Sweeping vistas and production friendly metros make the Southwest an ideal location for your next project

From the John Ford Westerns of the 1930s to eager vacationers on summer break, the mythic qualities of the American West have inspired stories and memories for generations. The mountains, valleys and vast rivers of the region can replicate the 19th century or the 23rd, and immense horizon lines make for stunning compositions no matter your subject mater. 

Arizona

This July, Arizona this enacted the Arizona Motion Picture Production Program, an annual film and TV tax incentive that will offer qualified productions up to $75 million a year in 2023, $100 million in 2024, and $125 million in 2025 and thereafter. Under the new structure, productions that spend up to $10 million can get 15% tax credit, with productions spending $10 million-$35 million eligible for 17.5%. For productions over $35 million, it’s 20%. The law also calls for an additional 2.5% for a production company’s production labor costs related to positions held by Arizona residents. Reach out to the Arizona Commerce Authority for more information. 

New Mexico 

Over the last few years, New Mexico has turned into a “home-away-from-home” for streaming sites and production companies. In 2018, Netflix moved in, with a 170,000-square-foot studio in Albuquerque planned to be their “main production facility in North America.” Later on, in 2021 (same city), NBCUniversal opened its own studio, hoping to “further elevate New Mexico into the film world.” While the state still isn’t quite there yet, perhaps your next project is what it’s been waiting for. Contact Film New Mexico to learn more. 

Incentive Type: Non-Transferable Refundable Tax Credit

Incentive Amount: 25-35% (residents and nonresidents)

Minimum spend: None

Bonus: 5% increase for productions that shoot in rural areas, defined as 60 miles outside the counties of Bernalillo (home to Albuquerque) and Santa Fe

Application: Productions must submit the Film Production Registration form and the Film Production Tax Credit Agreement form to the New Mexico Film Office two weeks prior to the beginning of principal photography. A production can expect to wait 8-10 months after wrap to receive their earned credit for applications submitted prior to July 1, 2019.

Sales Use Tax Relief: Yes.

Hotel Occupancy Tax Relief: Yes.

Sunset Date: None

Oklahoma 

Since the pandemic, there’s been no better place to shoot a movie than Oklahoma. Many linking this to “Oklahomans’s poise in the face of calamity,” another theory has been because of Governor Kevin Stitt’s signing the Filmed in Oklahoma Act, “increasing the state’s annual funding to $30 million.” Either way––the state’s been swarmed (busy) with films. In 2021, StillwaterAmerican Underdog, and Killers of the Flower Moon were all filmed in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Film & Music Office has all the information you’ll need. 

Texas

In 2017, as reported by Texas Monthly, the Texas House “voted to reduce the amount of funding in the state’s film incentives program,” from $32 million (split over two year) to $0. Following the ruling, many critics feared the state’s film industry would collapse, as other nearby states offered better incentives. While this didn’t end up happening––as the film industry is still well and alive––the state realized later on that it could’ve been a close call. To make up for it, this past June, lawmakers agreed to budget $45 million to the program, effectively bringing its return. Let the productions begin! You can learn more from the Texas Film Commission.

Incentive Amount: Film & TV & Visual Effects Projects: 5% for $250,000 but less than $1,000,000; 10% for $1,000,000 but less than $3,500,000; 20% for $3,500,000 and above

Minimum spend: 5-22.5%

Bonus: 2.5% for projects which complete at least 25% of their total filming days in Underutilized or Economically Distressed Areas (UEDAs)

Application: Applications will not be accepted earlier than 120 calendar days and no later than 5 p.m. Central Time, five business days prior to a project’s production start date.

Sales Use Tax Relief: Yes

Hotel Occupancy Tax Relief: Yes

Sunset Date: None