Alabama’s newest Film Incentive Bill, signed into office in March, will not only offer tax incentives for filmmakers, but increased opportunities for film students as well.
Gov. Bob Riley announced Wednesday, Aug. 19, that “Lifted” will be the first movie to receive incentives as a means of attracting more film productions to Alabama.
“Everyone will be very excited about the fact that we have a way to attract films from the outside and, more importantly, encourage filmmaking from Alabama filmmakers,” said Hugh Hunter, of Hunter Films, who is producing the film “Lifted” in Birmingham. “With more activity, it will give students more opportunities.”
Sen. Del Marsh and Rep. Richard Lindsey worked on signing the Film Incentive Bill to boost Alabama economically by helping to increase tourism and education.
“It’s not about a hard figure on jobs, but increasing investment in Alabama,” said Todd Stacey, press secretary for the governor’s office.
Lindsey was unavailable for comment, but a spokesman from his office confirmed that Marsh and Lindsey are building a new curriculum to offer to universities for students majoring in film that will incorporate education through working with film crews.
The curriculum is something that will have to be worked on for a while longer because it is too late to get passed in legislation for this academic year, said Eva Golson, director of the Mobile Film Office.
However, it is something for students to look forward to, Golson said.
“If there are students who are interested in the film industry they need to get a good taste of it,” Golson said. “You need to work on set and make sure this is what you want to do and gain insight on what part of industry you are really interested in.”
Martin Morrow, a senior in radio, television and film, said he would like to see more opportunities for film students than what the University has to offer.
Morrow, who is interested in film, theater and comedy, went to the open casting for the film “Lifted.”
The movie “Lifted,” produced by Deborah Del Prete from Coronet Films, is about a singer who is trying to follow his dream and overcome difficulties in life.
The 2003 American Idol winner, Ruben Studdard, is expected to be cast in a feature role.
The movie will employ more than 160 Alabama residents and provide opportunities for students to gain experience by working on the film.
“Learning is what makes the film business real,” Hunter said. “Gaining an overall view about the film business is what’s important.”
Hunter’s company doesn’t just encourage students to work on film sets, they also give them opportunities by providing internships for roles in front of and behind the camera.
Hunter said that by taking an internship it is more about learning than it is about making money by just taking a job and working from the ground up.
“Connect yourself in a way that some people don’t always think about,” Hunter advises would-be filmmakers. “Getting involved with film festivals is a good way to network by volunteering and getting to know people. There is a camaraderie there.”
Martin McCaffery, director of the Capri Community Film Society, a non-profit organization whose theater runs alternative independent films located in Montgomery, also offers an organization for people interested in the Alabama film industry.
McCaffery said people have been making films in Alabama for a while and that the state has a lot to offer to out-of-state film productions.
“(Alabama) certainly has people who are willing to learn and willing to work,” McCaffery said.