Texas kills 'Machete' film incentives

Will it take the Supreme Court to kill ‘Machete Kills’?

Producers of the gleefully vulgar and violent exploitation satire are mulling over whether to take up the Machete again after the Fifth U.S, Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled Texas could deny them taxpayer incentives because the movie presents “Texas or Texans in a negative fashion.”

Brett Myers, a Dallas attorney who filed paperwork in the latest lawsuit, told Watchdog that representatives for Machete Productions LLC are mulling the option of asking the Supreme Court to consider their plea.

A federal court early in 2015 decided the Texas Film Commission’s decision to withhold funds from the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program did not violate the First Amendment speech rights of the film’s producers.

Austin attorney Eric Storm, who filed the original lawsuit, told Watchdog his clients did not ask for a specific dollar amount. According to program guidelines, Machete Kills would have been eligible for as much as $2.25 million based on its $10 million budget.

This bit of good news for the Film Commission follows a past session in which the Legislature took a figurative machete to a $95 million biennial budget for 2014-15 and hacked it back to $32 million for 2016-17.

House conservatives were unsuccessful in passing a bill by state Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, that would have killed a program that has provided almost $200 million to film, television, commercial and video game projects over the past five years.

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