Film industry part of economic equation

It’s been 20 years since Jurassic Park hit the screens. In recognition of the anniversary, and to make some money, Universal Pictures issued a 3-D version of the film earlier this year.

The Kauai Visitors Bureau is marking the anniversary with plans for “A Jurassic Adventure” press trip that will bring travel writers from the Mainland to experience some of the places featured in the movie.  

There is no doubt the film industry on Kauai is having an impact on the economy. While tourism is back on track here and visitor numbers are up (1.1 million expected this year), construction isn’t exactly booming, and of the 3,500 jobs lost following the 2008-09 recession, fewer than half have returned. A thriving film industry island would give Kauai an economic boost.

Most of us know scenes from movies like, “The Descendants,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Just Go With it,” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” were shot on Kauai.   

While competition is fierce, more movie-makers, reality TV producers and documentary types, could be visiting here.

Earlier this year, the state increased the refundable tax credit for filming qualified movie, television, commercial or digital media projects in Hawaii, including Internet-only distribution. The credit equals 25 percent on the neighbor islands.

In addition, the cap on the credit has been increased from $8 million to $15 million per production. These new incentives may help Kauai attract another blockbuster filming project.  

According to the Kauai Film Commission, the island is attracting a steady flow of TV documentaries and reality-type shows. HGTV returned for a fifth time since last year to film segments of “Hawaii Life,” a Hawaii-based TV show. Low-budget flicks, such as “Piranhaconda,” continue to be attracted to Kauai. It was also reported that Kauai is on the radar screen for Japanese filmmakers, and if they come it will be the first Japanese movie to film on Kauai since 1968. We hear, too, that Jurassic Park 4 is looking at The Garden Isle.

The movie industry can’t be counted on as a stable contributor to Kauai’s economy, but it can absolutely make a difference for the better.

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