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Is Austin a filmmaker’s paradise?

Austin proudly holds itself up as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” so much so that it adopted the title as its official slogan back in 1991. But for those in the know, they’ll tell you that Austin is one of the best places in the US for filmmaking. In fact, in 2016, Moviemaker magazine ranked Austin 3rd best city for filmmakers – one place ahead of even Los Angeles, and in 2015, Austin was crowned Number 1 on their list of Top 10 Cities to be a Moviemaker.

Moviemaker awarded Austin the ranking based on its “deep pool of seasoned crew and production staff, top-notch film schools and a nigh-unparalleled line-up of film festivals and independent theaters.”

While it could possibly be a push to hand LA’s baton of “Entertainment Capital of the World” to Austin, there’s no doubt that it is one of the most interesting, exciting and thriving US cities for filmmaking.

A 2011 study, estimated the total economic impact of film and visual media on the City of Austin to be over $280 million annually.

Pre-pandemic, the Austin-area film industry each year drew more than 625 television and film productions, created some 8,000 jobs and generated $2.1 billion in economic impact on the area. In 2011, the total economic impact of film and visual media on the City of Austin was estimated to be over $280 million per year.

The City of Austin welcomes filmmakers with open arms and offering great conditions and support including:

  • No fees for right-of-way permits for filming,
  • No rental/reservation fees for filming on City property,
  • Recycling programs for filmmakers,
  • Dedicated staff to help navigate any film issues.

Given its high regard for filmmaking and creativity, it makes perfect sense for Austin to host one of the most admired events in the US calendar: the South by Southwest, (better known as SXSW), a feast of film, music and conferences that in 2019 attracted some 280,000 visitors and earned the city $355m. 

Filmmakers are also supported by the great Austin Film Society, a non-profit organisation that “creates life-changing opportunities for filmmakers, catalyzes Austin and Texas as a creative hub, and brings the community together around great film.” It serves the filmmaking community by operating film studios, providing grants and managing spaces for creatives to train and collaborate. It also plays host to premieres, local and international events and the Texas Film Awards. 

Budding local filmmakers can also count on recycled equipment from Austin Materials MarketPlace, and the Austin Filmmakers Facebook Group where advice is sought and given among its 8,000 members. 

Of course, 2021 is the year that Austin filmmakers are having to pick up the pieces after the hard-hitting effects of the pandemic. For a city that eats, sleeps and breathes creativity, we expect to see it bounce back with a vengeance. Local filmmakers are back with new scripts, new visions and new experiences under their belts and looking for places to shoot. 

Filmmakers looking for spaces to work and shoot can find small indoor studios and a wider selection of other office, event, and meeting spaces to rent on-demand in downtown Austin at www.sageworkspace.com. Studios are equipped with seamless paper backdrops, kitchen facilities for use, and free onsite parking, and other spaces come with a myriad of facilities.

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