19. Houston, Texas
With the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program having been whittled down to $22 million in 2017, the state isn’t doing much to promote Houston’s ambitions of being a top film production player. Not that Houston’s residents are waiting around; the spirit of DIY moviemaking is strong here. The city also has a film-positive Mayor, Sylvester Turner, who last year hosted a Film and Entertainment Summit with the goal of luring Hollywood players to Houston. More green shoots: The Sam Houston Southwest Film Investment Fund pledged last year to build six studio lots and production offices in the Houston area before 2020. Then there’s Houston’s population of working indie moviemakers who swear by their city.
“I live in Houston, and from the start I wanted my script to showcase the hometown that I love,” says writer-director Scott Brignac about his feature debut, Playing God, which shot over the summer. “Houston has a charm and personality that’s underrated. It’s a huge city with many locations and everyone is welcoming to moviemakers. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to shoot my first feature. One of my favorite days on set was shooting on a rooftop with Michael McKean and Alan Tudyk—I loved every minute of it, the energy of the city, the vibe and the architecture, and then to watch them deliver great performances, mixed with the backdrop of downtown Houston was honestly magical.”