Join The Discussion

 

Super PAC Men: How political consultants took a Fort Worth oilman on a wild ride

The head of a Texas oil dynasty joined the parade of wealthy political donors, aiming to flip the Senate to Republicans. By the time consultants were done with him, the war chest was drained and fraud allegations were flying

read more >

Bon Appétit: New French restaurant dishes out the finest in Fort Worth

Barely open six months, Le Cep, a contemporary French restaurant proffering fine dining, is stirring up Fort Worth’s culinary scene.

read more >

Bridge collapse on I-35 north of Austin

SALADO, Texas (AP) — Emergency crews are responding to a reported bridge collapse along an interstate in Central Texas.

read more >

Bombay Co.'s former HQ building purchased

The Bombay Co.’s former Fort Worth headquarters building has been sold, with private equity fund Diversified International Partners snapping up the seven-story, 122,828-square-foot structure at 550 Bailey St.

read more >

Latin-inspired restaurant set to open in downtown Fort Worth

Downtown Fort Worth’s dining scene is about to get spicier with the opening of a new restaurant featuring Latin-inspired coastal cuisine.

read more >

 

Hillwood property eyed for possible movie studio, Fort Worth film hub
A. Lee Graham

Reporter

The first step in making Fort Worth a motion picture capital could transform Hillwood property in north Fort Worth into a major film studio.

Though no deal has been reached, some hometown residents and a former Hollywood movie executive are discussing that possibility with the land developer as they hope to boost the city’s economic allure and make Fort Worth a hub for feature film production.
 
“I want this to be a new digital Hollywood, a film mecca in Fort Worth,” said Tabitha Russell, a former Fort Worth video producer and actress currently overseeing her own video production company in Long Beach, Calif.
 
Sharing Russell’s cinematic dream are Peter and Rudy Pulido Jr., her Fort Worth cousins using their respective insurance and real estate backgrounds to study the plan’s economic potential while currying local support.
 
Though better known for their family’s namesake Mexican restaurants, the Pulido brothers hope their latest vision makes their hometown even tastier for film crews looking for location shooting sites.
 
“What we’re looking to do is bring some major films out here,” said Peter Pulido, aware not only of the sales taxes that could be generated by film crews patronizing area restaurants and shops, but also property taxes that a major industry could bring from home sales.
 
To that end, the Pulidos and Russell are seeking land for a major film studio. They have discussed the idea with Hillwood, though no deal has been reached.
 
“They have specific land that is of interest to us,” said Russell, declining to provide further details until a potential deal is reached.
“From a developer’s standpoint, it [the Hillwood property] can hold soundstages and expand into a potential studio complex. I want to bring it to Fort Worth – my hometown – and to Tarrant County because Tarrant County doesn’t have that,” said Russell, referring to mammoth the mammoth structures used in major film productions.
 
The film promoters have shared their plans with several city, county and state officials as they pursue possible land transactions and tax abatement requests.
 
“It sounds like a pretty big deal,” said Tarrant County Precinct 3 Commissioner Gary Fickes, who met with Russell and Pulido at their request to learn about the project.
 
“Something like that could be a tremendous economic boom if they could do it,” said Fickes, wondering where funding would originate.
While declining to specify project costs, Russell pointed to private and public dollars as funding sources. Private investors also could help pay the bill.
 
“We have four feature films we want to bring here and a few online series, too,” Russell said. “The potential is huge.”
 
Yet the state lags California in terms of financial incentives despite offering its own advantages. Through the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, the state provides cash grants based on the percentage of a film project’s eligible Texas expenditures, including wages paid to Texas residents. The state also offers sales tax exemptions on items rented or purchased for use in film productions, as well as refunds of the 6 percent state occupancy tax on hotel rooms occupied for more than 30 consecutive days, according to the Texas Film Commission, operated through the governor’s office.
 
Despite such resources, Texas lags California, New Zealand and other states and countries that allocate more film funding.
“In Texas, we have to see how we can compete more effectively,” said Russell, determined to build a bigger local film industry, one providing more employment opportunities for students earning film degrees from area universities.
 
Establishing a Fort Worth film commissioner position is another part of the plan.
 
“It’s the bridge between the community and the motion picture industry,” said Russell, pointing to Dallas and other municipalities as employing such an individual to connect local businesses with movie productions, promote economic development through motion pictures and work with universities and private investors to promote the industry at a city level.
 
Russell is no stranger to North Texas media. Before establishing Coconut Media Productions LLC, a video film production company in Long Beach, she served as a broadcast training producer for Radio Shack Corp. in Fort Worth, among other area positions.
 
“There is great potential in Fort Worth, and I’m excited about what’s ahead,” Russell said.
 
lgraham@bizpress.net

 

 

< back

Email   email
hide
Catch
How 'bout them Cowboys?