Filmmakers hope new movie will revive industry in Arizona

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Lights. Camera. Action.

Arizona has starred in many movies in the past but has sort of been knocked out of its star status by competition from other states.

Local filmmakers are hoping a new movie being filmed in the Valley will help bring the industry back to Arizona and give the state's economy a boost.

"It's going to help the hotel industry, the construction industry. It's going to help every walk of life, even grocery stores. It's going to help everything and so it's only an advantage," said actor Eric Roberts, who was on the set of "Deadly Sanctuary" Friday.

The movie, being filmed at Colossal Studios in Phoenix, follows the story of a young investigative reporter in Arizona named Kendall O'Dell.

It is based on the first novel in a mystery series by Arizona author Sylvia Nobel.

"She is thrust into a series of bizarre mysteries and she follows the mysterious death of two teenage runaway girls," Nobel said.

The movie, which has a $500,000 budget, is bucking a trend of movies being filmed in places like New Mexico, where industry insiders say tax incentives have been appealing to filmmakers.

"The producer's looking to maximize their dollars, and the best way to maximize the dollars from the production standpoint is tax incentives," said actor Dean Cain, who was also on the set Friday.

"We're considered a fly-by state right now on their way to New Mexico," Colossal Studios owner Jerry Frawley said. "They could stop here. We have the Grand Canyon. We have great people. We have probably the best weather in the country."

Frawley and co-owner Kurt Ritter invited Rep. Carl Seel, R-Phoenix, to the set in hopes of convincing the Arizona Legislature to help bring more films to the state.

"What I was invited down to do is to see how this industry could increase high-paying, quality jobs here and attract more investment to Arizona," Seel said.

A recent study found that as many as $6 are returned to a local economy for every dollar spent on a film production.

Frawley and Ritter are doing all they can to bring the movies back to Arizona but say without the help of state officials, it will continue to be an uphill battle.