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'Friday Night Lights' tops list of state incentive payouts

Charles Ealy

The Texas Film Commission has approved slightly more than $3 million in grants for films, video games and commercials since November, with the television series "Friday Night Lights," Season 3, getting the largest amount of money about $550,000.

Details of the grants, formally known as the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, were released to the American-Statesman on Thursday after a request under the state's Public Information Act.

"The Tree of Life," directed by Terrence Malick, qualified for the next highest payout, about $434,000, followed by director Robert Rodriguez's "Shorts," with about $421,000. "Beneath the Darkness," starring Dennis Quaid and filmed in Smithville, received about $215,000. Other tidbits in the report included about $47,000 in incentives to Sweet Tater LLC for the feature film "Mongolian Death Worm."

Television series and feature films accounted for the largest grants, but the video game "Dragon Age Origins" from Edge of Reality got about $118,000, according to the report. Other incentives for video games went to Challenge Game's "Gridiron Live," with about $32,800; Twisted Pixel Game's "Comic Jumper," with about $33,200; and Amaze Entertainment's "Another Night at the Museum," with about $12,600.

Television commercials typically received incentives ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. Examples included about $12,800 to Knickerbockerglory for the commercial "Mastercard — Homeward Bound" and about $20,000 to Locke Bryan Productions for "Academy 2 — Holiday 2009."

The Texas Film Commission's incentives program is administered through the governor's office. Grants are made using various formulas based upon the amount of money spent in Texas, and they're intended to help keep the state competitive in the film, advertising and video game industries.

cealy@statesman.com; 445-3931