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Filmmaking incentives written into law in Indiana

A stage with purple lighting and Heartland Film Festival's logo

A snapshot of last year’s Heartland International Film Festival | Photo by INDYtoday team

Whether you’re a film buff or not, you should know about a monumental stride Indiana made last week when it comes to movie production.

Let us ask you a question: What’s the last big movie that came out of Indiana? We’ll give you some time to mull it over… Okay, was your answer “Hoosiers?” If not, was it “Rudy?” A small percentage of you might have said “Breaking Away,” but our point is, those films were made 28+ years ago.

Fast forward to last Tuesday — Governor Holcomb signed Senate Bill 361 into law, which bolsters the state’s economic development through a series of tax credits. On the surface, tax credits aren’t a very sexy subject, but when a 30% tax credit for media production is involved, we see potential.

The higher the state tax credit percentages are — the more a filmmaker is incentivized to produce their project in that state. Before this new law, the incentive Indiana offered was a 15% credit on qualifying expenses. How did that compare with surrounding states? We’ll be honest — not well. At the time, Michigan was offering up 42%, which is a tough sum to pass up.

Did you know that “Stranger Things” + “Parks and Rec” are set in fictional + real places in Indiana? You can probably see where I’m going with this, but guess what? They weren’t filmed here. Maybe with this new incentive, we’ll be able to stake a claim in the next big series.

Did all this talk of media production make you want to celebrate? Well, you can this Sun., March 27 when the Academy Awards show airs at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Although none of the nominated pictures were made in Indiana, several were featured by Indy’s largest film festival organization — Heartland. Three short films from Indy Shorts + six feature films from the Heartland Film Festival have been nominated for various awards, totaling 33 nominations altogether.

Just think: Maybe the next time Oscar season rolls around, you’ll be able to watch some Hoosier filmmakers make their acceptance speeches.

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