U.S. Virgin Islands Lure Multiple Film Shoots

Although it has no conventional tax incentives or rebates, production in the U.S. Virgin Islands is coming on strong after the economic downturn.

“Since 2009 we have done over $20 million in business,” says Steve Bornn, development manager, Film USVI. “Local hires have significantly been impacted with crews as deep as over 100.”

Two blockbusters — “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn” (Summit, pictured) and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount), which both shot on the island of St. Thomas — also helped put the islands back on the map, while commercials, fashion and TV “continue to be the bread and butter.”

This year has seen a lot of activity, including shoots for CBS’ “The Amazing Race” (St. Thomas and St. John); Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods America With Andrew Zimmern” (St. Croix); HGTV’s “Beachfront Bargain Hunters” (four episodes); PBS Weekend Explorer; and commercials for Pottery Barn Kids, Nordstrom, Seagram, Izod, Alloy Apparel and Princess Cruises.

Bornn reports that legislation for incentives is pending. “We’re hopeful it will be enacted by year’s end,” he says. “This would include competitive transferable tax credits and rebates. There’s no sales tax here, and productions receive special exemption from excise taxes, duty and bonds on importation of equipment and accessories.”

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