Arkansas economic and tourism officials launched a new alliance — the Arkansas Production Alliance — that pulls regions of the state together to promote the film and digital production industry.
Spending about $24,000 in public and private monies, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Northwest Arkansas Council launched a web site – ArkansasProduction.com – which will house locations for potential production sites and resumes of film crew talent.
The site locations in Arkansas will be part of a global database powered by Reel-Scout (Reel-Scout.com), a film industry content management system.
For the first time in Arkansas history, qualified resident crew and ex-patriots will have the opportunity to submit and update their contact information, credits and resumes for consideration by productions shooting in Arkansas, the alliance said. The locations directory is immediately searchable, while qualified crew members will have 30 days to submit their resumes. That directory will go live on June 30.
“We want our growing talent pool to have the opportunity to fully populate our crew directory before sharing it with the world,” said Arkansas Film Commissioner Christopher Crane. “Ultimately, our alliance will provide producers with seamless, single contact access to everything and everyone our state has to offer.”
“The Arkansas Production Alliance and its private/public partnership is unique in the nation in leading its state’s film industry,” said Reel-Scout President & CEO Ed Henegar. “The Alliance’s turnaround time in creating a unified, statewide, site locations, crew and support database powered by Reel-Scout was one of the fastest in our company’s history and puts Arkansas well on its way to becoming a major destination for film and digital content development.”
Currently, Arkansas offers film and digital production projects a 15% rebate on sales tax for items purchased during in-state filming. Some projects can also qualify f
or an additional 10% payroll tax credit.
And the alliance rolled out a new offering today (Tuesday, May 29) for private businesses. “Preferred vendors” can market themselves to film and digital productions by offering voluntary 15% discounts on their products and services.
“Our support services directory offers the private sector the opportunity to match the state’s 15% rebate for qualified productions with their own 15% discounts as preferred vendors,” said AEDC director Grant Tennille. “Now, if we truly want to be competitive in the production industry, everyone – public and private – has the opportunity to put skin in the game.”
The Arkansas Production Alliance’s “arfilm” logo will make its debut in the closing credits of “Mud,” a $10 million major motion picture written by Little Rock native Jeff Nichols. “Mud” was shot on location last year in southeast Arkansas and stars A-list actors Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey. It has been receiving major critical acclaim.
REGIONALISM AT WORK
Central and northwest Arkansas economic leaders were on-hand for the announcement.
Calling the partnership the “first fruits” of its labor, the two regions touted the alliance as the first of several joint ventures that sprouted from discussions between central and northwest Arkansas last February.
“The super-regional idea is what we're attempting to accomplish with every endeavor that we get into and the film industry is just the first. We will have future things that will deal with transportation, education and economic development,” said Elizabeth Small, president of 50 For The Future, the economic development arm of the Little Rock Chamber. “We no longer are competing as little areas of the state. Our state competes with not just other states, but other countries. It's important for us to have solidarity in a lot of things.”
“Coming out of the meeting between northwest Arkansas and central Arkansas held in February, we were looking for some projects and initiatives to work on right away. This opportunity presented itself,” said Mike Malone, CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council. “We saw it as something that would benefit the economic growth and development of our region, but it's win-win because it helps central Arkansas and all regions of the state.”