Lights, camera, tourism in Shelburne Falls

With a boom in movies being shot in Massachusetts, the state mulls teaming with filmmakers to draw tourists to set locations

SHELBURNE FALLS - For the second time in a year, this picturesque Western Massachusetts village was recently taken over by Hollywood, with cameras rolling up and down the main drag and movie stars strolling into coffee shops between takes.

The latest production transformed Bridge Street into the fictional Indiana town of Carlinville for "The Judge," starring Robert Downey Jr. as a lawyer who returns home for his mother's funeral. And even though the name Shelburne Falls will not be featured in the movie, the exposure could be a boon for the village - as well as for the state's budding movie industry.

Tourists and day-trippers showed up to catch a glimpse of the stars and spent money at local restaurants, shops, and other businesses. To extend the economic benefits, the Massachusetts Film Office has proposed creating a tourism package for the village centered around the movie, in collaboration with Warner Bros., the movie's production company.

The state film office is considering similar promotions for other Massachusetts communities that have achieved fame as film locations. In a way, it is the ultimate product placement.

Filming a movie or TV show in the state is an "incredible marketing tool for exposure of the Commonwealth," said Lisa Strout, director of the film office.

"We're so lucky here to have such great-looking towns and landscape," Strout said. "Such a variety, it's just ready for a story to be told."

The film business has boomed in Massachusetts since the state enacted a tax incentive in 2006 that reimburses production companies for up to 25 percent of the cost of filming. This summer, four movies filmed here are opening: "The Heat," The Way Way Back," "Grown Ups 2," and "R.I.P.D."

Read the Full Story in the Boston Globe.

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