WICHITA, Kansas – A film being shot at Joyland Amusement Park caught the attention of many Wichitans this week.
Many lined the sidewalk outside the park, hoping to catch a glimpse of the production crew, as they were shooting some sort of movie.
The curiosity of many onlookers brings up the question, why aren’t more films being shot here and across the state?
Jason Opat, with Bethany College at Mindfire says there are films being shot in Wichita and across the state.
However, he points out, most of those are either independent or lower budget films.
“Wichita has a lot of film making going on, it’s just not as prevalent as Transformers or Iron Man or something of that magnitude to where you would shut down an entire city,” said Opat.
The reason Kansas doesn’t attract the multi-million dollar productions companies is because they don’t offer the tax breaks, or film credits like many other states do.
“The state of Kansas had a tax credit for filmmakers up until about two years ago and at that point it was also reduced for a little bit,” said Opat.
The film credits were passed in 2007 by then Governor Kathleen Sebellius.
The tax break offered a 30-percent credit of everything production crews spent to make the film here.
However, after six years, state lawmakers let the credit expire.
“Primarily, Kansas tax credit wasn’t as effective as others because you couldn’t get a rebate, it couldn’t be transferred from the filmmakers business to a large corporation of some sort that could use that tax credit,” said Opat.
Regardless, Opat stressed the need to build up the film industry.
“We can have a work force for when those companies call us, our local workforce can be used for those films and the less they have to fly here and ship here the more films will come here,” said Opat.
Kansas isn’t the only state to eliminate the film tax incentive program.
In the past three years, Missouri, Wisconsin and Connecticut nixed the idea.
In that time, no other states have added the program.
However, states like Nevada, Oregon, New Mexico and Texas expanded existing ones.
Still, the majority of states continue to offer film tax incentives.
Supporters claim shooting on location brings economic benefits to a state.
USA Today says film productions spend heavily with local vendors for such things as lumber, dry cleaning and lighting, for example.
Big spenders when it comes to the program are New York, Louisiana and Georgia, who all spend hundreds of millions of dollars on film incentives.