Natchez Mayor Butch Brown continues to push for formation of local film commission


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NATCHEZ, Mississippi — Natchez Mayor Butch Brown wants to set up a local group with members who understand the film industry and know how to talk to filmmakers.

"We have to have people on that committee that know how to talk to producers so they know what our incentives are, both statewide and locally such that we are very competitive," Brown told The Natchez Democrat (http://bit.ly/1o4biAi).

The mayor said he wants to act quickly to take advantage of the publicity surrounding the release of the James Brown biopic "Get On Up."

The movie premiered in New York City Monday and will premiere locally Saturday evening, with a nationwide launch Aug. 1. The majority of the film, which focuses on the life of the Godfather of Soul from the time he was 5 until he was 60, was filmed in the Natchez area.

The formation of a film commission will have to take a backseat to the filling of the vacant Convention and Visitor's Bureau director's position, Brown said, but he thinks that position will be filled by early September.

An interim director, Creda Stewart, has filled the position since former director Connie Taunton stepped down in March. The reason the commission will have to wait for the hiring of the CVB director is because the commission likewise needs a paid staffer, Brown said.

"I feel like if we are going to stay in the movie business, we have got to be more professional about it and treat it as more than something that pops onto our radar every now and then," Brown said.

Brown said he expects to have the commission launched by the end of the fiscal year, which concludes Sept. 30.

Natchez had a film commission in the 1970s and 80s. It disbanded in 1988.


Information from: The Natchez Democrat, http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/

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