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Hollywood Tucson? Downtown group trying to lure production companies

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TUCSON (KVOA) - A reserve fund of $500,000 has been set aside by the group Rio Nuevo, whose focus is revitalizing downtown Tucson, to create an entertainment fund geared towards luring TV and movie productions to Tucson.

According to a Rio Nuevo board member, one television series looks like it's already coming to town and another network is considering Tucson as a place that they may film a series finale.

"By them filming here it brings hotel rooms, it brings millions of dollars into our economy. One of the TV shows that we're having a conversation with has literally booked over 40,000 hotel room nights which is fantastic for our economy," said Edmund Marquez, Rio Nuevo Board Member.

The new president of the organization Independent Film Arizona (IFA), Elisa Cota-Francis, is a veteran of the film industry with over 20 years of experience.

She says that as streaming services for different networks and platforms have become more popular the need for content has gone up dramatically and Tucson can help fill that need.

"Arizona has always been an extremely great place to come because we have hundreds of well-trained people who work in the industry," Cota-Francis said.

Rio Nuevo says that bringing in large productions would have a huge economic impact.

"Their budget is over 50 million dollars, and those incentives are used to bring those big economic boosts here to Tucson," Marquez said.

Tucson's film industry also brings a full production team to the table, according to IFA, another reason that could sway film makers to chose the Old Pueblo.

"They have everything here, they realize 'oh my gosh' for a low cost, even though I may get film incentives in another state, the cost of filming would be lower here," Cota-Francis said.

She adds that production has already been buzzing in Arizona since the summer and these latest incentives could bring more to the state.

Details on who may be coming to Tucson aren't being given out just yet, but Rio Nuevo is confident this investment will pay off.

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Mark Mingura

Mark Mingura joined KVOA as a Multi Media Journalist in October 2019. Originally from the valley and with ties to Tucson, Mark is excited to get back to his home state and tell the stories of the Old Pueblo.

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