Gifts Build on Indiana Film Industry Efforts

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(Image courtesy of Indiana University.) (Image courtesy of Indiana University.)

The founding director of Indiana University Cinema says gifts totaling close to $1 million will bolster its efforts to build the state's reputation for feature filmmaking. The funding from six donors includes endowing three film series and a new "Conversations From The Director's Chair" event. Jon Vickers says IU Cinema forges connections through programming and bringing in visiting actors and directors who he hopes will become "ambassadors" for the industry in Bloomington and Indiana.

He believes there are fewer feature films made in the state than there should be. "There's a great base of people working in production," he tells Inside INdiana Business. "There's also not a high-percentage of feature films coming of Indiana that get wide distribution, so we know that can grow." The Indiana Office of Tourism Development, which recently took over management of the state's filmmaking initiative, Film Indiana, says nearly four dozen filmmakers and production companies call Indiana home and the industry currently employs more than 600 Hoosiers. Vickers says the numbers could be higher. "We know that as more feature films grow, then the base of talent grows, the base of people working in production grows and we can just continue to build this industry, because there are positive economic impacts, but there's also positive impacts for image of the state."

Vickers is a proponent of relaunching more robust state incentives for filmmakers who choose Indiana and has been part of a group lobbying the Statehouse this session. He helped craft House Bill 1219, which made it to the House Ways and Means committee in the current budget-making legislative session. Vickers also tells Inside INdiana Business he is meeting this week with the Indiana Economic Development Corp. to tell the industry's story and he's hoping to also talk soon with Governor Eric Holcomb.

Bloomington and Indianapolis continue to be voices for Indiana filmmaking. Last year, the co-founder of the Middle Coast Film Festival in Bloomington, Jessica Levandoski, said she believes the Monroe County city has the potential to become another independent film destination like Austin, Texas. Levandoski is also calling for the state to boost its support of film. In late 2015, Film Indy was launched to try to attract more film and television projects to central Indiana.

You can connect to more about the gifts to IU Cinema by clicking here.

Indiana University Cinema Founding Director Jon Vickers believes there are fewer feature films made in the state than there should be.