Program modeled on New York City effort

San Antonio, Texas, is following the lead of New York City in film incentives.

Drew Mayer-Oakes, director of the city’s film commission, unveiled San Antonio’s pilot program on Monday at Sundance on an incentives panel. It will supplement the state’s 17.5% cash grant incentive program with a 2.5% incentive. The city’s prepared to dole out as much as $250,000 between March and September to projects that have already qualified for the Texas program and are spending at least $10 million in the state.

“We’re going to be the only Texas program with a 20% incentive,” Mayer-Oakes told Variety. “We think it’s really going to get the attention to have the incentive out of the teens.”

Corky Kessler, an entertainment attorney with Deutsch, Levy & Engel who helped craft the provision, said the timing of the program’s launch is meant to coincide with Austin’s South by Southwest fest in March. He noted that the program’s designed to mimic New York City’s credit.

The state of New York announced in August that a record 23 series were lensing in the state on the heels of the legislature’s five-year renewal of its film incentive tax program, which offers a 30% refundable state tax credit, capped at $420 million per year; New York City offers an additional 5% refundable credit, capped annually at $30 million.

Kessler, who specializes in advising producers on the ins and outs of federal government’s Section 181 incentive program, is also participating on the incentives panel at Sundance titled “Pitfalls to Avoid and Financing Your Film.”

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