Memphis Mayor Willie W. Herenton, Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton, Jr. and James Tashie, Chairman of the Board of The Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission announce that MovieMaker Magazine has ranked Memphis No. 8 of "The 25 best cities in the U.S. to ride it out as an independent moviemaker this year."
Tashie, senior vice-president of Malco Theatres, Inc., says Memphis’ success is "a combination of the hard work of not only Linn Sitler and Sharon Fox O’Guin of The Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission but also the efforts of The Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission." Tashie also credits the ‘feeling of investment’ of local businesses, government officials, production crew, and citizens.
Memphis’ selection for the 2009 list marks not only its fourth consecutive year on the list, but a jump from its No. 10 rating last year to No. 8. Shreveport and Atlanta are the only other Southern cities to make the Top 10.
During the last year, both state and local cash refunds enhanced local recruitment efforts. Rod Lurie’s feature "Nothing But the Truth" was the first film to shoot in Tennessee under the new state/city/county filming incentives programs. The production received the state filming incentive of 32 percent cash refund of qualified in-state spend and the city/county filming incentive of 50 percent cash refund of wages of local crew trainees.
The innovative Memphis & Shelby County Film Training Program originated through the local film commission and was funded by The Memphis City Council and The Shelby County Commission.
Both Craig Brewer’s soon-to-be-launched MTV webseries, "$5 Cover," and Julius Lewis’ feature film, "N-Secure" will receive not only state filming incentives, but also a 50 percent cash wage refund for providing on-the-job training to individual Memphis and/or Shelby County residents. More than a dozen crew members in these projects were trained in the local program.
In the future, the local public/private economic development agency, Memphis ED, will support several special economic development efforts through grants to the local film commission.
Memphis ED official Reid Dulberger says, “This award shows that we continue to move in the right direction, and that the leadership provided by the City, County, and the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission is paying dividends for our community.”
“It’s good to know that the hard work and efforts of the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission are being recognized nationally,” said Herenton. Added Wharton, “I am thrilled that MovieMaker Magazine is continuing to recognize the benefits of our distinctive culture and diverse character.”
Tennessee Film Commissioner Perry Gibson says, “We enjoy partnering with The Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission to increase film production in the state. We congratulate Memphis on making it to #8.”