Dallas Film Commission director Janis Burklund probably wouldn’t have used the exact words that Mayor Mike Rawlings did last night, when he talked about states that compete with Texas for film projects. But she liked his point about staying competitive in the battle for movie business.
Addressing the opening-night crowd at the Dallas International Film Festival, the Dallas mayor (pictured with his wife Micki) drew a rousing ovation when he said, “I’m a businessman by heart, and we can make money in film in Texas.” A little later he added: “We must lobby to make sure we’re competitive with second-rate states around us.”
Take that, New Mexico and Louisiana!
Rawlings’s lobbying comment referred to Texas’s Moving Picture Incentive Program, a pot of grant money that cash-strapped legislators reduced last session from $60 million to $30 million. Burklund says it simply isn’t enough, because other states are offering filmmakers more dough.
“It’s still a problem for us. Texas needs to step up a bit to get more big projects in,” Burklund said today at the DIFF Chairman’s Luncheon at the Hotel Palomar. “We’re at 15 percent [per total spent per project] at most, and that’s a problem. I’d like some additional money put into our fund, because it’s starting to run out.”
How much more? “We’d like to get $60 million, because some states don’t have any caps on the incentives they provide,” she said.
Noting the dearth of major new film projects in the Lone Star State, Burklund added: “We were counting on another TV series or two this year, but it didn’t happen. We’re still holding on, but it could be a whole lot better.”