On April 3, 2009, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe signed a bill that will create incentives for digital and motion picture production within the state. During this period of economic hardships, the incentive couldn’t come at a better time for Arkansans.

The Digital Product and Motion Picture Industry Development Act will create a 15 percent rebate on all qualified productions in Arkansas. An additional payroll rebate of 10 percent will be granted for certain cast members and technical crew in the production who are full-time residents of Arkansas. In order to be eligible for the incentive, the production cost must exceed $50,000 within six months—making this incentive attainable for even the smallest of productions.

This could certainly lure more moviemakers to the southern state, not only to take advantage of the economic incentive, but to make use of Arkansas’ vast landscapes as well. Arkansas has a storied past of film and television production, including Gone with the Wind (1939), A Face in the Crowd (1957), The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972), Sling Blade (1996), Walk the Line (2005) and Joey Lauren Adams’ directorial debut Come Early Morning (2006).

In fact, Arkansas was one of the first states in the nation to offer an incentive to film and television productions in the early 1980s, although it had since expired.

While many states are calling into question whether government money should be spent on film incentives during these difficult times, and in turn scaling back programs, Arkansas is stepping forward and making friends with aspiring moviemakers and locals in need of employment.

“It is our hope that this incentive will create a variety of production-related jobs for Arkansans,” said Marie Haley, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, “but this is so much more than just film.”

For more information, visit http://arkansasedc.com/business-development/arkansas-film.aspx.