The Directors Guild of America has spent years trying to convince Congress to keep film production from heading overseas, and this year there’s real hope the effort will pay off.
Suddenly, bills to guard against runaway production — which contributes to an estimated $10 billion drain on the national economy–are sprouting up all over Capitol Hill.
Last week, Rep. Karen McCarthy (D-Mo.) tried to drum up support for her ambitious “Keep Independent Film Production in the United States” measure. Legislation would allow anyone who invests at least $2 million in a movie to qualify for an income tax deduction — as long as 95% of the wages involved in the film are earned in the U.S.
Bill had 10 sponsors even before McCarthy started circulating it last week, including Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Foley (R-Fla.), two solid showbiz allies.
“Film productions create ripple effects, with revenues and jobs generated in a variety of local businesses,” McCarthy wrote her colleagues in a letter aimed at ginning up support. “These are jobs that can and should remain in the U.S.”
But the legislation also left some in the Hollywood community who didn’t realize it was coming scratching their heads. With so little time left on the congressional calendar this year, it’s highly unlikely McCarthy’s bill will gain traction.
The usual suspects in the runaway production fight have spent the last year quietly working to add more modest incentives to a major must-pass tax bill.
The Senate included the Hollywood provisions in its version of the bill, while the House jettisoned them.
The two sides are preparing to hash out their differences in conference, and guild execs are crossing their fingers that the Senate version prevails.