Another “Y’allywood” outpost ?
There is another movie being filmed in Birmingham. Could the Magic City and Alabama someday be another “Y’allywood” like our neighbor, Georgia? The filming of feature film Moose will begin in Birmingham this March.
Birmingham stands in for LA
Remember Limp Bizkit? The band’s frontman Fred Durst has written and is directing the film, Moose with John Travolta in the lead and a cast that includes Devon Sawa, Jessica Uberuaga, Josh Richman and Jacob Grodnik.
Moose is the darkly funny story of a rabid, out of control movie fan who ends up stalking and ultimately destroying his favorite action-hero’s life. Though the movie is set in Los Angeles, 90% of the filming will occur in Birmingham.
Travolta filmed a role here in Alabama in 2017 when he played a veteran race car driver in the movie “Trading Paint.”
“Coming from LA to Alabama & talking to the locals is so refreshing. They look you in the eyes & ask you how you’re doing before starting a conversation. They say please & thank you & appear to mean it. All done in their very soothing southern drawl. It’s nice. And the food…” #devonEsawa.
Just an hour or two over the border, our neighboring state, Georgia has become the Hollywood of the South. The state has a very similar landscape to Alabama; a major international airport and good infrastructure, plenty of unique settings from rural to urban.
How did Georgia’s film industry grow to 320 films and TV shows being filmed there last year? With more than 70 TV productions in the state such as “The Walking Dead,” “Stranger Things” and “MacGyver.”
Tax credits…not the most exciting thing to talk about, but over the past 10 years Georgia has dished out more than $1 billion in tax credits to movie companies like Sony and Disney, in a program that is one of the most generous in the world. Is that something we should be considering here in Alabama?
In a recent article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal announced film and television productions generated $9.5 billion in economic impact in fiscal 2017. This includes $2.7 billion in direct spending.
I took a look at Alabama’s film commission’s website, designed to attract film productions. The tax incentives, labor and immigration policies are there. The list of current productions is way out of date. Though they do have a video.
Does Birmingham have a chance at grabbing a bit of that economic impact?
Maybe with the efforts of groups like Film Birmingham, an initiative of Create Birmingham we might see more activity. Film Birmingham serves as the film office for the Greater Birmingham region. They scout and provide locations, crew base, resources, permit information and a guide to the incentives Alabama will give for filming in our state. According to Film Birmingham’s web site:
“A qualified production company may be eligible to receive a rebate from the State of Alabama for a portion of the expenditures incurred for production activity. The amount of the rebate equals 25% of certain production expenses plus 35% of payroll paid to Alabama residents.”
Check out the Film Birmingham site to see calls for extras and crew for the film Moose and to catch up on film news in and around the city.