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More Movies, Music in Mississippi: Efforts to Continue Next Legislative Session

JACKSON, Miss.–Getting more movies to film in the Magnolia State, it’s what the legislature can do that state Rep. Rita Martinson (R-Madison) talked about Tuesday on the Gallo Radio Show. She wants to see some sensible incentives in place to attract not just movies, but music venues and recording.

Right now, there’s a casting call for a movie being made in the state by “The Office” star John Kransinski (Jim), call “The Hollars”. Next week is the premiere of the James Brown biopic “Get on Up” in Natchez and Madison.

Mississippi is attracting a number of independent films, too. It’s all thanks to the efforts of the Miss. Development Authority, the Miss. Film Office and people like director Tate Taylor, with ties to the state.

Martinson said she wants to see Mississippi as a more attractive place to capitalize on a stream of Hollywood types who don’t necessarily want to make Hollywood quality movies in Hollywood.

The best way to attract them to Mississippi: financial incentives. That could mean tax breaks and the Mississippi legislature may take action in the 2015 session.

“We passed a bill that puts together a study committee that puts together all the people involved in the incentives that we offer different entertainment venues,” said Martinson, chair of the House Tourism Committee.

“The first meeting is next week. We will be trying to put together some sensibility to the way we offer these incentives, so that it’ll be fair and we can add the music industry, which is not included at the moment.”

Right now, some music venues are starting without much state help. The Riley Center in Meridian offers a slate of artists each season, which includes the Heart Behind the Music tours, John Prine, Don McLean (last season) and many other A and B list artists at the 1,000 seat venue.

Ardenland concerts in the capital city often feature up-and-coming artists at places like Dueling Hall and Hal and Mal’s.

Casinos are often spots for country and rock artists.

There may also be upgrades coming at the Miss. Coliseum, which may make it a more attractive venue for concerts. Last year the coliseum hosted Elton John.

Jackson in the past several years has also been trying to formulate a plan for an arena-type venue that could attract artists like The Rolling Stones or Eagles, artists which have made stops in cities like Memphis and New Orleans which have 20,000 seat venues.

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