While the official ribbon-cutting won’t be until July 12, Virginia’s New Millennium Studios will see its first real unveiling next week in Petersburg. The full-service film production studio, built by actor Tim Reid and a group of local investors, is located 25 miles south of Richmond.
The first production to use New Millennium’s Phase I will be Robert Greenwald’s TNT film “The Day Lincoln Was Shot,” which will be lensed against the backdrop of an exterior replica of a 19th-century White House.
Phase I includes a 15,000-square-foot soundstage, post facilities and a 15-acre backlot. New Millennium’s Phase II and Phase III (scheduled for completion by summer 1998 and 1999), will add four soundstages, a permanent studio headquarters, backlot expansion and storage facilities.
Virginia officials are looking to pull in lensing that normally would go to Washington, figuring lensers will find easier production a few miles south. Thanks to a gift from Disney to Virginia, New Millennium also offers an “exact” replica of the Oval Office, which has sparked the interest of MGM producers of “Species II,” according to Rebecca Albert, marketing manager of the Virginia Film Office. The Oval Office set first appeared in Disney’s “First Kid.”
MINNESOTA HAS JOINED the rebate game, but with a new spin. The state legislature has approved funding for the Minnesota Film Production Jobs Fund, which gives a 5% rebate for hiring Minnesotan crew, actors, editors and for the use of local soundstage equipment, set construction, film processing and post-production facilities. There is a rebate limit of $100,000 per project.
Instead of applying for a sales tax refund, filmmakers only need to complete a one-page form, which will be processed within 30 days, according to Minnesota Film Office exec director Randy Adamsick. Officials from the Land of 10,000 Lakes hope the program will bring in more out-of-state productions and encourage the use of local labor and services, as well as be a catalyst for Minnesota-based features.
KANSAS LEGISLATURE just passed a 4.9% state sales tax rebate for production expenditures. For expenses after July 1, rebates are available for purchases related to production of feature films, national network or syndication programming, television projects, direct-to-video, compact disc projects and television commercials.