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Arizona re-launching state film office

ArizonaArizona in the south-west US is opening a state film office after years of regional film offices co-ordinating local shoots.

The Arizona Office of Film and Media is being called Studio 48 after the state’s positioning as the 48th in the union. It will initially operate on a trial basis through to next summer. 

Arizona is one of the few US states that does not offer a formal filming incentive, and as a result projects set in Arizona generally shoot in neighbouring California or New Mexico.

Studio 48 is unlikely to lead to a new incentive as local authorities remain sceptical about whether filming tax credits truly benefit local economies.

“A lot of states have been questioning how successful their tax incentives have been,” said Matthew Earl Jones, director of Studio 48, in comments to Arizona Republic. 

“I'm thrilled to see a renewed interest in the economic vitality of the film industry and what it can do for Arizona.” 

A recent report from the University of Southern California argued that filming incentives don’t deliver enough economic benefits in the US to justify their costs. The findings were strongly rebuked by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Michael Bay’s action sequel Transformers: The Last Knight filmed in Arizona for ten days over the summer, but the Arizona-set firefighting film Granite Mountain based production in New Mexico.

Arizona is looking to use Studio 48 as a focal point through which to promote the state’s natural landscapes and crew base, rather than relying on a filming incentive. 

For more on filming in Arizona see our production guide.