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  • Mindy Raymond

Hollywood in ET scarce, while indie movies rule

Bigfoot, sharks in 3-D and real-life monsters are being filmed in Northeast Texas, where Hollywood features such as "Bernie" are rare sightings amid a bubbling brew of independent films.

"Yes, there are a lot of indies," said Belinda Blalock Brunson, deputy director of the Northeast Texas Regional Film Commission. "We'd like to get some big-budget ones if we could."

The commission is a 21-county nonprofit entity and sanctioned by the governor's Texas Film Commission, charged with helping filmmakers find crews, equipment and friendly host cities. The big-budget features, if and when they look at Texas, generally don't need the commission's help — the little guys do.

"It's more the independent films that require help, because we know how to find things — equipment, locations," Brunson said. "It's slowed down quite a bit, because when Greg Abbott took over (as governor), he slashed a lot of the funds."

Those incentives mostly were rebates on certain expenses. Supporters claimed they boosted local economies when moviemakers were eating and sleeping in town. Incentives also required that a percentage of all casts and crews live in the Lone Star State.

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