ALLEN

The Texas Motion Picture Alliance has left an impact on the film scene in the Lone Star State.

Founded in 2006 by talent agent Linda McAlister, whose talent agency is based in Waxahachie, the Texas Motion Picture Alliance is an advocacy group that aims for the advancement of local film and television productions. The group held its third annual Impact Awards on Saturday at the Southfork Ranch, which is widely recognized as the setting for CBS prime-time soap opera, “Dallas.”

They also celebrated the show’s 40th anniversary by recognizing cast and crew with the Legacy Award, which Charlene Tilton, who played the role of Lucy Ewing, accepted on behalf of the show.

“I love the word ‘impact,’” McAlister remarked. “It isn’t just impacting our industry: it impacts our state and communities.”

With featured artists, actors and filmmakers from across the state, the third-annual event gave several awards for independent film, television, documentary, digital media and even video game categories. Some of the more prominent actors in attendance included “Maze Runner” actor Jacob Lofland and “The Daytripper” host Chet Garner, who served as the night’s emcee.

“I officiated my cousin’s wedding last week,” Garner remarked. “Never done that, and never hosted an awards show either. So, doing that today.”

Describing Texas’ film scene as underrated and unappreciated, McAlister said she started TXMPA, and more specifically the Impact Awards, to bring more focus to the local productions that are going on right here in Texas.

“I have 600 actors in my Texas office,” she said. “My headquarters is based in Waxahachie. It will always be based in Waxahachie. Waxahachie is not only a wonderful place to live, but it has a great film, television and commercial history.”

Previously tabbed as the “Best Little Hollywood in Texas,” several high-profile films were shot on-location in Waxahachie, including the Academy Award-winning pictures “Tender Mercies,” “Places In The Heart” and “The Trip to Bountiful.”

“A lot of people don’t realize we’re not waiting for Hollywood,” McAlister explained. “We have a very vital job-creating, revenue-generating industry here in Texas.”

McAlister further detailed that the film industry doesn’t just benefit filmmakers and actors: it helps Texas businesses as a whole. Shopping for groceries at the supermarket, eliciting catering from local restaurants, purchasing materials for costume production are just a few examples McAlister listed of film crews investing in the Texas economy.

And yet, McAlister said the film industry in Texas needs help.

According to a “CBS Austin” story, the state budget for film incentives dropped from $95 million to $32 million in 2015. A 2017 column published in the Star-Telegram warned that legislation could be “killing the Texas film industry” if more wasn’t invested into the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program. Even the 2016 Oscar-nominated western drama “Hell or High Water,” was filmed in New Mexico, despite being set predominately in Texas.

“Those actors could potentially be shooting those series’ here instead of flying them out,” McAlister said. “Sadly, all these Texas people that should have been here tonight are having to fly to other areas.”

McAlister said that’s why she helped create TXMPA and the Impact Awards: to bring more awareness to these artists and their stories. She said events like the Impact Awards help bring the community closer together and have a louder voice to the public and state legislature.

For her, investment in Texas’ film industry doesn’t just strengthen Texas filmmakers and actors: it strengthens Texas period.

‘That’s the whole point of TXMPA,” she said. “And our Impact Awards.”

If you want to learn more about TXMPA and their program, go online at www.txmpa.org.

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David Dunn, @DavidDunnInTX

469-517-1456