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Two state bills aim to keep the movie cameras rolling in Oklahoma

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Many famous movies have been made in our state, including  'August: Osage County,' which is in theaters now.

'Twister' was a big hit and we're waiting for 'Rudderless' to be released.

The Oklahoma Film and Music Office wants to keep the cameras rolling, but they need  help from state lawmakers.

When the film 'Rudderless' came to town, William H. Macy admitted the state’s film tax incentive made Oklahoma an attractive shooting destination.

William H. Macy said, “It's written in Oklahoma, set in Oklahoma. Oklahoma has aggressive tax incentives that made little, tiny films like ours possible.”

Hometown screenwriters Jeff Robison and Casey Twenter said the tax can make or break a small-budget film.

Jeff Robison, co-writer and producer of Rudderless, said, "Casey and I planned on raising the money ourselves and we just kept hitting road block after road block. William H. Macy was attached at that point, and we still couldn't find the financing."

Two proposed bills, HB 2580 and SB 1721, will keep the rebate program alive; otherwise, they'll expire this year.

Jill Simpson, director of the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, said, "45 states offer an incentive program for film right now, so if Oklahoma doesn't have an incentive, the films will go with one of the states that do have an incentive."

However, it's not a done-deal.

A similar bill failed last year, Rep. Mike Reynolds is against what he considers to be a Hollywood-industry hand out.

Rep. Reynolds said, "It would have a negative effect because that means we can't do tax cuts. We can't repair the Capitol, but we have money to bring movie stars to Oklahoma."

Robison said, "One of the arguments against it is money is going to Hollywood big shots. The truth is if it's not an Oklahoma product or person or made in Oklahoma, you don't qualify."

For more information on the bills, visit the state's website.