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Feb 5, 2013 12:45 PM by Ryan Haarer

Old Tucson hopeful 'film incentives' bill will pass

TUCSON - Old Tucson Studios recently hosted Quentin Tarantino so he could scout a filming location for his box office hit "Django Unchained." He said it was perfect but film incentives in New Mexico would save his film a fortune. Arizona lawmakers took notice.

"It's something that is an economic driver. it's clean, high paying jobs and we certainly would like to see it back here at old Tucson," said Pete Mangelsdorf, CEO of the Old Tucson Company.

Producers find Arizona to be a perfect landscape to shoot films like "Hot Bath and a Stiff Drink" currently being shot at Old Tucson.

"It's a great revenge western. It's about twin boys who see their family get massacred and 30 years later find the killer," said the film's co-producer William Shockley.

The film would have benefited big time if SB 1242 was the law. The film incentives bill would give a 20 percent tax break to any legitimate production in Arizona, putting the state on a competitive level with California and New Mexico. It puts a 70 million dollar cap on returns and not a dime is paid back until after production, ensuring the film budget is spent in Arizona.

"If you spend a million dollars and you get 200-thousand back, what can you do with those 200-thousand dollars? A ton! it allows you to really bring in a higher caliber cast, more crew members in Arizona to work, more hotels, more location fees, more dry cleaning, more food, more transportation rentals, you name it," said Shockley.

It's a tax return showing up again on the senate table. Last year the bill never even came to a vote. Old Tucson hopes for their sake and for the sake of hundreds of potential jobs the legislature acts.

"Part of the reason it didn't pass last year was to do with some different issues Arizona had with the budget. But we are hopeful that the governor will get on board this year," said Mangelsdorf.

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