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STATEWIDE — What if the next big movie was made in Indiana?

A bill, which was unanimously approved by the Senate, would allow the Indiana Destination Development Corp. to create a film and media incentive program that would hopefully bring more film productions to Indiana.

“We need to set up the program so we can get the application process in place,” said Tony Samuel, who backs Senate Bill 262, to Tony Katz on WIBC. “We can get the word out that Indiana is interested in doing more.”

Samuel said Indiana has tried to bring production companies to the state before but it wasn’t done right. He said there wasn’t much competition, maybe six or eight states. Now, there are 32 states with some form of incentive program. He says Indiana needs an incentive to compete with those states.

He says Indiana has already missed out on some big productions.

“The Madame C.J. Walker story that’s being made in Toronto, a $50 million project, that we tried to get but we couldn’t because there wasn’t a state incentive.”

He also says Hallmark has wanted to make movies in Indiana, but because we don’t have incentives they chose Canada too.

Angelo Pizzo, who wrote”Hoosiers”, which was made in Indiana says he now can’t make a movie here even though his next film takes place in Anderson. He says it’s because there are fewer tax breaks offered by the state of Indiana than other places. Pizzo is choosing to go to Ohio to film the movie.

Samuel says since 2016, Indiana has lost $100 million in business, and that not having this incentive program is also hurting graduating Indiana students who want to break into the industry.

“There’s 19 colleges and universities in Indiana that have film and media schools,” said Samuel. “Some of those are public universities that the state is putting money into, creating these programs, but yet 65% or more of the graduates have to leave the state.”

He says it’s just about finding an incentive that’s fiscally responsible for Indiana and still competitive with the 32 other states.

If signed into law the bill would go into effect July 1, 2021.