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Tantalising Tucson

One of the oldest cities in the US, Tucson is ideal for dramas and action-thrillers

Tucson, located in the American state of Arizona, has been used as a backdrop in films endless times but it still manages to unveil new style and hidden vistas. Thanks to its diverse locations, proximity to Los Angeles and unremitting sunshine, the city and its neighbourhood is accessible all round the year.

The city will surprise you. Surrounded by woodland, it is situated on an alluvial plain in the Sonoran desert and has minor ranges of mountains enveloping it. This rugged topography blends with the thriving city. Delve into the local cuisine at roadside restaurants, capture sports and fairs in and around the city or simply enjoy outdoor activities.

What’s more, the porches, old architecture, multi-coloured houses, churches and restro bars appear extraordinary after sunset. Small yellow lights light up the facades and create a picturesque twilight scene for any film.

Tucson’s oldest neighbourhoods are covered by the Tucson Convention Center and include parks, high schools and Winterhaven, known for its extensive Christmas decoration. Downtown Tucson is contemporary with modern designs and budding localities, while Midtown, chartered long ago, is a shopping junction with many stores lined up on the 4th Avenue District. West is a mix of urban and suburban development and has national parks and museums within its boundaries.

Tucson is rich in architecture, spanning three cultures. Hispanic barrios, remnants of Tucsonan’s past, and American architectural style, which gives an eccentric mix to the locales. Also, history reveals it as one of the oldest cities in the US. This description is ideal for period and historic films, apart from drama and action-thrillers.

The place is made more interesting with incentives that are currently being offered to studios for filming.


The Arizona Film Office recently announced that over $ 130 million in 2010 AZ Motion Picture Tax Credits are still available for projects spending $ 250,000 or more. This means a producer can receive up to 30 per cent back on Arizona expenditures.

1. No sales tax

Production companies are exempt from paying State sales tax on all production-related costs. That’s a savings of 5.6 per cent.

2. Up to 30 per cent back

If you spend more than $ 250,000 a year in Arizona, a rebate is given on all production-related costs, including salaries to Arizona crew and talent. Rebate is in the form of a transferable tax credit you can use or sell.

• $ 250,000 – $ 1m – 20 per cent credit

• $ 1m and above – 30 per cent credit

Who is eligible?

A company that:

1. Is primarily engaged in the business of producing motion pictures

2. Has the lawful rights to produce the motion picture

3. Begins production within 90 days of the pre-approval date

4. Employs Arizona residents in its motion picture productions

What is included in the tax exemption?

Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT) Exemption on:

• Purchased machinery, equipment and other tangible personal property

• Leased or rented lodging space

• Construction contracts for buildings and other structures.

Use Tax Exemption – on machinery, equipment and other tangible personal property.

How much does a production company save?

A qualified company may realise the following tax savings:

• TPT exemptions of approximately 6 per cent off on purchases

• Use tax exemptions of approximately 5 per cent off on out-of-state purchases

• Income tax credits equal to 20 per cent or 30 per cent of the company’s investment in eligible Arizona production costs

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