Missouri’s Lost Film Opportunities

Netflix new series “Ozark” chronicles the dark world of money laundering set in the back drop of the splendid Ozark mountains and its circuitous waterways, but the series didn’t utilize the real Ozarks rise in Southern Missouri and Arkansas, filming largely in Georgia.  While Missouri hosted production for some location shots, the state didn’t benefit from the considerable economic activity of the production.  The Show Me state’s program expired in 2013 as “Gone Girl,” a hit thriller used some of the last credits available to film on location.  While Missouri only offered $4.5 million annually, other states like Georgia and Louisiana have been able to build permanent industries in their respective states.  Those states weren’t mainstays in the industry before tax credit incentives, but credits vaulted them into the national arena with permanent industries, hosting some of the largest productions produced in the country such as “Logan”, “Jurassic World”, “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and many others.

Since the program’s expiration, advocates have consistently worked to reinstate the credit, both in the state legislature and through Missouri film advocacy groups.  They argue that if alternative places like Georgia, New Mexico, Louisiana and others can build a permanent industry apart from Los Angeles and New York, Missouri can as well.  Before the program expired, critically acclaimed films such as “Up in the Air” and “Winter’s Bone,” Jennifer Lawrence’s breakout film, filmed mostly in Missouri and classics like “Escape from New York” and “Manhunter” shot their as well.  As the state’s lawmakers debate different tax credits to continue, film credits remain consistently present in those discussions and if Missouri creates a redesigned program, it can start competing again.