Kyle eyes Texas film-friendly designation

The city of Kyle could aim to join Buda and San Marcos as film-friendly communities in Texas.

The Kyle Economic Development & Tourism Board issued unanimous support for the city becoming a Film Friendly Texas community certified by the Texas Film Commission. That support will come in the form of a recommendation to Kyle City Council to approve a resolution and guidelines for the program at the council’s Feb. 16 regular meeting.

Communities that are Film Friendly Texas-certified receive promotional support from the Texas Film Commission, whose website includes a map of Texas communities that have been certified. The commission also has photos on file of certified communities that help filmmakers decide on a site.

Kyle Economic Development Director Diana Blank-Torres said the city has been working to receive the designation for the past several years. But the state shelved the program, and progress was stalled.

“We had gone through the first two steps,” Blank-Torres said. “Since then the film industry has gotten so big around the Austin area. I have personally researched and witnessed the positive economic impacts of the filming industry. It’s something that comes in, is a temporary process and makes a huge economic impact all the way across the community.”

The program was reinstated in August. Among the nearby examples of communities that have benefited from being on the Texas Film Commission’s list are Bastrop, Smithville and Lockhart, Blank-Torres said.

Unique traits about Kyle that make it attractive as a film site include the city’s cemeteries; Auction Oak, a centuries-old tree; and Central Texas Speedway, she said.

Proposed guidelines for filming in the city include permit requirements, and application fee of $25, protocols for using city-owned equipment and real estate, filming hours, notification of nearby residents, providing proof of insurance, reimbursement measures if the filming causes damage to public or private property and a hold-harmless agreement with the city of Kyle.

The provisions cover all types of filming in the city, including for television commercials, music videos and feature films.

Blank-Torres said the city would lean on the state when it comes to offering incentives to filmmakers. The Texas Motion Picture Industry Incentive Program offers rebates to incentivize filming in the state.

Should the council approve the resolution and guidelines the city would be on the radar of the growing Texas film industry, Blank-Torres said.

“When you become film-friendly, you get put on the list so that it’s easier to find us,” she said.