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Memphis headed to the big screen

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

It's a love story set to music. "Memphis: The Musical" is based on the life of Dewey Philips, the Memphis disc jockey responsible for putting Rock 'n Roll hits on the radio.

Soon it will be made into a feature film.

"It's definitely going to be a musical film," said Molly Smith, a native Memphian and successful movie producer for Alcon Entertainment. "But it's probably going to be more drama with music in it, more like "Walk the Line" or "Dream Girls," where the music is organic to the story."

Smith, who was also an executive producer for "Blind Side," has a new movie called "Beautiful Creatures" comes out in February 2013. The Blind Side was set in Memphis, but filmed in Georgia. Smith hopes to keep "Memphis: The Musical" in Memphis.

"Tennessee has just been one of those states that unfortunately has been a little harder to bring films to in the past couple years," she said. "I've had to take a couple films to Georgia and Louisiana because of more competitive tax incentives."

Moviemaking is expensive, and Smith wants every dollar to go to the screen.

Her last movie filmed in Louisiana and saw a 32 percent tax rebate. Smith says right now, Tennessee only offers 15 percent.

Lynn Sitler with the Shelby County and Memphis Film Commission says both mayors and state officials are working together to bring "Memphis: The Musical" to Memphis.

"Memphis is a character in this story," said an optimistic Smith. "It's all set on Beale Street so it would be great to work this out and do it there."

She says shooting movies on location means using local vendors and an influx of jobs.

"As a Memphian born and raised in Memphis, I've always dreamed of doing something and shooting in Memphis," she said. "Filmmakers like Craig Brewer have had the pleasure of shooting in Memphis.  Of course it would be a tragedy to not do something called Memphis in Memphis."

"Memphis: The Musical' will return to the Orpheum Theatre for a limited engagement April 23-28, 2013.

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