Wyoming OKs prod'n sales tax rebate plan

The Wyoming legislature has passed a bill creating the Wyoming Film and Video Reward Account, a state sales tax rebate program for film and video companies shooting in the state. The film and video account rebates the state’s 3% portion of the sales tax to any production company that spends $500,000 or more within any 12-month period.

Backing of the bill came after Sony shot “Starship Troopers” in Hell’s Half Acre, near Casper, last summer — which contributed several million dollars to the area’s economy.

“With no state income tax, with the waiver of the lodging tax after 30 days, and with the upcoming rebate of the state sales tax to production companies, we think we’re exhibiting ourselves as a state friendly to the production business,” said Bill Lindstrom, manager of the Wyoming film office.

The reward account goes into effect July 1.

*

The Saskatchewan Motion Picture Assn. elected a new board of directors recently, including new president Rob King — a producer, writer and director.

The 12-member board, made up of local industry professionals, is charged with the cultural and economic growth of film and video production in the Canadian province.

The revenue generated from the indigenous and out-of-state film industry has grown in Saskatchewan from $5 million in 1991 to the $26.4 million the industry brought to the area last year. Continued growth is de-pendent on the renewal of SaskFilm, the provincial government agency that provides equity financing to film productions and provides location services, as well as the establishment of a film and video tax credit.

With these programs in place, production in the area is projected to grow to $64.4 million by the year 2000, creating 1,750 new jobs.

“Our focus this year will be to encourage a greater balance between our industry’s growing economic and cultural maturity, and the level of public and government support we receive,” said Rob King.

*

Marking a 14% increase over 1995, the state of Virginia reports that film crews brought more than $32 million during 825 production days in the state last year.

According to the Virginia film office, the greatest area of growth in 1996 was in TV productions. While feature films brought in a lion’s share of the revenue stream — with nearly $25 million increased only slightly from the year before — revenue from TV productions doubled from 1995. Commercial filming also saw a significant boost last year, increasing 7% from 1995.

Among the productions that shot in the state last year were “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” “Contact,” “Edwards and Hunt,” the Demi Moore starrer “A Matter of Honor” (formerly “G.I. Jane”) and “Kironan,” starring Jessica Lange and Gwenyth Paltrow.

*

The board of directors of the California Film Commission will hold its next public meeting on April 18 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. The meeting will be held in the first-floor conference room of the Zukor Building.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more