Eureka Springs eyes tax breaks for filmmakers

EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — Eureka Springs leaders are considering a plan to provide additional tax breaks to film companies in hopes of luring moviemakers to the quirky mountainside town.

The Eureka City Council is beginning preliminary talks this week on the plan to give tax breaks to companies that film movies in their town. If approved, Eureka Springs would become the first city in Arkansas to provide such incentives, State Film Commissioner Christopher Crane said.

“This is something that we have brainstormed on for a year,” Crane said. “We’ve had many meetings with (city leaders) and the Chamber of Commerce and the visitors bureau up there.”

State law provides a 20 percent tax rebate on production costs, and Eureka Springs is considering a proposal for an additional 4 or 5 percent, officials said. The tax incentive would be a rebate after completion of the film production and filing of the appropriate forms.

“For us to be 25 percent in Eureka would be extraordinary,” said Crane, adding the base state rebate with proposed city tax incentive. “I think the amount of productions in that area would increase significantly.”

Several movies have been filmed in Eureka Springs, including “Elizabethtown” and “War Eagle, Arkansas,” the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Monday (http://bit.ly/1hPtCe6 ).

Moviemaking is a good fit for the artsy tourist town, Chamber of Commerce President Mike Bishop said.

“It’s a great thing that complements our tourism industry,” he said.

Eureka Springs also offers proximity to technical support in Branson, 50 miles to the northeast, and at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, which is 45 miles to the southwest, Bishop said.

But Bishop said he doesn’t expect to recruit major blockbusters to Eureka Springs.

“We’re not going to recruit smokestacks,” said Bishop. “There are a lot of things we’re limited to, so this is an industry we’ve sort of zeroed in on.”

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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