From Jimmie Tashie, Chairman of the Board of the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission:
As the current issue of The Memphis Flyer reports, there has been a grossly inequitable distribution of state funds meant to incentivize filming across the state. The majority of the funding has gone to projects in Middle Tennessee …Nashville. Both East Tennessee and West Tennessee have been almost totally left out of the picture. As chairman of the board of the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission, I would like to update you on "the story behind the story."
Encouraged by both our mayors and our film commission's executive board, Memphis/Shelby County Film Commissioner Linn Sitler and Memphis-based filmmaker Craig Brewer have been diligent, vocal, and aggressive in the past months in their behind-the-scenes efforts to convince Governor Haslam's Department of Economic and Community Development that HBO/Cinemax's TV pilot for "Quarry" and its first season—wanting to base in Memphis -- should be offered at least the same "deal" as the "Nashville" pilot and first season were offered to base in Nashville.
Ms. Sayle's unbiased and in-depth coverage revealed to the readers of The Memphis Flyer the inequity in not only the treatment of "Quarry," but also the historically inequitable distribution of incentive funds across the state. As Ms. Sayle's story shows, since 2006, when legislators from across the state, Sitler, Tennessee industry activist Andy van Roon, and then-Memphis City lobbyist Reina Reddish led the charge to create the Visual Content Act of 2006, the majority of the incentive funds have gone to Nashville and Middle Tennessee.
In light of this, the current Administration's refusal to make a "deal" with "Quarry" for Memphis seems even more inequitable. Ms. Sayle's documentation of the inequity in The Memphis Flyer will make the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission's leaders' work much easier in convincing both Governor Haslam's administration and the entire General Assembly of the need for film incentive reform.
The entire state needs to benefit from these funds and if the fund is too small for equity, then we must work together to increase it. We need and look forward to your support.
Chairman of the Board
The Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission