Mississippi Film Office celebrates 50th anniversary

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 7:23 PM CST
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CANTON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi Film Office is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

“I just found Canton to be a very warm, embracing community, and particularly supportive of the film,” Andrew Stevens said.

Stevens is the producer of Finding Faith, a Christian movie. It is the third film that he has shot in Canton.

“With a venerable film history of having shot my dog skip, oh, Brother, Where Art Thou had time to kill here,” he said.

“I started in the office 25 years ago, and at that point, we were lucky to have one feature film per year. And last year, we had 19 feature films,” Nina Parikah said.

The hospitality from the people of the magnolia state is the top reason why Parikah, director of the Mississippi Film Office, says producers from across the world continue to bring their projects to the state.

“I remember in Canton, you know, the local radio station, they would get on there and say, you know, we need x, y, and z, and that community would come out and share the things that they have that would be good for props,” Parikah said. “So The communities come out in a way that I think doesn’t happen in most places. So those producers feel embraced in Mississippi in these small communities.”

She also says the film industry brings in major economic growth for the state.

“So, in my half of the life of our office, and that’s grown substantially, we see money being spent in communities all over the state and all sectors of the economic landscape and Mississippi when a film is here,” Parikah explained.

When a film is shot in Mississippi, cash rebates are offered to directors if they meet certain requirements. One requirement is that 20% of the production crew on payroll must be Mississippi residents.

“It’s a financially advantageous, advantageous state to shoot in the state offers a great deal of diversity not only in terms of human resources, but in terms of geography with the Gulf Coast, and Central Mississippi,” Stevens said.

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