LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday paid a visit to the North Little Rock set of a feature film being produced by an Arkansas-based company.
Mortuus Pater Pictures is producing “Antiquities,” an ensemble comedy written by Arkansans Graham Gordy and Daniel Campbell and directed by Campbell.
“When a film or television production is in a community, it benefits everything from the local hotel to the hardware store,” Hutchinson said in a news release.
“For many decades Arkansas has had a significant impact on Hollywood, both through films and television shows shot here and the talented actors, directors and producers that call Arkansas home. We are proud Mortuus Pater Pictures has chosen to locate and create their content here in Arkansas and look forward to the impact this will have on our economy,” he said.
Mortuus Pater was created by Gordy, Campbell and executive producer Gary Newton in 2013 to produce feature films and other content from their native Arkansas.
“We knew if we continued to wait on others to bring production to Arkansas, the state's industry would remain transient at best and nonexistent at worst,” Newton said. “So, we chose to start-up, retain and expand a homegrown production company to make Arkansas an exporter of created content, instead of an exporter of content creators.”
Mortuus Pater was the first production company to qualify for the state's equity investment tax credit, which was approved by the state Legislature and then-Gov. Mike Beebe in 2007. Income tax credits issued under the program are equal to one-third of the amount invested by an investor in an eligible business.
The credit earned may be used to offset 5o percent of the investor's Arkansas income tax liability in any one tax year. Any unused credit may be carried forward for nine years.
Sam Sicard and First National Bank of Fort Smith purchased the bulk of the tax credits, which completed financing and greenlit the picture. The production is headquartered at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in North Little Rock, with production facilities and support provided by JM Associates of Little Rock.
“Antiquities” stars Andrew J. West, Ashley Greene, Michaela Watkins, Michael Gladis, Troy Hogan and Ingrid Haas and includes a cameo by Arkansas native Mary Steenburgen. It tells the story of a young man who after his father's death seeks to learn who his father was.
Over half of the picture takes place in an antiques consignment mall and was shot at Galaxy Furniture in North Little Rock. Shooting also occurred in Jacksonville, Hot Springs and Little Rock.
Arkansans account for two-thirds of the 25-member cast and three-fourths of the 40-plus member crew. Waldron native and Los Angeles resident Jayme Lemons is a producer on the movie.
“Antiquities” is slated to complete post-production and become available to the distribution market in the first quarter of 2017. After wrapping, the company will immediately begin development on its yet-to-be named second feature, which also will be shot in Arkansas.