By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog
Nearly a year ago, award-winning Hollywood director Alexander Payne went to the Nebraska Capitol to lobby lawmakers to start giving moviemakers subsidies to film in Nebraska.
The Greek filmmaking god – he’s the man behind movies such as Sideways, The Descendants and About Schmidt – told state lawmakers he’d like to make his next movie in Nebraska (the movie is, after all, called “Nebraska”) but might not because the state didn’t offer any film incentives.
Payne is a Nebraska native who has filmed three movies in Nebraska already, but he told lawmakers he was being pressured to make “Nebraska” in… Kansas, which already had film incentives.
“Frankly, I am hard pressed to offer resistance,” he told lawmakers.
The bill sailed through the Legislature, authorizing cities to reimburse businesses for giving discounts on film production purchases.
Fast forward to today: Payne is filming parts of the movie in Nebraska, but he didn’t apply for the incentives.
Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash, a lawmaker and sometime actor who sponsored the incentives bill, said because the bill didn’t become law until summer, “He needed to get started filming and didn’t have enough prep time to get the materials he would need to apply.”
Instead, Coash said one community gave him a $5,000 gift certificate to use for supplies, and businesses were making “a lot of in-kind donations.”
“Everybody cut him a deal,” Coash said.
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