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And … action! Mountain Lakes group premieres regional film office

DECATUR – There will be plenty of lights, camera and action across North Alabama, if the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association has anything to say about it.

To help the area reap the financial benefits of the movie and film industry, while showing off the Tennessee Valley, the tourism agency has launched a film office in partnership with the Alabama Film Commission.

The North Alabama Film Commission, led by AMLA’s Membership Recruitment Coordinator Thereasa Hulgan, will market and sell the 16-county North Alabama region to the film and television industry.

“The North Alabama region boasts a wealth of locations including charming historic downtowns, picturesque waterfalls, the world’s largest space museum, diverse landscapes and scenic vistas,” said AMLA President & CEO Tami Reist. “Combine our beautiful assets with cheaper production costs and North Alabama is positioned to be a highly sought-after film location.”

The North Alabama Film Commission will help attract filming by serving as an information center for incentives, locations, industry directory, film guidelines, support and crew services and more.

The North Alabama Film Commission has several functions, including:

  • Marketing North Alabama as a premier film destination for motion picture, television and commercial productions
  • Supporting the Alabama Film Rebate Incentives Program
  • Serving as the central point of contact for film production in North Alabama
  • Functioning as a liaison between film companies and various municipalities in North Alabama
  • Providing location assistance and coordination with local crew and businesses
  • Developing regional film resources including a locations library, crew and supply company database and filming activity reporting and tracking.

“AMLA is excited to announce the launch of a new film commission for North Alabama and I have accepted the challenge of getting this new endeavor for the region off the ground,” said Thereasa Hulgan, AMLA’s membership recruitment and film services coordinator. “We are eager to bring more productions to the North Alabama region and capitalize on the economic benefits and further development that come with the multi-billion dollar film industry.

“The collaboration will create economic benefits for both the film and tourism industries. When filming, production companies will use local crews and businesses for their needs while filling hotels and restaurants.”

A database of film locations is available on the North Alabama Film Commission’s website at www.northalabamafilm.org by scrolling down and clicking on the Locations feature image.

“North Alabama has many beautiful locations waiting to be filmed and we will update the database on a continuous basis,” Hulgan said.

For a list of locations where big screen movies have been filmed in North Alabama, click on the Film Index feature image.

“Filming in Alabama has steadily increased, much in part to tax rebates and incentives introduced in 2009,” said Reist.

Section 41-7A-43 authorizes the Alabama Film Office to award up to $20 million each year in incentives to qualified production companies. Qualified productions include a wide variety of entertainment content, provided that some portion of the project is produced in Alabama. Qualified productions include motion pictures, soundtracks for motion pictures, documentaries, most television programming (except those exclusively for news, weather, sports or financial market reports), sound recordings, videos and music videos, commercials and video games.

Alabama Film Rebate Incentives include:

  • Income Tax Rebate – This rebate equals 25% of certain production expenditures on the project that are incurred in Alabama plus 35% of the payroll paid to Alabama residents. The rebate may be used to offset any Alabama income tax liability of the qualified production company for the tax year during which such expenditures were paid or incurred. If the amount of the rebate exceeds the qualified production company’s Alabama income tax liability, then the excess is refundable.
  • State Sales, Use and Lodging Tax Exemption – A qualified production company that intends to spend certain qualified expenditures in Alabama may be entitled to receive an exemption from the state portion of sales, use, and lodgings taxes. The exemption only applies to the state portion, however – not to the local portion of those taxes. An ALDOR exemption certificate must be presented to Alabama vendors to utilize the exemption.

For more information on film rebates and tax incentives, visit https://www.revenue.alabama.gov/tax-incentives/film-rebate/.

For more information on the North Alabama Film Commission, contact Reist at 800-648-5381 or Hulgan at 256-523-8766 or visit www.northalabamafilm.org.

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