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Lights, Camera, Action!

Movie ‘A Doll’s House’
to be filmed in Kentucky

Film is to star actors Ben Kingsley,
Jena Malone in this remake of Ibsen play

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(March 2012) – In the last few years, the state of Kentucky has seen more film productions taking place due to tax incentives offered to filmmakers. “A Doll’s House” is the latest production to draw the motion picture industry to the Bluegrass state.
“A Doll’s House” is a remake of an award-winning play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The modern interpretation is about a wife lying to cover up the misguided financial dealings she made to pay her husband’s medical bills.
The original three-act play in prose previewed on Dec. 21, 1879, at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark. The writer, Henrik Ibsen, found that his play quickly became controversial when published. Many found it to be critical of 19th century marriage norms.

Charles Huddleston

Charles Huddleston

Since its début, the play has earned four Tony Awards, a Critics Circle Award and been revived eight times on Broadway.
The updated version of “A Doll’s House” will star Ben Kingsley, an Oscar winning actor who has stared in “Gandhi” and “Schindler’s List.” The film will include actress Jena Malone (“Pride and Prejudice,” “Into the Wild”), Julian Sands (“Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) and Michele Martin who co-wrote the updated version.
Martin’s co-writer was Charles Huddleston, who is also the producer-director of “A Doll’s House.” In a phone interview from Los Angeles, Huddleston said, “I grew up in the Cincinnati area. When I sat down to adapt the play, I saw it in that context” as taking place in that location. “It just felt right.”
The current version is being produced by ADH Productions LLC, a photo production company enticed to shoot scenes for the film in Kentucky because of tax incentives. The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority has approval of tourism and film projects.
The authority reviews applications under the Kentucky Film & Entertainment Industry Incentive Program. Under this program, incentives are provided for approved productions to earn a refundable income tax credit equal to 20 percent of their production expenditures in the state of Kentucky. The incentive applies not only to films but also to television programs, commercials, documentaries and Broadway plays that are slated for national tours.
The incentive program was passed during the 2009 Special Session and has “made it financially viable to shoot in Kentucky, and recent promotional efforts have increased the interest in filming in Kentucky,” said Gil Lawson, spokesperson for the Authority.
Since July 2009, six productions have received approval for incentives. Not all of these productions were full-length productions.
The Authority approved incentives for “A Doll’s House” and the production expects to spend approximately $4 million in the state, according to a press release sent out from the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet in November 2011. The tax credit will be for 20 percent of the production companies’ qualified expenditures, not to exceed $800,000, said Lawson.
The production “met the requirements of the program and the (film) content will not have a negative impact on the Commonwealth,” Lawson said. “Additionally, there is a benefit to the state with the level of economic activity that comes with film production.”
The state would benefit economically by the hiring of crew members, cast extras, spending on lodging facilities, hiring of on-set food services and payment of fees to property owners for the use of their property, just to name a few. The state will also benefit with “publicity during filming and potential film fan visitation to shoot locations after the film is released,” said Lawson.
It is estimated that 75 projects a year are working outside of the incentive program, Lawson said. These projects may not have met the incentive requirements, or the producers simply did not file for the incentives. Nevertheless, the productions spend money in Kentucky by hiring different services, just as same as those that do qualify for the incentive program.
Huddleston, who is the founder of the Los Angeles-based Cinema Altnera production company, expects to film in the greater Cincinnati area for six weeks. Filming in Kentucky will take place around the Covington area, he said, and individuals will be hired as extras and for principles roles as well. “The state of Kentucky has been very welcoming.”
The production began shooting in Ohio in late January in Hamilton County and will receive about $800,000 in Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credits from the Ohio Department of Development.
“Of course there are different rules in different states, but Kentucky and Ohio are among the best right now,” in terms of tax credits, said Huddleston. Without a doubt, he said he would consider returning to the area to shoot future film projects.

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