I hope you saw the editorial in Sunday's Democrat about this very issue. For many reasons, Natchez is a great location for making movies. The State of Mississippi recently passed a very attractive incentive package. The only problem is we have to market ourselves.
I recently received a copy of the Location and Production Guide 2007-2008 put out by the Mississippi Film Office. There is a list of movies filmed in Mississippi since 1916. The years 1993-2001 were banner years - 6-10 movies a year. There was only one movie each year in 2004-2006. What happened?
You can blame it all on Louisiana. In 2002, Louisiana became the first state to offer a tax incentive for movie production. That year, $11.8 million was spent filming movies and TV shows in Louisiana. The next year, the total jumped to $212 million. In 2005, the figure was $514 million. Today, Louisiana is third in the country in film production, after California and New York. Louisiana modeled itself after Canada, which had $430 million in 1998 before they introducted tax incentives. In 2005, Canada had $1.3 billion in film production. Five years later, Mississippi is joining in - along with 34 other states. However, I understand that ours is more generous and flexible.
Somebody in Louisiana was smart! But I bet it wasn't easy to get that passed. I bet political critics and opponents were complaining about the money they spent traveling to Hollywood. It's just like what is happening to Sammy Cauthen (Supervisor 1). No matter what Sammy, the paper, or anyone else says, these naysayers keep carrying on.
Here's a direct quote from a flyer that just arrived at my house from Mike Lazarus:
Pleasure trips have been passed off as recruiting industy.
(This is in all caps and bold print.)
What an idiot! What does he know about recruiting industry? Nothing! Sammy's been in the movie business for years, and he knows lots of people. Sending him to Hollywood to sell Natchez was one of the smartest things we've done.
By the way, that Mississippi Location & Production Guide has a whole section of Production Personnel & Services, which tells movie producers who they can contact for everything from Accountants to Video Resources. Guess who listed under Animals/Wranglers? Of course, it's Sammy.
If we want to improve the economy of this County, we've got to be willing to be creative. And we've also got to be willing to make an investment in our future. Sammy Cauthen and Joe Eidt are absolutely the right choices to move Adams County forward. (If you want to remain an old stick in the mud, vote for those other guys.)