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How Kentucky Locations, Incentives Make the Bluegrass State a Great Place for Production

Featured in Variety by Todd Longwell on Sep. 7, 2023


Felipe Dieppa never thought he would set foot in Kentucky. A native of Queens, N.Y., he had a successful career as a child actor, originating the voice of Diego on the animated series “Dora the Explorer” and essaying roles in everything from “Law & Order: SVU” to the movie “Dan in Real Life” before segueing to a career as a producer. But when the pandemic hit, he decided to settle down in Louisville with his fiancée, a Kentucky native who was leaving New York to start a non-alcoholic beverage company in her home state.


When Dieppa arrived, he discovered a thriving grassroots arts scene, a welcoming populace that defies coastal prejudices about “red state” inhabitants, and a film and TV industry that is just beginning to take off, aided by a 30%-35% tax credit. That credit has helped inspire the construction of new soundstage complexes and attracted a wave of visiting productions, including director Ethan Hawke’s biopic “Wildcat,” starring his daughter Maya Hawke as novelist Flannery O’Connor, Ash Alvidsen’s “Queen of the Ring,” starring Emily Bett Rickards and Walton Goggins, and Tracie Laymon’s “Bob Trevino Likes It,” starring Barbie Ferreira and John Leguizamo.


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