Adding to the Bayou City’s reputation as a great launching pad for filmmakers, MovieMaker named Houston as one of the 15 Best Places to Live and Work as a Movie Maker in 2018.
Austin ranked number 9.
MovieMaker based their rankings on how active a city is when it comes to filmmaking, what types of infrastructure a city offers for filmmakers, film incentives, the city’s look and basic city facts, like population size, transportation methods and geography.
While Houston offers a variety of distinctive looks across the city — with historical buildings, modern facilities, industrial warehouses and wild terrain — established filmmakers complain the city lacks incentives and supportive infrastructure to keep them here.
“For mid-tiered filmmakers like myself, who’ve achieved some level of success, there are very few resources that incentivize us to stay and build careers,” Houston filmmaker Michelle Mower, who made “The Preacher’s Sin” and contributed to MovieMaker, said during an interview. “Lack of a real industry infrastructure, tax incentives and access to local media limit what a filmmaker in Houston can achieve locally.”
In addition to in-kind incentives and grants offered by the city, Bayou City filmmakers benefit from grants offered by the State of Texas, which could potentially help filmmakers with up to 7.5 to 22.5 percent of production costs. Grants are reportedly assigned on a case-by-case basis.
The Houston Film Commission assists filmmakers in finding and securing locations, as well as understanding production requirements and incentives for using the Bayou City. They can also allow filmmakers to post cast or crew calls.
After viewing each year’s Texas Filmmakers Showcase, it makes sense Texas is home to two of the best cities for movie makers. The Houston Film Commission produces the showcase annually, highlighting films made in Texas or by Texas filmmakers.
Additionally, the Southwest Alternative Media Project (SWAMP) helps movie makers grow in their craft and connect with opportunities. Furthermore, while promoting Houston filmmakers and their work, the organization offers both free and fee-based classes and local workshops.
Houston saw 250 commercial productions in 2016, a year filmmakers added $15-20 million to the city’s economy.