The Big Picture: San Antonio's Film Industry
The city has a script to turn San Antonio into a film mecca. Meet the cast who will determine whether the plan is a hit or a dud.
Last spring, the future of the film industry in San Antonio looked bleak. Two key city staff positions, including film commissioner, were vacant. The previously robust Texas film incentive program—offering rebates to filmmakers for projects produced in-state—had been cut by nearly 70 percent by the Texas Legislature. Film professionals were leaving San Antonio to look for work in neighboring cities and states in order to make ends meet.
Enter a cast of local filmmakers, actors, educators and policy makers, all expressing the need for a more unified approach. Following a series of brainstorming sessions with more than 150 community members, the San Antonio Film Commission Strategic Plan was born. The five-year blueprint is designed to harness the city’s workforce along with its historical and scenic backdrops all with the lofty goal of creating one of the most production-friendly cities in the country by 2022.
It isn’t just idle talk, either. In October, the City Council voted to approve the plan and set aside $200,000 to assist in its implementation, starting this year. To put that number into context, it’s more than triple the amount that has been spent in the past to market San Antonio as a location for feature films and TV, as well as to develop the workforce needed to staff production crews. The amount is being added to the $250,000 the Film Commission has traditionally had available each year to incentivize production crews to come to the Alamo City.
If all goes well, the impact will be, well, blockbuster: The city by 2022 will receive an infusion of talent, as well as an economic benefit, according to the Strategic Plan, and San Antonio will be recognized as one of the most production-friendly communities. Here, some of the plan’s biggest players share what needs to happen first.
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