Editor’s Note: Due to some personal business, we weren’t able to get our weekly round-up of the week’s film incentive news posted on Saturday as is our usual practice. Sorry about the delay!
It’s time for our weekly look at some of the news about film incentive programs around the country. Now, you know the focus of this site is Oregon’s film and TV industry, and its effect on the state’s economy. It’s important to keep an eye on trends nationwide, though. The film and TV industry is an interdependent organism; what happens around the country affects Oregon’s industry, and what happens in Oregon affects the rest of the country as well.
While each state’s incentive program is different, it’s important to see the “big picture” by keeping an eye on the choices other states have made – to learn from their successes and their mistakes.
So With That…
Before we start this week’s round-up, a report from Ernst and Young and the Motion Picture Association of America was released this week which evaluates the effectiveness of state film tax credit programs across the country, and finds that most programs benefit the economies of states that offer them. This report stands in stark contrast to many reports published by groups that call the efficacy of film incentives into question.
California’s effort to stem what it calls “runaway production” continues, with one commentator likening the state’s film and TV industry to the business of its ports - and urging the renewal of the Golden State’s incentive program.
Film and TV workers in Colorado are celebrating the news that House Bill 1286, which increases the Centennial State’s film incentive program to make it more competitive with neighboring states, has passed the state Senate and is headed for the governor’s desk for signature.
Arizona’s Film and TV workers, however, aren’t celebrating the news that governor Jan Brewer has signed a budget which doesn’t include a new film incentive program. The Grand Canyon State has been without a film incentive program since its legislature allowed the existing program to expire at the beginning of 2011.
The embattled New Mexico film incentive program, which was the source of much controversy during the 2011 legislative session, is going to be put under a microscope. Governor Susana Martinez has ordered a study of state tax credits for the film industry, and their impact on tourism, education and job creation in the Land of Enchantment.
As Michigan continues to adjust to its recently pared-down film incentive program, the Wolverine State is going high-tech with its efforts to connect with filmmakers interested in shooting there. The Michigan Film Office announced the release of a new IPhone app this week which will provide a mobile database of crew and locations in the state.
Tennessee is boosting its film incentive program by changing the program from a tax credit-based formula to direct grants to producers. State Senator Mark Norris, who sponsored the bill making this change in the Volunteer State’s General Assembly, says this change should provide $2 million in extra funding to the film incentive program – and film and TV workers in the state (who have seen their jobs leave for nearby states such as Georgia) are very grateful for the news.
While film officials in Ohio are happy about The Avengers’ strong showing after it shot in Cleveland last year, they acknowledge that there’s much work to be done if the state (and Cleveland specifically) is to create “a film industry… that’s 24/7, 365 days a year.”
North Carolina is still riding high on the success of The Hunger Games, and the state is looking forward to a slate of high-profile productions such as Iron Man 3 and a group of television shows. Thanks to the Tar Heel State’s strong film incentive program, production spending in the state has already surpassed 2011′s record of $228 million.
And finally, outside US Borders… It hasn’t been a particularly good week for Canada. First, the film industry called foul on Saskatchewan’s plans to replace its 45% film incentive program with a 25% subsidy. Then, later in the week, word broke that Vancouver has lost the planned Wolverine sequel to Australia ”for economic reasons…” South Africa, meanwhile, is changing its film incentive program to enable “post production companies to attract work that is not necessarily filmed in South Africa.”