Sean McNamara's "On Fire" film is the first to use the new Show MO Motion Media Tax Credit

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Sean McNamara's "On Fire" film is the first to use the new Show MO Motion Media Tax Credit

March 28, 2024

Jefferson City, Mo. — The inspirational story of a St. Louis native who overcomes near-fatal burn injuries was the first feature film to receive funding through Missouri's Show MO Motion Media Tax Credit, also known as the Show MO Act.

In-Missouri spending for the production of "On Fire" totaled nearly $6.9 million over 19 days of filming that predominantly took place in St. Louis. During production, which included a day filming in Jefferson City, more than 550 Missourians were employed in roles ranging from day-players to crew members.

The film received $2.75 million in tax credits through the Show MO Act, which is administered by the Missouri Film Office and the Department of Economic Development (DED).

Spanning the mid-1980s through the early 2010s, "On Fire" is based on the true story of St. Louis native John O'Leary. At age 9, O'Leary was burned on 100 percent of his body and given a one percent chance of survival.

While hospitalized, O'Leary was visited by Jack Buck, the legendary voice of the St. Louis Cardinals. The film examines the bond between O'Leary and Buck and O'Leary's life, including his recovery, college years, and rise as an author and motivational speaker.

Joel Courtney and Ozzie Smith

"On Fire" lead actor Joel Courtney and former Cardinals baseball player Ozzie Smith on location filming at Busch Stadium.

"We're thrilled that a Missouri story with such an inspiring message is the first to utilize incentives through the Show MO Act," said Andrea Sporcic-Klund, Director of the Missouri Film Office. "We believe this production will be a springboard to other major motion pictures filming in Missouri."

"On Fire" was produced and directed by Sean McNamara, whose expansive body of work includes "Soul Surfer" and "The Miracle Season," both of which are inspirational films with sports ties. McNamara noted that "On Fire" is the first of many films he would be interested in filming in Missouri.

"We are so proud and honored to be one of the first films to participate with the new Missouri tax credit," said McNamara. "I look forward to future collaboration."

In October 2023, the Missouri Film Office and DED launched the Show MO Motion Media Tax Credit Program, which offers a transferrable tax credit of 20 to 42 percent to eligible motion media projects. The program has an annual cap of $16 million with $8 million designated for feature films and $8 million for series.

The production's spending of nearly $6.9 million in Missouri covered costs associated with wages for cast and crew, payment to local vendors, location fees, catering costs, and more. The production used 1,636 hotel room nights between October and December 2023.

In reporting to the Missouri Film Office, Radically Inspired LLC, the production company behind "On Fire," said it hired Missourians to fill 20 day-player acting positions, 145 crew positions, and 410 background performer positions. For at least nine Missouri resident crew members, this was their first opportunity to work on a feature film.

About the Missouri Film Office

Since 1983, the Missouri Film Office has worked to develop, coordinate and market the film industry and film-related activities in Missouri. The Missouri Film Office serves as the official central point of contact for all statewide inquiries: film, TV shows/segments, commercials, web content, and digital media production.

To learn more about the Missouri Film Office, visit

About the Missouri Department of Economic Development

The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) works to create an environment that encourages economic growth by supporting Missouri’s businesses and diverse industries, strengthening our communities, developing a talented and skilled workforce, and maintaining a high quality of life. As one team built around the customer and driven by data, DED aspires to be the best economic development department in the Midwest. Through its various initiatives, DED is helping create opportunities for Missourians to prosper.

For the latest updates on DED’s current or future programs and initiatives, visit DED’s website.