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State film office closes Thursday

(via Flickr/derrickcollins)
Budget cuts are forcing the Missouri Film Office to close its doors on Thursday.

The two-person office that helped directors find locations, talent and equipment when they shot movies in Missouri is closing its doors Thursday, the victim of ongoing tight budgets.

Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed the $175,000 needed for the Missouri Film Office earlier in June, saying the state needed funding for the deadly tornado in Joplin and the flooding that hit southeast Missouri earlier this year and is threatening the northwest portion of the state.

The Department of Economic Development will handle the duties of the state's film office - an arrangement that did not impress Kim Tucci, the head of the St. Louis Film Office.

"When they call the state now, I don't know what's going to happen, because they're going to want location shots, they're going to want this, they're going to that, and I have no idea who's going to coordinate this," he said. "It's going to be as amateurish as you can imagine."

Gov. Nixon did not touch the $4.5 million in tax credits available to filmmakers, said John Fougere, a spokesman for the economic development department, so there's still a powerful incentive to make movies in the state.

"Our people will look at those applications closely, and treat them like any other prospective business that's looking at Missouri as a place to expand or relocate their headquarters," Fougere said. "If they are qualified to receive those tax credits, they will still get them."

But those credits are subject to the governor's approval. Earlier this year, he refused to authorize more than a million dollars for a Paramount Pictures  production, which was shot in Ohio instead.

Recent movies filmed in the state include "Up in the Air" and "Winter's Bone."

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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