The following letter from Jan Austin was printed today in The Tennessean.
State is losing out on film projects
There has been considerable local and national publicity about the feature film "The Blind Side" starring Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and even UT’s Phil Fulmer.
Sadly for Tennessee, however, the production of this touching true story from Memphis never spent a minute shooting in Tennessee. Why? The answer is simple. The state of Georgia offers film and television incentives that render Tennessee’s recruitment efforts useless.
"The Blind Side" was shot in Georgia while Tennessee’s crew base sat idly by or made efforts to land work elsewhere in the country. This isn’t the first loss of this kind for the state. The list is growing longer by the month.
Yes, Tennessee has film and television incentives. Unfortunately, they are temporary and uncompetitive. Nearly every state bordering Tennessee (not to mention the rest of the country) has now embraced robust incentive packages in an effort to recruit film and television projects to their states.
What do they know that we haven’t learned yet? The answer to that is simple, as well. Film and television projects bring a huge infusion of capital into the communities they select and people are put to work.
It was painful knowing that a red carpet screening of "The Blind Side" was held in Nashville even though the tremendous pool of talent in our state had no part in the making of it.
Executive Director, Association for the Future of Film and Television in Tennessee