Austin Film Studios Turns 10 On Friday
Ten years ago, Austin Studios was being recognized for star making directors and films like “Friday Night Lights” and “The Rookie.” Then the film business went from glitz to a competitive nightmare for the studios AND the state. Projects large and small were being lured to Louisiana and New Mexico with huge incentive packages. Texas fought back last year with its own incentive program. Slowly more opportunities have opened up for Austin Studios. Rebecca Campbell is the executive director of the Austin Film Society, the non-profit that operates the studios. She says “this past year, we’ve had so many more customers that have come through and shown the facilities, the incentives have had a clear impact, you can see it on our bottom line, we’re having a good year this year, for the first time in several years.” Recently, the Coen Brother’s film “True Grit” rented space at the hangar and spent more than a month shooting in various locations around Texas. And episodic television is becoming a boon for the state. Bob Hudgins with the Texas Film Commission says 5 different series are currently shooting in Texas. Two in Austin: NBC’s “Friday Night Lights”, and ABC’s “My Generation.” Hudgins goes on to say “tv does a really good job of building local infrastructure, and bringing a lot more opportunity for our crew to development in the state, they are really a good value.” Gary Bond heads the Austin Film Commission. It’s charged with assisting productions when they come to town to work. Bond says Austin Studio’s biggest contribution has been to raise the awareness of Austin nationally and internationally as a film production center. “one of the first questions I get asked, is about the Austin studios and they may be coming here for their location, but every film, virtually every film needs a place to build their sets, to shoot their interiors, to house their prop making facilities, that kind of stuff.” Austin Studios is banking that that one stop shopping will usher it through the next ten years. At Friday’s 10th anniversary bash, the tenant “Sound Check” will have its grand opening. It offers six small music studios and a rehearsal hall that film productions can use.