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Lawmaker Says Texas Should Boot Out Film Industry In Wake Of Hollywood’s Weinstein Scandal

The Texas Film Commission supports the industry. Now a state representative wants to get rid of it

Filmmakers Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater at Texas Film Awards red carpet in Austin. Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

Texas is home to Richard Linklater and was the inspiration for his breakout film “Slacker.” It’s where Wes Anderson grew up and later shot his first big production, “Rushmore.” The bones of the set of the 1950s film “Giant” still stand in far West Texas.

These days, more film and TV crews are choosing to make places like Louisiana and New Mexico look like Texas. That’s because of lagging film incentives in the state. Now a Texas lawmaker is citing Hollywood’s Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal as a reason to put an end to the state-funded Texas Film Commission altogether.

State Rep. Matt Shaheen (R-Plano) said the Weinstein scandal is part of the culture of Hollywood, so he’s going to move to abolish the Texas Film Commission in the next legislative session.

Barbara Morgan, the co-founder and Executive Director of the Austin Film Festival said, “I think people look at the industry as just Hollywood, as opposed to what we’ve incubated out of our own state for many years.”

Morgan said when she started the festival in the ’90s, Texas had an enormous amount of film business.

“At any given time, we could have seven or eight movies being shot in Austin,” she said. “And now, all of that is going because the film industry goes to shoot in places where the money is, like Louisiana, New Mexico, and Atlanta.”

She said the Weinstein scandal shouldn’t affect state policies.

“I actually don’t see the connection,” she said. “I think if we actually talked about pulling any kind of support or funding on a state level from any industry that had any such bad behavior happening behind its walls, we wouldn’t be funding much, would we?”

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