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…
Michigan continues to be the largest battle-ground in the national debate over film incentives. As we’ve reported in the past, Michigan governor Rick Snyder has proposed capping the Wolverine State’s popular film incentive program at $25 million, impacting several businesses working in the states film and TV industry. A town hall meeting in Livonia, MI Thursday night drew a crowd of 3000 film and TV supporters – including high-profile Michigander Jeff Daniels who urged the crowd to ask their legislators to keep the state’s existing incentive program.
Meanwhile, Louisiana is watching the goings-on in Michigan with concern. The first state to offer film incentive programs, Louisiana has seen its industry grow substantially in the past few years – but fears about the Pelican State’s budget are leading some to wonder if Louisiana might not follow Michigan’s lead in trimming down its film incentive program.
Another state benefitting from Michigan’s troubles is Alaska, where a producer scouting locations recently gave the Wolverine State “the finger” when asked how Alaska’s film incentive program compares to Michigan’s. We’ve reported in the past on the success of Alaska’s incentive program, and on the the support it has from Alaskan residents and businesses… and from filmmakers who’ve shot projects there!
Film and TV workers in New Mexico are cautiously optimistic about a compromise plan in the state House which will purportedly find the savings and transparency in that state’s film incentive program demanded by Governor Susana Martinez – but maintain the level funding needed to keep the Land of Enchantment’s industry thriving.
North Carolina is still struggling with a recent proposal by its State Employee’s Association to cut The Old North State’s film incentive program. The recommendation is especially confusing to film and TV workers as they’re seeing their industry grow at a phenomenal rate (another big-budget project was added to North Carolina’s slate of productions just this week.)
California is also seeing conflicts between film and TV unions and public employee and teacher’s unions, as the Golden State works to increase the film incentives it offers to filmmakers.
Nebraska is one of only seven states not to offer any film incentives, but the Cornhusker State’s legislature is working to change that – and they’re getting support from the director of a film set in Iowa, but filmed in Michigan.
You may remember our reporting on Arizona’s decision to allow its film incentive program to lapse at the beginning of 2011. One last film was able to take advantage of the Grand Canyon State’s program before it ended, and the feature film Goats is starting production in Tucson… but film and TV workers worry that it will be the last big-budget film to visit that state until its film incentives are resurrected.
Colorado’s innovative plan to charge 10 cents per movie ticket to fund its film incentive program has gone through some changes after grumbling that the plan was a new “tax on consumers.” The program is now a voluntary donation at the box office. Meanwhile, support for increasing film incentives in the Rocky Mountain State is gaining traction as the True Grit (which could have been shot in Colorado) heads to the Academy Awards tomorrow night.
Tennessee is seeing more and more of its film and TV production leaving the state. This has spurred members of the Volunteer State’s legislature to consider a new package of incentives to keep film and TV jobs within the state’s borders.
Meanwhile, film and TV workers in Pennsylvania are holding their breath waiting for governor Tom Corbett to release his new budget.