The Cherokee Nation Film Office (CNFO) announced a new film incentive program that will provide up to $1 million in annual funding for productions filmed within the Cherokee Nation. The first program of its kind offered by a tribal film office in the U.S., the Cherokee Nation Film Incentive aims to create economic development and help grow the film industry in the 14-county reservation.

“In addition to expanding career opportunities for Indigenous filmmakers, producers, directors, actors and behind-the-scenes crew members, this new incentive program reinforces Cherokee Nation’s commitment to creating quality jobs and supporting small, family-owned businesses within our tribal communities,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. in a press release Tuesday.  

CNFO, the nation’s first certified Native American film commission, is dedicated to increasing Native American presence in the film and television industries. The Cherokee Nation Film Incentive fulfills that mission by encouraging film and television production, while also helping employ Native citizens and support Native-owned businesses. 

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“Encouraging productions to film within Cherokee Nation’s many vast and beautiful locations, as well as to hire Indigenous people and utilize Native-owned businesses, offers an immense amount of opportunity for tribal citizens, families and businesses,” said Jennifer Loren, director of Cherokee Nation Film Office and Original Content, in the press release. 

CNFO will begin accepting applications for the program on March 1. The base incentive offers a cash rebate for qualified production expenses. Prequalified productions filming anywhere within Cherokee Nation’s 7,000 square miles of northeast Oklahoma are eligible for the rebate incentive, the press release states.

The State of Oklahoma offers its own film incentive program, the Filmed in Oklahoma Act of 2021, administered by the Oklahoma Film and Music Office. The Cherokee Nation Film Incentive will be offered individually or in conjunction with the state’s program. However, each program requires a separate application process.  

Additional details regarding the Cherokee Nation Film Incentive are available at https://cherokee.film/filmincentives

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Author: Kelsey TurnerEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Kelsey Turner is a contributing writer for Native News Online and a graduate student at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.