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About the Film Office | Helpful Hints | Incentives For Filmmakers (LB 863) | News Archive

September 2016

Biga releases new edition of Alexander Payne book

OMAHA, NE––Alexander Payne expert Leo Adam Biga has released a new edition of his book "Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film." Biga's passion project and labor of love is a must-read for movie buffs and fans.

The book sells for $25.95, plus tax. Available via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle and at select bookstores and gift shops. The book may also be ordered from Biga at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 402-445-4666.

"Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film" is full of insights into the Oscar-winning writer-director's creative process gleaned from the author's 20 years of interviewing and covering the filmmaker. The book is a collection of Biga's extensive journalism about Payne and his work.

Strong praise for "Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film"– “This is without question the single best study of Alexander Payne’s films, as well as the filmmaker himself and his filmmaking process. In charting the first two decades of Payne’s remarkable career, Leo Adam Biga pieces together an indelible portrait of an independent American artist, and one that’s conveyed largely in the filmmaker’s own words. This is an invaluable contribution to film history and criticism – and a sheer pleasure to read as well.” – Thomas Schatz, Film scholar and author (“The Genius of the System”).

Biga is an Omaha author-journalist-blogger who often writes about film. In 2012 he turned his in-depth reporting about the celebrated filmmaker from Omaha into “His Journey in Film.”It is the most comprehensive study of Payne's cinema career and work anywhere. Its collection of articles and essays is based on interviews Biga conducted with Payne and with many of his key collaborators. The new edition is releasing this fall through River Junction Press in Omaha and is distribute by Independent Publishers Group out of Chicago. It features expanded and enhanced content, including a Discussion Guide with Index. It makes a great resource for film buffs, critics, filmmakers, educators and students as well as more casual film fans who want a handy Payne primer and trivia goldmine.

The book is updated and current through Payne's “Nebraska” and “Downsizing” projects.

“Downsizing's” (2017) epic, tragicomic tale tackles big ideas having to do with pressing world crises and universal human conflicts. The story’s imagined solution to ever depleted world resources is downsizing human beings to a fraction of normal size, thus decreasing mankind’s footprint on planet Earth. Only the reduction experience doesn’t quite go the way that Paul, the Everyman hero played by Matt Damon, envisioned. We go down the rabbit hole of this dark wonderland with Matt into a mind-blowing, soul-stirring, heart-breaking and ultimately inspiring odyssey that traverses everything from geo-political intrigue to classism and racism to human trafficking to love.

The adventure immerses us into new worlds that may represent the new dawn of man. Payne and his collaborators have traveled the globe to make an ambitious film shooting in multiple countries and starring an international cast. It promises to be a cinematic experience filled with spectacle, pathos and satire, yet never losing touch with human intimacy. Every Payne film is about a physical, emotional, intellectual journey. The stakes for the journey Paul takes in “Downsizing” are high because, unbeknownst to Paul, humanity’s future rests on his actions.

Payne and his film should get lots of attention when it releases next year.

“His Journey in Film” takes you deep inside the creative process of this world cinema artist and follows the arc of his filmmaking journey over a 20-year span, when he went from brash indie newcomer to mature, consummate veteran. Along the way, he’s made a handful of the best reviewed American films of the past two decades and his movies have garnered many top honors at festivals and at the Independent Spirit Awards, the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.

This is a must-get book for Nebraskans who want to know how this native son has arrived at rarefied heights and in the company of legends. Nebraskans love the fact that through all of Payne's remarkable success, he has remained rooted to this place. There is much more to come from him and much more to be said about his work. But for now "Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film" is the definitive word on his journey and output.

Look for announcements about Biga book talks and signings at:

Leo Adam Biga
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kira Gale
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The following power point presentation provides information about the various film industry incentives that have been presented to the legislature over the last 20 years. To date, the only successful attempt to offer an incentive is LB 840, which you can read about on this page. Although the legislation allows those communities who currently use LB 863, a local sales tax, it is up to that community to include the addition of LB840 for film and media production.

History of Nebraska Film and Media Legislation PowerPoint PPTX or PDF


If you are interested in learning more about the Municipal incentive available in some communities across the state, please click on the links below. In order to qualify for the incentive, you must register your project with the Nebraska Film Office. This is a Municipal incentive, not a state-sponsored incentive, however. We are here to help you make the connections you need to begin the process for this potential resource.

For the list of communities that participate with LB840 funds:
Community Link

Legislative Bill Final Reading:

Revised Statute 18-2739

Each community uses their fund for economic development activities and building infrastructure. With the passage of LB863, the LOMEDA act was amended and the codification of the language of Film development was included. The communities that participate with this fund now have the opportunity to use this for film and media projects. Do not wait until the last minute to inquire about this fund. Lead times will vary from community to community. Contact NFO for more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

May 2016

It’s been a busy spring turning quickly into summer in Nebraska for film and media activities. Complementing a variety of local independent features and shorts, Omaha environs hosted locations for 3.5 days of filming for Alexander Payne’s current project, “Downsizing” in April. Other locations for the feature film from Paramount include Ontario, California, Pinewood Toronto Studios, Toronto, Canada, and Norway. The feature film from Paramount Pictures is scheduled for theatrical release in 2017.

The movie stars Matt Damon, Kristen Wigg, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Jason Sudeikis, Neil Patrick Harris (who starred in a teli-movie 1994, "My Antonia" filmed on location in the Grand Island area) and a host of other fantastic actors. Nebraska provided several crew who were gamely employed, albeit for a short period of time on the “Downsizing” project. A number of extras were also part of the story as well as speaking roles from our local acting community. The story is characterized as a social satire centering around a man who realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself. The screenplay was written by writer/director Payne and his writing/producing partner, Jim Taylor who together have collaborated on many other films including Jurassic Park III, Citizen Ruth, Election, Sideways and About Schmidt.

Nebraska Independent Film Projects hosted a “Pitch Pit” in Lincoln in April. It was a well- attended event at Turbine Flats and we look forward to future events like this in both Lincoln and Omaha.

The Nebraska Film Association’s monthly networking events have brought many enthusiasts together this year with such local notables as Patty Dillon, filmmaker, “There Will Be No Stay,” Melanie Recker, “Dirges In The Dark,”The Man I Thought I Knew,” and, “Bush Pigs,” and, Omaha’s Adam DeVine’s mother, Penny shared with us the life and times of her Hollywood pop son, Adam DeVine and his rocket-like take-off in the industry.

Nebraska’s independent film and media scene is exploding with development of features, shorts, documentaries and animation projects. For for information about what’s happening locally and beyond, check out these social media pages:

Nebraska Sreenwriter's Forum:

Screenwriter's Networking Group:

Screenwriting Blogs, Interviews, & Advice:

Nebraska Actors and Actresses:


UCLA 'World Premiere' in Los Angeles CA

Please join us for a celebration of screenwriting with the premiere of "Once In A Lew Moon," a new documentary on the craft and business of screenwriting featuring legendary UCLA screenwriting professor Lew Hunter at the James Bridges Theater (UCLA Campus, 235 Charles E. Young Drive) ?on Friday, February 12th from 7:30-11pm. Directed by Lonnie Senstock.

"Once in A Lew Moon" showcases top Hollywood UCLA screenwriting professors Lew Hunter and Richard Walter, along with interviews of Academy award-winning screenwriters Billy Wilder ("Some Like It Hot"), Julius Epstein ("Casablanca"), Ron Bass ("Rainman"), Callie Khouri ("Thelma and Louise"), and Oliver Stone ("Platoon"), who were guests in Lew's 434 screenwriting class.

Renowned screenwriting UCLA alumni Francis Coppola ("The Godfather"), Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor ("Sideways"), Mike Werb ("The Mask"), and Felicia Henderson (“Gossip Girl”) are also highlighted in the documentary.

Please honor Lew during his final year of teaching at UCLA this winter quarter. Light refreshments will be served. There will be Nebraska showings TBA in March 2016. Stay tuned & WRITE ON!

Once Upon A Time Pictures


Nebraska Location Manager, Rob Christoffersen with Midlocations is featured in the Location Managers Guild of America Winter 2016 edition of Compass! Way to go Rob!

Compass Magazine Winter 2016


Holiday Greetings!

December and January are the months to get organized for your upcoming shoot in Nebraska! Oh, you say you are already shooting? Very good. We do have many local independent filmmakers actively engaged in writing, directing and producing a variety of projects. We wish them all much success. The collaborative process of filmmaking is just that, collaborative. Polish the narrative. Finalize your screenplay and budget. Cast the right actor. Secure locations with your seasoned location manager. Hire local veterans in the industry. Providing positions to local crew and services on your project helps build a strong base and infrastructure that can attract more projects to Nebraska.

And, don’t forget to register your project with the Nebraska Film Office. We keep this information for our records as a tool to gauge the economic impact across the state. No project too small! No project too big!

A joyous holiday wish to you all and the best for a Happy New Year!


INDIEPOSSIBLE announces its 2016 Film Festival and Screenplay Competition call for entries. $5,000.00 Grand Prize for Best Screenplay! All feature films, shorts, web series, and screenplays can be submitted through it's website at via the FilmFreeway link. Get noticed by top industry professionals. Winning submissions get a personal pitch meeting with Aloris Entertainment, LLC. For more information visit
Regards, Damon Borrelli This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 401-952-5915

FALL 2015

Beautiful fall is upon us! The kids are back in school, the sports enthusiasts are making noise and Nebraska independent film festivals are rockin’!!

The 3rd annual PRAIRIE LIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL kicks off October 16, 17, and 18th in Grand Island at the historic The Grand Theatre! Come see dozens of local films and the world premieres of a number of feature length films!
Prairie Lights Flyer

AND, The SCREAM IN THE DARK FILM FESTIVAL, Omaha, happens to fall on the same weekend! Films from 11 Countries, 4 Continents and More than a Dozen States...See the Film Schedule Here!--

Vendors, Onsite dining/beverages, Filmmakers and Horror Celebrities; featuring Arcadia, Nebraska-native, Leslie Easterbrook ( The Devil's Rejects, Howl of a Good Time, the Police Academy franchise and countless other TV, Film and Stage credits) Also joining us will be music composer extraordinaire, Timothy Andrew Edwards (Supernatural, Sick People)

Other Horror Celebrities joining us at the Festival will be Texas Chainsaw Massacre alumni, John Dugan "Grampa Sawyer" and Teri McMinn, who portrayed the ill-fated, "Pam"!! Both making their first trips to Nebraska.

Teri and John will help us kick-off the festival with a Dr. San Guinary's Creature Feature Live! charity screening of Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974 Original) on Friday, Oct. 16th 2015 and will be with us through the 18th.

All ticket sales to this Friday night charity event will benefit the Rite Care Clinics of Nebraska

Visit our website for the film schedule, ticket info, what vendors will be attending and more!

Scream In The Dark Omaha


Special tribute to Nebraska screenwriter, Lew Hunter, former professor of screenwriting at UCLA, Screenwriting 434, pre-eminent tool for teaching and learning screenwriting. Lew and his wife Pamela also host the Superior Screenwriting Colony events in Superior, Nebraska. An annual event, screenwriters from all across the national and from around the world find themselves sitting in front of the Yoda of the quota of words that fall into place for a well written story and eventually, a screenplay.

Lew is to be honored at this year’s White Light City Film Festival, ( in Fremont.


The White Light City Film Festival is being held the weekend of October 2nd in support of The Digg Site Productions

The Digg Site Productions’ mission as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is to educate the public through documentary film, to provide an accredited documentary film camp for high school and college students, and to expand film opportunities in Nebraska and throughout the world.

Guests for the 2015 Film Festival announced!

October 2nd – 4th, 2015
Fremont, NE


Lew Hunter Honorary Dinner
6:00 Pm cash bar, 7:00 PM dinner, program to follow
$50 per person
$650 table of eight (includes festival screening passes)
Special guests:
Lew hunter
Tom Osborne
Guest speakers: Lonnie Senstock, Ehren Parks. More names added as they become available.
Clips from ONCE IN A LEW MOON : Lonnie Senstock



Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Omaha in Papillion at Werner Park is gearing up to open soon.
Check out their activities and events and job postings on Facebook.


Now showing at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, “Grandma" starring Lilly Tomlin and "Jimmy’s Hall”,


Buckle up and hold on! We’re in for a fabulous fall line up of events! See you at the movies!



Spring is quickly becoming summer. The temps are up and down but we know those temps won’t be temperate for long. Now is the time to plan for that summer shoot. Get your locations organized. We can help. Give us a holler and we can assist in permitting if necessary and other location services and needs. We are 77,000 square miles of rolling hills and prairie, lakes, rivers and ravines. You will be surprised at the variety you will find within the zone of production.

Contact us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


We look forward to working with you and helping you get your project lensed on time and under budget. See you soon!

About the Film Officelogo_onwhite.gif

Nebraska has a rich heritage in the film industry. From the early work of Fred Niblo, 1920s silent film director from York, to actresses Marg Helgenberger, from North Bend and Hilary Swank from Lincoln, and director, producer and screenwriter Alexander Payne, from Omaha, the state knows how to grow and nurture talent. Keep your eyes on this site for future information related to the state’s presence in the film world.

Be sure to check out the Nebraska Independent Film Projects (, Film Streams ( and the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center ( These entities represent a small part of the infrastructure that helps Nebraska’s independent industry flourish.

Economic Research Associates has completed a study of the film industry in Nebraska. An electronic version of the complete study and the executive summary is available as a PDF file, clicking here. It provides valuable information regarding the economic impact of the film industry at large and analysis of the industry in Nebraska.

Check out one of the many interactive photo galleries featuring some of the state's most scenic landscapes: Photogallery

Thanks for stopping by. FILM NEBRASKA!
Helpful hints:

  • The Web site offers wide ranging photos of many Nebraska locations. It's a common misperception that Nebraska is flat! The lowest point of elevation is in Richardson County, eastern end of the state, at 840 feet. The highest point is in Kimball County, western end at 5,424 feet higher than Denver!
  • From rolling fields of corn, beans, wheat and other crops in the east, to the cattle-grazing Sandhills in the mid-section and the beautiful Pine Ridge of the west, Nebraska’s topography is diverse. The state also experiences four full seasons. Crops are planted in the spring(April-May)mature through the summer (June-August), and are harvested in the fall (September-October). Check out our crop planting and weather information so you can better assist your company in preparing for upcoming commercial production. Plan ahead!
  • Nebraska history? It might be significant to know the facts so you can use 'em or lose 'em, depending on your approach to artistic license when creating!
  • How do I get to Nebraska? Direct flights to Omaha are available from coast to coast Nebraska is served by United, American, American West, TWA, Frontier, Delta, Southwest and soon)--Express Jet will have flights from Omaha to the California cities of Ontario and San Diego(Check with your travel agent.) .

So, that's just the beginning. Thanks for stopping. Let us know how we can help make your next production a success in Nebraska. See you soon...

Nebraska Film Officer
Laurie Richards
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Nebraska Film Office
P.O. Box 98907
Lincoln, NE 68509-8907
Contact Us: Contact Form

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Nebraska Department of Economic Development | Courtney Dentlinger, Department Director
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Phone (800) 426-6505 | Fax (402) 471-3778