From the cable hit Homeland to the box-office biopic Lincoln, the nation's capital is the backdrop for many movies and TV shows. But very few of these projects are actually filmed in D.C. and city lawmakers are now looking at ways to lure these filmmakers back to the District.
The recently released blockbuster Lincoln, for example, was filmed in Richmond, Va., thanks, in part, to a $3.5 million offset from Gov. Bob McDonnell. In addition, most of the Showtime drama Homeland is filmed in Charlotte, N.C. because of the state's 25 percent tax rebate for movie producers.
To make the District a more competitive player in the movie location game, the D.C. Council is considering legislation to dramatically beef up the city's film incentive fund. Council member Vincent Orange's proposal would require construction firms that receive D.C. government contracts to donate 1 percent of the award to the film incentive fund, as well as a fund that supports public art.
Of course, the lack of incentives isn't the only reason filmmakers choose alternate locations over the District. Permits to shoot commercial video on or near many famous D.C. landmarks, such as the U.S. Capitol or the Washington Monument, can be difficult or even impossible to obtain.
But Orange and others hope that if the city is able to offer better incentive packages and level the playing field, more films and shows that are based in D.C. will actually be filmed in D.C.