The Arizona film industry is open for business.
After a long delay, the Arizona Motion Picture Production Program is up and running. It’s the new incentive program offered by the state to entice filmmakers to produce movies here in Arizona.
I spoke with Old Tucson’s new general manager Tony Sanders and as I found out, the long-running movie studio and theme park is ready to go.
“It’s going to be a great thing for the Tucson area.” ~ Old Tucson GM Tony Sanders
Sanders says he believes reviving filmmaking at Old Tucson will have a positive impact on the Southern Arizona economy.
Only on the job a week, Sanders already knows what a boost this will be to Old Tucson itself.
“We’re excited about it. It helps us bring so much, not just the filming per day, but the pre- and post-production to our property, to our facility, to our state. I think it’s going to be a great thing,” Sanders tells me.
Filmmakers can receive as much as $125 million in tax rebates if the entire production takes place in Arizona.
Old Tucson has already added pre- and post-production facilities to the property.
They’ve already seen a resurgence of movies shot there, including one right now.
Pat Parris: “From my count, this might be the third production already this year out here.” Tony Sanders: “Yes. I can’t give details but we have some more lined up. We have some contracts being signed and some opportunities rolling in. That’s really going to be our focus for the summer: How do we get more production throughout the summer.”
While film production is a priority right now, Old Tucson also has a summer concert series beginning in June.
Plus, they have daily historic tours available.
“You may get to see filming going on,” Sanders says. “If there’s a production going now, you can’t be involved right away, but maybe you can get an extra spot. From our perspective you might be able to see it from a distance and really see what that movie production is like. But you’re also going to hear the rich history of Old Tucson.”
As Sanders tells me, the history of Old Tucson is part of what attracted him to this job.
He also brings to the table an extensive background in theme park operation, and wants Old Tucson to be that ‘wild west’ theme park where families can create once-in-a-lifetime memories.