Breaking news in Adams County

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, June 4, 2019

“Ma,” a horror movie filmed in Natchez last year, opened in theaters nationwide last weekend, and another movie began filming in Natchez on Monday.

“Ma” opened to mostly positive reviews nationwide but none-more-so positive than the reviews of local theater-goers.

“Ma,” directed by Tate Taylor and produced by John Norris, stars Academy-Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer, who plays a woman who befriends a group of teenagers before trouble ensues.

Email newsletter signup

One group of local teens that emerged from the darkened theater Friday afternoon said the film was frightening and fun and that they recognized some familiar faces of their classmates in the background of some of the scenes.

Then on Monday morning word spread quickly that film crews were on location at the local Cash Saver in Natchez filming on location for “Breaking News in Yuba County,” also directed by Taylor and starring Academy Award-winning actress Allison Janney.

That’s great news for our community.

Not just because Natchez is in the spotlight as a backdrop for films that theatergoers throughout the nation will enjoy but also that film crews, actors and support people will be in town for weeks working on the project.

While some local people might earn some paychecks directly from the film production, some of the money earned by the film workers who are staying in the area will be turned over in our community at local restaurants, nightclubs, grocery stores and hotels.

That is an economic boost we can certainly appreciate.

Natchez saw an economic boost from the production of “Ma” last year as well.

This year, however, production companies will get a bit of a break in the form of a revived rebate passed by the Mississippi Legislature during the session held earlier this year.

“The renewed incentive brings back a 25% rebate on cast and crew members’ salaries up to $5 million for payroll and fringe benefits paid to out of state, non-resident employees for Mississippi-based film production companies,” said Nina Parikh, director of the Mississippi Film Office. “The 25% rebate on expenditures with Mississippi vendors and 30-35% rebate on payroll for Mississippi residents remains in place.”

Some naysayers might gripe that much of the payroll is going to out-of-state employees but those naysayers are missing the point.

Film production employees and actors who have the experience, knowledge and credentials to work in the film industry are not necessarily local and by offering film companies the incentives in their hiring, the film companies can bring those people to our communities to produce their productions.

Meanwhile, we’re happy to have the film crews, actors and other associated workers in our community spending portions of their paychecks.

I hope we get more film productions now that the incentives are in place in Mississippi.

Natchez is, indeed, ready for its close up.

Scott Hawkins is editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at 601-445-3540 or