Gov. Jerry Brown has until Monday night to decide on the fate of the state’s film tax credit incentive program — with no signal yet as to whether he’ll approve.
Two bills to extend California’s tax credit production incentive program for two years with $100 million annually were approved by the State Legislature on Aug. 31, the final day of the session. That set up a 30-day deadline for Brown to approve or veto the bills.
Should Brown pull the plug, the final $100 million in credits for the program would be doled out next June via a lottery by the California Film Commission.
Reps for authors — Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D.-Sylmar) and Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), told Variety they have not received any indication of what Brown or when he will do it. Faced with a similar situation a year ago, Brown waited until the final evening to approve a one-year extension to the program with $100 million in credits.
California’s program, approved in 2009 after years of pushing by showbiz and by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is significantly smaller than those in other states attempting to lure away production. Maximum credit is 25% and demand far exceeds supply with only 28 of more than 330 applicants being initially chosen in the most recent lottery in June.
In 2011, the number of projects granted an allocation grew to 73 from the initial 29 because several larger projects withdrew from the program, and their credits were reassigned to many smaller budget independent projects. The program currently has three series receiving the credits and in production locally — “Rizzoli & Isles,” “Bunheads” and “Body of Proof,” which moved from Rhode Island last season after receiving the California credit.
Recently wrapped productions backed by the credits include HBO’s Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra,” Terrence Malick’s “Knight of Cups” and Halle Berry indie feature “The Hive,” which was slated to shoot in Ottawa before receiving the incentive. Indie feature “Baggage Claim” and cable series “Teen Wolf,” which relocated from Georgia after receiving the California credit, will start shooting next month.
Statistics from FilmLA, which tracks shooting outside studio lots, showed that four TV series with credits — “Major Crimes,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Rizzoli & Isles” and “Switched at Birth” — contributed 61 permitted days during the second quarter, or 1.8% of the total offlot TV shoots.
FilmLA reported Tuesday that weekly overall stats declined 7% to 645 days, or 45 below the same week a year ago. TV rose 14% with “Parks & Recreation,” “Ben and Kate,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Raising Hope” shooting locally.
Feature shoots slid 37% to 110 days with “Body High” as the most active with 14 days. Other film shooting locally included “The Lone Ranger,” “Plush” and “Carriers.”