United States

Global shooting guide

PRODUCTION INCENTIVES:

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut General Assembly established a 30% tax credit for qualified in-state expenses above $50,000 this year. Incentive went into effect July 1 and applies to income years starting on or after Jan. 1, 2006. Connecticut also offers sales, property and hotel tax exemptions. Before the tax credit went into effect, the state averaged approximately $10 million a year in production dollars, but that number should rise significantly. New incentive and proximity to New York helped lure “In Bloom,” starring Uma Thurman, to Connecticut. Also, Connecticut native Roger Ingraham’s “Moonshine,” which was shot entirely in in the state and used local crews, debuted in the Midnight category at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

KEY CONTACTS:

  • Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism
    Web: ctfilm.com
    Email: heidi.hamilton@ct.gov
    Contact: Heidi Hamilton, division director, film
    Email: ewoolf@cerc.com
    Contact: Ellen Woolf, consultant, film division

FLORIDA

Florida offers two major incentives. First is a 15% cash reimbursement of qualified expenditures for productions with an $850,000 minimum spend. The maximum rebate is $2 million per production. Florida recently doubled its available funds to $20 million. Second is a 6% sales tax exemption on production purchases and rentals. Several cities also offer customized incentive packages. Florida is home to a $3.9 billion entertainment industry. “Miami Vice,” starring Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell, and “The Hawk Is Dying,” starring Paul Giamatti and Michelle Williams, recently shot in Florida. Other recent films shot in Florida include “Boynton Beach Club,” Canvas,” “Full Grown Men” and “My Sexiest Year.”

KEY CONTACTS:

  • Florida Governor’s Office of Film & Entertainment
    Web: filminflorida.com
    Email: paul.sirmons@myflorida.com
    Contact: Paul Sirmons, film commissioner
    Email: filmflorida@earthlink.net
    Contact: Susan Simms, Los Angeles liaison

GEORGIA

New package offers 9% transferable tax credit with $500,000 minimum spend. Additional 3% uplift for shooting in underdeveloped counties and 3% wage uplift for state resident hires (up to $500,000 each). Also, Georgia offers a sales and use tax exemption. Total economic impact in 2005 from combined productions of feature, independent, television, commercial and musicvideos was $145.6 million. “We Are Marshall,” starring Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox and David Strathairn begins filming in Atlanta in late April. Tyler Perry is in post-production with his third Georgia-based film, “Daddy’s Little Girls. “Drumline” and “ATL” were both shot in Atlanta. Two Georgia filmmakers had their world preems at Sundance — Hadjii’s “Somebodies” and James Ponsoldt’s “Off the Black.”

KEY CONTACTS:

  • Georgia Film, Video & Music Office
    Web: Georgia.org
    Lee Thomas, interim director
    Email: lthomas@georgia.org
    Alison Fibben, project manager
    Email: film@georgia.org

ILLINOIS

Illinois Film Production Services Tax Credit Act signed into law recently and went into effect May 1. Package includes 20% off Illinois expenditures with labor costs capped at $100,000. Also, the state pays 20% on Illinois salaries up to $100,000. In 2005, there were eight feature films shot in the state, according to the state film Web site, which brought in a total of $100 million in production dollars. “Grace Is Gone,” starring John Cusack, and “Quebec,” directed by Steve Conrad, both filmed in the Chicago area.

KEY CONTACTS:

  • Illinois Film Office
    Web: Filmillinois.state.il.us
    Email: ifoinfo@commerce.state. il.us
    Contact: Brenda Sexton, m.d.
    Email: Joyce.davis@illinois.gov
    Contact: Joyce Davis, tax credit manager
  • Chicago Film Office
    Web: cityofchicago.org/filmoffice
    Email: rmoskal@cityofchicago. org
    Contact: Richard Moskal, director

LOUISIANA

Louisiana’s film incentives include a 25% investor tax credit for all films that spend more than $300,000 in the state. The state also provides a 10% employment credit for hiring of Louisiana residents (unless salary exceeds $1 million). Both tax credits are fully transferable. There is also a 15% tax credit offered for the construction of post-production facilities. In 2005, Louisiana brought in $550 million in production, and so far in 2006, there has been $341 million in production. There were 28 projects shot in Louisiana in 2005. Total Louisiana payroll was more than $40 million for the year. “The Guardian,” starring Kevin Costner, and “Deja Vu,” starring Denzel Washington, shot in the Shreveport area. “Saint Louis Blues,” starring Sean Patrick Thomas as Louis Armstrong, is being shot in New Orleans.

KEY CONTACTS:

  • Louisiana Office of Film & Television Development
    Web: Lafilm.org
    Email: schott@la.gov
    Contact: Alex Schott, exec director
  • New Orleans Office of Film & Video
    Web: neworleansfilmoffice.com
    Email: sdupuy@mayorofno.com
    Contact:Stephanie Dupuy, exec director

NEW MEXICO

New Mexico offers a 25% tax rebate on all production expenditures that are subject to taxation by the state. It is a refund, not a credit, on the full amount of the expenditure, with no minimum spend and no cap. Film Investment Loan Program offers loans of up to $15 million per project on budgets of at least $1 million. No state sales tax, which can’t be used in conjunction with 25% rebate. Fee-free use of state buildings. A total of 27 feature films have been shot in New Mexico since July, 2005. The Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men” recently shot in New Mexico.

KEY CONTACTS:

  • New Mexico Film Office
    Web: film@nmfilm.com
    Email: jennifer@nmfilm.com
    Contacts: Lisa Strout, director; Jennifer Schwalenberg, deputy director

NEW YORK

State program provides 10% tax credit for qualified productions costs. New York City “Made in N.Y.” program provides an additional 5% credit to the state program for a combined 15% tax credit. Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently extended the “Made in N.Y.” program to 2011. Funding was also increased from $25 million to $60 million for state and from $12.5 million to $30 million for NYC. “Made in N.Y.” marketing credit provides free promotion through outdoor media and discount cards to more than 550 participating vendors. Independent productions accounted for 90% of the 250 feature films lensed in Gotham last year. There was a $1.5 billion economic benefit in 2005 from the “Made in N.Y.” incentive program. Sidney Lumet’s “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” starring Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman, recently shot in New York.

KEY CONTACTS:

  • N.Y. State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & TV Development
    Web: nylovesfilm.com
    Email: nyfilm@empire.state.ny. us
    Contact: Pat Swinney Kaufman, exec director
  • Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater & Broadcasting
    Web: nyc.gov/film
    Contact: Katherine L. Oliver, commissioner

NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina offers a 15% tax credit package for productions spending at least $250,000 in the state. N.C. also offers a 1% cap on sales and use taxes. Ranked third in production behind California and New York, North Carolina hosted 31 features in 2005, and spending on features, TV, commercials and other productions totaled $300 million. “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” was shot in North Carolina, while 2005 Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee “Loggerheads” was filmed and set in the state.

KEY CONTACTS:

  • North Carolina Film Office
    Web: ncfilm.com
    Email: barnold@ncfilm.com
    Contact: Bill Arnold, director

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania offers 20% film production grant for in-state expenses with a yearly cap of $10 million. To qualify, 60% of production must take place in Pennsylvania. Other incentives include sales tax exemption and free use of state-owned property. The economic impact to the state from filming in 2005 was $249 million. “Invincible” shot in the state as well as 2006 CineVegas honoree “The 4th Dimension.”

KEY CONTACTS:

  • Pennsylvania Film Office
    Web: filminpa.com
    Email: jsaul@state.pa.us
    Contact: Jane Saul, director
  • Greater Philadelphia Film Office
    Web: film.org
    Email: sharon@film.org
    Contact: Sharon Pinkenson, exec director
  • Pittsburgh Film Office
    Web: pghfilm.org
    Email: info@pghfilm.org
    Contact: Dawn M. Keezer, director

SOUTH CAROLINA

New incentives package took effect July 1. Productions of more than $1 million are eligible for additional 20% employee wage rebates (for salaries below $1 million) and 30% rebate on South Carolina suppliers. Sales, use and hotel taxes waived with $250,000 minimum spend. No location fee for state properties. “Death Sentence,” starring Kevin Bacon, and “Patriotville,” with Justin Long, are both shooting in South Carolina.

KEY CONTACTS:

  • South Carolina Film Commission
    Web: filmsc.com
    Contacts: Jeff Monks, commissioner, jmonks@sccommerce. com; Tom Clark, grants/project manager, tclark@sccommerce. com; Dan Rogers, senior project manager, drogers@sccommerce. com

IN FOCUS:
“HOUND DOG” IN N.C.: The producers of an untitled Dakota Fanning pic (aka “Hound Dog”) were drawn to North Carolina because of its tax incentives. Now, with the recent signing into law of a 15% tax credit, the state is poised to bring in even more production dollars.
“The key is, as a producer working in the independent world, you have to get added value on your film wherever you can, and you have to go places that offer benefits. That’s why 44 of the 50 states have a tax program,” says Michel Shane, who is financing the film through his Hand Picked shingle and also teaches a course at UCLA on film finance using soft money.
The drama, about a girl in the rural South who escapes abuse through the music of Elvis, was entirely shot in and around Wilmington over a two-month span in June and July. “The crews and the work ethic were top drawer,” says Shane. “It’s a great place to shoot.”

UTAH’S STONE FIVE STUDIOS:
Utah is hoping a perfect storm is brewing. In addition to a year-old incentives bill that includes a 10% rebate for dollars spent in the state, Stone Five Studios in Provo is adding infrastructure to help lure filmmakers. The new full-service facility has given Utah its first working soundstage since the Osmond Studios shuttered in the late ’80s.
Stone Five, which recently completed a 9,200-square-foot soundstage and is constructing a state-of-the-art recording studio, has for the past six years made family comedies aimed at Mormon auds. It has now put a $20 million fund together to do non-Mormon fare. It recently booked a Jewish production from New York: “Beau Jest,” starring Seymour Cassel and Lainie Kazan.
“With the addition of this studio and the things the Utah film commission is doing right now, we hope to stick Utah on the map as the top alternative to shooting in L.A. and N.Y.,” says Dave Hunter, prexy and founder of Stone Five Studios. “It may be lofty, but why not?”

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