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Dec 27, 2012 8:17 PM by Nathan O'Neal

New effort to re-energize film industry in Arizona

TUCSON- A new push to re-energize the film industry in Arizona is calling for the state legislature to pass a bill to give production companies tax incentives to film within the state.

It's been an ongoing battle for the film industry for year in Arizona, with multiple failed attempts to get the state legislature to pass film incentives. Supporters of the bill say the lack of incentives has caused production companies to pass over filming in Arizona.

From adventurous western flicks to comedic coming of age stories, Arizona has a rich history on the silver screen.

Shelli Hall, Director of the Tucson Film Office, said the lack of tax incentives sends production companies away to other states, keeping away much needed jobs.

"New Mexico, when they started their film incentive seven years ago, they have a crew base in the state of only 200 people...now they have one that's over 5,000," Hall told News 4 Tucson.

Hall is hopeful that coupled with a new legislature and some beefed up lobbying efforts, the film incentive program will pass this upcoming session.

"This is our year. The film incentive legislation needs to pass. Arizona needs the jobs and this legislation will bring the jobs," Hall said.

State Senator Al Melvin, a Republican, agrees that movie-making is very important to Arizona's economy.

"We're so ideally suited in terms of weather and geography, it just makes sense that we would level the playing field between ourselves, New Mexico and some other states," Melvin said.

Melvin said he will likely sponosr the bill as it makes it's way through his committee in the Senate, but expect bi-partisan support this year.

The new legislative session begins on the second Monday of January.

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