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Texas Film Commission

Gary R. Edgerton General

In 1970 the office of Governor Preston Smith began taking an active part in promoting the potential of the rapidly growing film industry in Texas. The Texas Film Commission, established in 1971, brought about the production in Texas of 114 theatrical and television movies over the next decade. The governor oversaw one state and six separate municipal film bureaus in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio, whose combined performance led Governor Mark White to claim that "Texas stands as a genuine 'Third Coast' alternative to the traditional production centers." A consultant estimated that film, video, and television production put about $500 million into the economy of Texas in 1980. In addition to movies, the Texas Film Commission promotes documentaries, network and public television series, music videos, commercials, and industrial films. The ultimate purpose of the commission is to stimulate local growth while attracting the profits of major motion picture and video production to the state. The commission assists media companies in surveying and selecting locations. It monitors the cost of lodging, meals, transportation, equipment, sets, props, storage, local labor, and studio facilities, and the availability of police, fire, sanitation, and medical services. The commission also fosters a statewide talent pool, participates in minor casting, locates extras, helps with wardrobes and props, and catalogues the regional availability of production service personnel and technology. Texas is one of more than forty states with film commissions. In spite of its small budget, the Texas Film Commission has helped Texas to assume the rank of fourth among the states (behind California, New York, and Florida) in the production of movies and television shows, and the industry has brought corresponding cultural and financial profits. The commission became a part of the Texas Department of Commerce in 1987.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Gary R. Edgerton, “Texas Film Commission,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 28, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.