LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Could Kentucky become a new Hollywood? It’s possible residents may see more film crews on their streets as the state promotes an incentive to bring more movies and shows to the Bluegrass. As many as 19 productions are currently underway across Kentucky, and there’s plenty more money on the table to bring even more.
As of Jan. 1, the “Kentucky Entertainment Incentive” (KEI) became refundable, one of only seven states currently to do so.
“Ours is a tax credit. It’s fully refundable and on all qualified expenses, it’s 30% to 35% refund, which makes us the most competitive state in the country,” Elizabeth Combs, chief of staff and general counsel to Wrigley Media Group.
Wrigley is one such company taking advantage of KEI. In simple terms, eligible expenses spent on a production in the state are calculated and audited when the work ends. The state then gives back a percentage based on their investment in Kentucky.
“That’s the key. A refund, not a credit or promise or bureaucratic logjam. A check with your name on it,” Kentucky actor Steve Zahn said in a video Wrigley Media Group released this week to help promote the incentive.
“When movie and television shows look to find locations for where to film a lot of time the film incentive will be that deciding factor for them,” Jay Hall said. Hall is senior vice president of business development for Wrigley Media Group and formerly served as the state’s film commissioner.
The incentive is also not just for major studios. Independent thriller suspense series Midas Cove is set to begin filming in August.
The era of big studios is really dying out and what’s great about Kentucky is that there are so many different landscapes from cities to mountains to rivers, Kate Ward, assistant director and producer of Midas Cove told FOX 56.
“Somerset, beautiful. We’re going to be doing some scenes in Lexington. Lexington’s got everything pretty much, and we’re also going to do a small scene down in Floyd County where I’m from,” Ben Hicks, the writer and lead actor on the series, said.
The increase in film production also ripples into more business for local communities.
“The crew has to eat so catering companies see a huge increase in business, carpenters have to build sets,” Combs said.
Wrigley Media Group is completing a production studio downtown that can lease studios, equipment, and crew. Midas Cove is also looking for extras; if you’re interested check them out on social media.