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No film commission incentives for you!

Noted for the record.

The Texas Film Commission has denied incentives for “Machete,” the controversial immigration-related feature film from Robert Rodriguez’s Austin-based Troublemaker Studios.

In a brief, formal letter dated Dec. 1 and released Wednesday by Katherine Cesinger , a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry, the Texas Film Commission cited part of a state code that says requests for film incentives can be denied “because of inappropriate content or content that portrays Texas or Texans in a negative fashion.”


A representative for “Machete” producer Elizabeth Avellán said Wednesday that Avellán and Rodriguez were traveling after recently wrapping up shooting on “Spy Kids 4” and that they were unavailable for comment.

Although exact figures aren’t available, the production budget for “Machete” was estimated at $10 million by the Internet Movie Database. Based on that figure, Troublemaker could have received a grant of as much as $1.75 million for making the movie in Texas.

The letter from [deputy director Carol] Pirie said that the commission’s ruling “does not affect…other grant applications from Troublemaker, now or in the future.”

Rodriguez is Texas’ most prolific filmmaker, and when Perry signed legislation to beef up filmmaking incentives and bolster the state’s industry in April 2009, he did so at Rodriguez’s studios, with the director/producer at his side.

Rodriguez told The Associated Press at the time that without the bill he would have had to move the production of projects, including “Machete,” to another state.

“Thanks to this bill, I don’t have to go shoot out of the state,” Rodriguez said.

See here and here for some background. The film incentive funding is certain to get cut in the next budget, so it’s unlikely there will be a repeat of this any time soon. But let this experience be a lesson to anyone else who would let Governor Perry use their studio as a backdrop for one of his publicity stunts. You won’t get anything in return for it.

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  1. […] to my archives, the Texas Film Commission denied granting the incentives for the film in December of 2010; Hudgins resigned from the Commission in November of 2010. The […]