Film Industry Has Tremendous Impact on Nebraska Economy

By: sixonline Email
By: sixonline Email

Ever wonder about the true impact of shooting films in Nebraska?

Well consider the recent critically-acclaimed namesake “NEBRASKA”, directed by Omaha native Alexander Payne, and starring Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, and Bob Odenkirk.
Payne, his cast and crew made Norfolk, Nebraska their temporary home during physical production in October and November 2012. But even before filming began, several crew members and locals were busy preparing for the movie to be filmed throughout northeast Nebraska.* The majority of the film was shot on location in or around Plainview, Stanton, Elgin, Tilden, Osmond, Hooper, Lyons and Lincoln.

The Fall/Winter 2013 edition of NorfolkNow Magazine reported that NEBRASKA involved 204 days on location, and 30 days of filming strictly in Nebraska. The film featured local residents—21 were cast in roles, and an additional 227 were hired as extras. Fifty-six crew members worked on the film, and security personnel worked on location for 36 days.

The film’s budget was $13.5 million, but according to Laurie Richards, film officer with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, many factors are present when ascertaining the economic impact on a region. These may include local purchases, employment, labor income, and indirect business taxes, to name a few.

“A typical day of filming on location for this size budget could range anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000,” said Richards. “If this is averaged out over the course of 30 days of shooting in Nebraska, approximately $1.5 million of new money was infused into the local economy.”

“Not only that, but consider how significant the impact on Norfolk and surrounding towns in terms of the number of local residents hired, purchases of food, lodging, hardware, in addition to location fees, truck and car rentals, gas, and other sundry items necessary for physical production,” added Richards.

Then there are the less tangible, but very real economic benefits that the state receives when a film is made here. In this case, “NEBRASKA” is not only generating thousands of dollars in “free” marketing, branding, and publicity for the state, but extensive interest among the arts and entertainment industry. For example, Bruce Dern appeared on the CBS Sunday Morning program, Will Forte was a guest on late night television, and Alexander Payne was interviewed on National Public Radio.

The 2013 Cannes Film Festival this past May honored Bruce Dern with a best actor award. Recently, the Independent Spirit Awards nominated the film in the categories of best director, best actor, best supporting actor, best supporting actress, best picture, and best original screenplay.

“Not only does this bode well for Oscar nominations coming out in 2014, but it’s the best free publicity we could ever hope to generate for Nebraska,” said Richards. “We may not have Hollywood knocking on our door, but we definitely have peaked the interest of independent filmmakers and companies.”

In addition to NEBRASKA, Payne has shot three films here: “Citizen Ruth,” “Election,” and “About Schmidt.”

NEBRASKA is now showing in theaters across the U.S.

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