Will “Nebraska” be filmed in Nebraska?

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February 15th, 2011

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Lincoln, NE – Academy Award winner and native Nebraskan Alexander Payne has plans to return to his home state to film at least part of his next movie titled: “Nebraska.”

In 2001 “About Schmidt” brought Jack Nicholson to Nebraska and an Oscar to Omaha-born and raised Alexander Payne. He’s made movies since, but it’s been ten years since he set a story in his home state.

NET News has spoken with several people familiar with his next project. Payne has made clear he wants to use distinctive Nebraska locations, including the Sand Hills, when he starts filming this summer. One key element may be economic development incentives the State of Nebraska could, but does not currently, provide.

“A good project that is well put together will really put a lot of people to work.”

State Sen. Colby Coash, an amateur actor in his spare time, has sponsored The Nebraska Film Advantage Act. It’s an attempt to make it attractive for major films to use locations in this state.

“Production companies are always looking for their best deal, so depending on where they want to shoot, they want to look for the best deal in that region of the country that they can,” he said. “It takes very little to get somebody to come to your state versus a neighboring state.”

That is exactly what local film production advocate Mark Hoeger fears will happen with the latest project by the famous home town director. “Alexander Payne is working on a movie called Nebraska, so obviously Nebraska is going to play a role in the movie.”

But Payne has told Hoeger he can film at other locations that could fill in for his home state. “So we’ll get less dollars coming into the state than the directors and producers would like to if we had something competitive here.”

The incentives being proposed would provide up to a $500,000 grant paid for out of fees collected from the new Omaha and Lincoln Convention Center funds. The film makers would have to provide proof they spent at least half a million dollars and employed Nebraskans on the set.

Even without the money coming out of the general fund, supporters believe giving a boost to an out-of-state movie company may be a tough sell to other state senators.

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