Cultural Vision Awards 2016: Screens 

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Indiana is doing almost everything it can to make sure filmmaker don't want to come here.

Well, the legislatures are at least.

One of the biggest factors when deciding where to shoot a feature film comes down to the almighty dollar — which state is going to give back a percentage of what you spend. And most states do, giving anywhere from 15-30 percent of a tax break. Indiana is one of the few states that does not.

There are a few Hoosier producers who are trying to change that — and what better way than with a movie, three movies to be exact. Zachary Spicer and Paul Shoulberg both cut their teeth at Indiana University and shortly after moved to New York and L.A. to pursue their loves of acting and filmmaking. While they were away they began to feel the pull to come back, make movies here, and effect change in the process. They gathered a crew of [mostly] IU grads and started scouting out sites in Bloomington for their feature The Good Catholic. Filming wrapped up early this year, but they already have two more films lined up to shoot in Indiana over the next few years.

RELATED: Read our 2016 cover story on filmmaking in Indiana 

"We are doing it because it means so much to us and because we all come from Indiana," says Spicer. "We really do want to see this change."

That change is what motivated Spicer to start his production company Pigasus. Though they were formed in New York, they are based here. Their mission statement is short and sweet: "To bring great film back to Indiana."

click to enlarge Pigasus, gathered at Indiana University - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • Pigasus, gathered at Indiana University
  • Submitted Photo

Pigasus has a bigger picture in mind — to show legislators that it's possible to draw in film crews and hundreds of thousand of dollars in revenue if they welcome filmmakers with open arms. Spicer has been working with Jon Vickers of IU Cinema to do exactly that.

Vickers doesn't put together a bill. He must find a state legislator to sponsor, word, and introduce it. The teeth on this one is a higher tax break if a filmmaker uses only Indiana labor, not just shoot here. Vickers feels that this is the defining difference that could poise this bill for success. Though the bill was ready before the deadline for 2016, the team decided to wait until 2017 (a budget year) before presenting.

With the tax incentives that Pigasus is fighting for Spicer's statement could become reality: "Indiana is a filmmaker's dream."

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Put on by HorrorHound magazine, the Midwest film conventions create a home for some of the more obscure, and whimsical characters and storylines in cinema. Many may not know about Indiana is the burgeoning horror film scene here — something that wouldn't be possible without HorrorHound weekend. The film festival hosts celebrities, screenings and meet-and-greets for horror film buffs. All of their work allows for the film community to come together and collaborate on future film projects. One of the most unique events in Indy film, this festival has allowed the genre to gain traction in the creative community and will hopefully soon will be able to showcase even more local artists.

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It's a mad rush for artist in Indiana every year while they try and pull what might seem impossible — make a film in two days with the clock ticking. Up until this year the 48 Hour Film Festival has been run by Big Car (this year the reins will go to Indy Film Fest). The idea of the festival is simple: teams have two days to make a short film, they cannot have any work done before hand (no brainstorming, costumes of scripts), and they have to work in the genre they are assigned and incorporate any items the organizers decide. Last year it was a hair brush, the name Sam or Samantha and the line "Oh, really? Tell me more." Other than that they have free reign. At the end each film is shown to a panel of judges and an audience. The winners of last year's festival were able to take their short film to possibly compete in the Cannes Film Festival. Opportunities like that have been born nearly every year, and given a starting line for new filmmakers to blaze their own trail.


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Emily Taylor

Emily Taylor

Emily is the arts editor at NUVO, where she covers everything from visual art to comedy. In fact she is probably at a theater production right now. Before joining the ranks here, she worked for Indianapolis Monthly and Gannett. You can find her thoughts about Indy scattered throughout the NUVO arts section and... more

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