Film incentives are good for state

Published 12:01 am Friday, February 15, 2019

Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions released a trailer Wednesday for a new horror film titled “Ma” that opens in theaters on May 31.

The film looks scary and fun and will probably do well at the box office, especially considering it stars Academy Award-winning actress, Octavia Spencer in the title role.

Based on the trailer, the story revolves around a relationship between a group of teenagers and a woman who calls herself “Ma,” whom the teenagers meet while asking her to buy alcohol for them.

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Trouble ensues.

While the story is set in Ohio, Natchez locals know the movie was filmed in and around Natchez early last year.

People familiar with Natchez will recognize many of the locations featured in the trailer and undoubtedly featured in the full-length movie.

People from Natchez also will recall the economic boost the film’s production gave the community with cast and crewmembers living on location, shopping locally and spending time in the community.

The film brought a much-needed boost to the area and was well appreciated.

In order to keep the film industry interested in using not only Natchez but also many other great Mississippi locations, we urge Mississippi lawmakers to support measures to restore film incentives that were discontinued when they expired in 2017. The incentives give tax rebates on salaries paid to out-of-state workers who come into the state to work on films among other incentives.

It is shortsighted to say we would rather have in-state workers do those film jobs since most of those jobs require a skillset few locals possess.

Meanwhile, bringing in out-of-state workers who do possess the necessary skills contributes to the overall economic boost a film production can bring to an area and the state.

Providing competitive incentives to filmmakers could keep Mississippi in the spotlight and bring in much-needed economic boosts to communities such as Natchez.

Just ask “Ma.”