It’s Saturday, which means 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…
North Carolina’s film industry has had an up-and-down year. We reported last week on governor Beverly Purdue’s announcement that New Line Cinema’s Journey 2: The Mysterious Island would be produced in the The Old North State – but that was after the state lost an adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks story The Lucky One (which is set in North Carolina) to incentive-rich Louisiana. This in-depth story in Wilmington’s Star News takes a candid look at the challenges film offices face as they try to bring big-budget films and television to their region.
We also reported last week on growing opposition to Utah’s plans to raise its film incentive from 20% to 25% – an effort to compete with neighboring New Mexico’s popular incentive. That opposition is continuing to build as another Utah-based think-tank released a position-paper this week against the proposed increase.
Michigan’s best-in-the-nation incentive program continues to be a hot issue in that state’s gubernatorial contest as election day draws near. Both candidates have strong opinions on the program – and don’t mind sharing them on the radio. Michigan press is full of coverage, with newspapers running editorials with pro and con messages, television stations running stories on the plusses-and-minuses of the growing industry, and radio stations looking at what the industry is bringing to the Wolverine State. Meanwhile, local production companies within Michigan who don’t take advantage of the state’s incentives point out that their presence has made their work easier and more effective as well.
Things are getting worse for Iowa’s scandal-ridden incentive program. You may remember that a couple weeks ago we reported on new revelations about corruption in the Hawkeye State’s incentive program; now the program is becoming a campaign issue in the race for Iowa’s Secretary of State on the heels of a state auditor’s report on last year’s scandal.
Proponents of Nevada’s effort to adopt a film incentive plan are continuing to make their case – noting that the state’s lack of incentives has played a major part in productions choosing neighboring New Mexico for their location needs.
And, outside US borders, the big incentive news of the week comes from… Middle Earth! We haven’t reported on the actors’ unions boycott of Peter Jackson’s upcoming 2-Part adaptation of The Hobbit, Jackson’s response and threat to move the films to Eastern Europe, the rallies to keep the films in New Zealand, and the unions rescinding their “no-work order” because it was more of a Labor story than an Incentive story… until this week. This week senior Warner Brothers officials met with New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key, to discuss whether the productions would stay in New Zealand or move to another location. Though Key was adamant that New Zealand would not get into an incentive “bidding war” after his two-hour meeting, some concessions were made to keep the productions on Kiwi soil. All of this, when taken together, serves as an important lesson on the way blockbuster films are made in the 21st century.