" and "Peacock" — recently wrapped up filming in Iowa and Iowa Film Board director Tom Wheeler says the state tax incentives available for moviemakers who choose Iowa as a filming site were a big factor in getting those movies to shoot here.
"It’s certainly a case of projects giving us a second look — and in some cases a first look — in terms of why they would want to come here," Wheeler says. "In the past it, for any jurisdiction, would have been the locations, because it was appropriate to the script. The second consideration would be the infrastructure well. Now it’s the incentive game and we are quietly leading that game."
For example, the movie titled "South Dakota" was actually filmed in Iowa. "Unfortunately that’s the truth of the business these days is the fact that it is a business and producers have to take into consideration all the ways in which they can reduce their costs," Wheeler says, "and when a state steps up to say they’ll help them to reduce that number at the bottom line, the producer can’t refuse it."
A series of tax incentives are aimed at reducing the overall costs of making a film in Iowa, but there’s also a provision that’s specifically for the Iowans who are employed on a movie shot in Iowa. The wages an Iowa resident earns while working on a movie shot in Iowa are not subject to state income taxes.