Mississippi aiming to gain movie production credibility

By Hanna McCain
Winston County Journal

Since 1916 Mississippi has been the backdrop for more than 100 features, television shows, and documentaries. Tate

Taylor’s Get On Up, a biopic about the life of James Brown, was no different.
Taylor, a native of Mississippi and producer of the movie The Help and Get On Up, has been a catalyst for the film industry in Mississippi. The premier for Get on Up was held July 27 at the Grandview Cinema in Madison.
Tate Taylor, director and producer along with Chadwick Boseman, the film’s star were in attendance. Also in attendance were Jordan and Jamarion Scott, twins and natives of Natchez, who both played a young James Brown. Both stated that they thought being from Mississippi helped them get their roles in the movie.
Alvin Edney a native of Brandon received the role of Brown’s oldest son.
Edney stated, “I think the director really liked my accent and that probably helped me get this part.” This is Edney’s first role on the movie screen. He states, “My friends were really excited that I had a part in a movie. I have had so much fun. Everyone has been so nice to me and treated me like family.”
Governor Phil Bryant was also on hand at the red carpet premier. “We have really stepped up our incentives to encourage directors and producers to film in Mississippi.” Governor Bryant and Director Tate Taylor worked closely together to make the film a reality.
The Mississippi Motion Picture Incentive Program provides a cash rebate on eligible expenditures and payroll and provides sales and use tax reductions on eligible rentals/purchases. This program is available for nationally distributed motion pictures, television programs, DVDs, documentaries, short films, commercials, video games, including animation and production utilizing new technology. National distribution includes theatrical, broadcast, festival screening, streaming video, and internet delivery.
There is a $50,000 minimum Mississippi investment (local spend) per project. There is a $10 million per project rebate cap. There is a $20 million annual rebate cap. (The Mississippi state fiscal year is July 1-June 30.) There is no minimum requirement for production days or percentage of production spend.
“Not only have we stepped up our incentives, but we have been aggressive about encouraging film production here,” stated Governor Bryant.
Hinds Community College recently introduced its film and video technology program. The program is part of the state’s efforts to build Mississippi’s film industry workforce. Graduates will be qualified to work on feature films, television commercials, music videos, documentaries and Internet multimedia projects.
The 2011 opening of the updated and enhanced Mississippi Film Studios at Canton provided the state’s first purpose-built production facility. The complex sits on 31 secure acres with a massive, 36,000-square foot stage, which has 40’ clearance to the ceiling.
Get On Up has already brought in $30,000 for Mission Mississippi, which is a children’s charity organization. All proceeds from the premier were given to this charitable organization.
Get On Up is based on the life story of James Brown. The film gives audiences a look inside all parts of his life- the good and the bad. The film features actors Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Craig Robinson, Octavia Spencer, Lennie James, Tika Sumpter, and Jill Scott.
Get On Up will open in theatres across the country August 1.

Hanna McCain/Staff Director Tate Taylor with Chadwick Boseman at the Mississippi Premier of Get On Up

Hanna McCain/Staff
Director Tate Taylor with Chadwick Boseman at the Mississippi Premier of Get On Up