As Visit Indy celebrates record tourism numbers, the organization says its Film Indy initiative is yielding results. It says the effort has helped generate 240 projects, generating nearly $10 million in economic impact. Film Commissioner Teresa Sabatine says, with access to various landscapes and able workforce, Indianapolis is "a pretty easy sell if we can get them on the phone." Sabatine says Film Indy hopes to double its impact in the coming year, and ultimately attract a scripted television series to the city.
Film Indy says the majority of the 240 projects were in the commercial space, specifically for the sports industry. The organization has announced that American Ninja Warrior, which filmed in Indianapolis in 2016, will return to the city in April. The original shoot had an estimated economic impact of $1 million.
Visit Indy hired Sabatine as the city’s first film commissioner in July. The Ball State University graduate previously served as director of business development for People for Urban Progress and has experience in the television and film industry in New York and Los Angeles. She says Film Indy has resulted in new collaboration in an effort that had been previously largely scattered.
During its annual State of Tourism event, Visit Indy said 2016 was a sixth consecutive record year for tourism. It reported 28.6 million visitors pumped $5.2 billion into the Indianapolis economy, supporting more than 80,000 full-time equivalent jobs throughout the region.
Sabatine says Film Indy would ultimately like to see production projects have an impact of at least $50 million on Indianapolis. She adds the organization is also underway with fundraising efforts, in hopes of building a sustainable model so the effort can continue.