Arkansas Entices the Making of 'Mud'

The total cost for making “Mud,” the biggest movie production ever filmed in Arkansas, isn’t public information, but the state Department of Finance & Administration did audit “Mud” expenses eligible for state incentives this fall.

Such qualified production costs totaled $9.3 million, Tom Rugger, manager of the department’s Tax Credits & Special Refunds Section, said last week.

Moviemakers of individual projects — with budgets of $50,000 or greater, filmed within a six-month period and 75 percent of which is shot in Arkansas — can receive a 15 percent rebate from the state, and can get an additional 10 percent rebate for hiring Arkansans to staff production crews.

Estimates for the total cost of “Mud” have been around $10 million, but since $9.3 million were eligible to be audited for state rebates, the film’s total budget could have been much larger. Work like the “Mud” filming done in Louisiana was not eligible for Arkansas rebates.

Arkansas paid out a total of $2.245 million in discretionary funding from the governor to Neckbone Productions, the company that produced “Mud.”

“Mud,” directed by Little Rock native Jeff Nichols, is scheduled to debut in 2013 in the U.S.