Film industry

Portsmouth lawmakers want to bolster Virginia’s film industry – The Virginian-Pilot

Of the. Don Scott wants to see more movies shot in Virginia.

“I think we have so much talent here,” he said. “And we have natural topography, between mountains and beaches, that we can do a lot with.”

Scott introduced a bill in the recent legislative session intended to attract filmmakers to the Commonwealth. The bill would have increased tax credits for film production from $6.5 million to $15 million and would have authorized the issuance of credits for multi-year periods.

Senator Louise Lucas introduced a companion bill in the state Senate. But the two lawmakers, both Portsmouth Democrats, later called for the measures to be reversed until 2023.

“There were skeptics on both sides of the aisle; a lot of people are worried about giving tax credits,” Scott said. “They want to make sure we’re going to get a return on investment.”

The delegate said he realized he needed to do more research – but he’s not giving up. He plans to find out more about the matter this summer and try again next year.

Scott believes the development of a robust film industry would be beneficial as it would create jobs, support existing businesses and attract new talent.

“These creators come in and they create climates for businesses to thrive and they create climates where young people want to live,” he said.

With Virginia’s diverse landscapes and historical settings, Andy Edmund said many filmmakers would love to work here. Edmund is the director of the Virginia Film Office, which serves as a liaison between the government and the film industry.

“We’re the perfect platform for storytellers and they love coming to film in Virginia,” Edmund said. “But locations alone won’t attract work; much of it is driven by tax credits.

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Some recent projects in the state include “Dopesick,” an award-winning limited series for Hulu, and “The Walking Dead: World Beyond,” a television series for AMC. Both projects were filmed in Richmond, as well as several other central Virginia locations.

But Edmund said Virginia often loses projects to other states that offer better incentives.

One of the biggest blows: losing the 2017 film “Hidden Figures”, which was based on the true story of three African American mathematicians who worked at the Langley Research Center in Hampton.

“We had started helping them figure out how to film it at Langley in Hampton,” Edmund said. “But we didn’t have enough tax incentives, so they went to Georgia. It was heartbreaking for me because it was such a fabulous script and movie.

Edmund said he hopes the state won’t lose such projects in the future.

“We are grateful for all the tools provided to us to bring this work to Virginia,” he said.

Katie King, [email protected]757-835-1487