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Arts & Culture

San Antonio Has A Plan To Boost Local Film Production

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The San Antonio Film Commission unveiled a bold plan this week to boost local production over the next 5 years. They propose increasing the incentives—or cash rebates—the city provides to companies shooting movies or TV shows here, among other things.

San Antonio’s incentives are currently 2.5 percent of a budget’s production, but producers only qualify for that local incentive if they also qualify for the state incentive. While Texas can offer as much as a 20 percent incentive to productions shot in the state, the Legislature cut the funding to its film incentives program from $90 million to about $30 million last year.

Interim Director of the city’s Department for Culture and Creative Development Debbie Racca-Sittre says that’s part of why a strategic plan was hatched.

“The film industry came to the city and said, ‘We need your help,’” she says. “'We’ve got this big issue with incentives at the state level. We’re dying here. We’re going to all have to leave if something isn’t done.’ And the city recognized it as an economic issue.”

The Commission hopes to better compete with Austin by putting together a full database of film professionals and resources in San Antonio. Racca-Sittre says when out-of-state producers or location scouts visited the Texas Film Commission’s website recently, they’d see more than 3,000 production resources and professionals listed, but just 128 in San Antonio.

Their plan also calls for conducting a needs assessment to see what parts of the workforce are lacking and working with schools and colleges to develop courses and programs to meet industry needs.

The Film Commission hopes to eventually launch a national marketing campaign to advertise its locations and film culture to a wide audience.

The DCCD is asking for an additional $200,000 for the next year to work towards putting the plan in place. City Council will decide whether to approve the proposal in October.