Tennessee film commission revamped, more focus on feature films

Tennessee film commission revamped with more focus on feature film industry

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Jupiter Entertainment produces and distributes many popular shows on cable television. Jupiter Entertainment produces and distributes many popular shows on cable television.
"I think the governor wants to make wise decisions, and more incentives not necessarily going to generate more opportunities for Tennesseans," said Jupiter CEO Stephen Land. "I think the governor wants to make wise decisions, and more incentives not necessarily going to generate more opportunities for Tennesseans," said Jupiter CEO Stephen Land.
Local filmmaker Michael Samstag started the Knoxville Film and Music Festival and says attracting independent films will be more beneficial for the area, since he says filming and post-production can be done locally. Local filmmaker Michael Samstag started the Knoxville Film and Music Festival and says attracting independent films will be more beneficial for the area, since he says filming and post-production can be done locally.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - State leaders are looking at ways to increase the presence of the film industry in East Tennessee.  

The state offers incentives for filmmakers, but many say that's not enough to keep big movies from filming elsewhere.

Some are looking at other ways to help Tennessee gain a foothold within the movie industry. 

Stephen Land, CEO of Jupiter Entertainment was recently appointed to Tennessee's Film, Entertainment and Music Commission, which helps promote economic growth through these industries.  

Jupiter produces and distributes many popular shows on cable television. 

"It's music, entertainment, its feature film and now its digital. I think deciding how to deploy those resources is the trick," Land said.  

Land says the governor told the commission he wants to focus on growing the feature film industry.  

Tennessee offers incentives for film makers, but some say the state loses out to other states offering more lucrative incentives.  

Created in 2006, the state's incentives were designed to bring more film and television productions to Tennessee.  More than $13 million has been appropriated to the state's film incentive program in the 2013-14 state budget.  

There have been differing viewpoints on whether increased incentives would create more economic impact to the entertainment industry in Tennessee.  

"I think the governor wants to make wise decisions, and more incentives not necessarily going to generate more opportunities for Tennesseans," said Land.  

The 2009 film "That Evening Sun" was filmed in Knoxville and won several independent film awards.  

Local filmmaker Michael Samstag started the Knoxville Film and Music Festival and says attracting independent films will be more beneficial for the area, since he says filming and post-production can be done locally.  

"Those are the kinds of things that are better for the state of Tennessee than a movie coming in here, shooting for three weeks, disappearing and the money back to Canada or France, or the post-production is going back to Northern California," Land said.  

Stephen Land sees the challenge as attracting talent, not just for the film industry, but the entire entertainment industry.

"Attracting the producers, writers and storyteller's here is the biggest challenge. It's not an incentive problem, its more human resources," Land said.  

Chattanooga, Memphis and Nashville area governments have their own film commissions, but Knoxville does not.

The East Tennessee Film Commission was funded by the county and city until 2008, when both governments decided not to continue to fund it.

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