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California Expanded Tax Credit Program Draws 254 Film Applicants

The California Film Commission has announced 254 movie projects applied for $55.2 million in tax credits under the state’s recently expanded program — underlining the strong interest in keeping production in the Golden State.

The commission received 32 applications for studio films from $48.3 million in funds and another 222 applications for $6.9 million in funds for independent projects. The application period lasted from July 13 to July 25.

California’s 6-year-old incentive program has been expanded from $100 million in tax credits annually to $330 million — and feature film projects with budgets of more than $75 million are now eligible. Eight features received credits last year: Clint Eastwood’s “Jersey Boys” and “American Sniper,” “Horrible Bosses 2,” Mark Wahlberg’s “The Gambler,” “Earth to Echo,” “The Purge: Anarchy,” “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” and “Ouija” with $7.9 million.

In early June, the commission announced that “Veep,” “American Horror Story,” “Secrets and Lies” and “Hindsight” had been approved to receive $27 million in tax credits for relocating to California, with six other new series — “Code Black,” “Crazy Ex Girlfriend,” “Rosewood,” “Heart Breakers,” “Utopia” and “Westworld” — and the pilot for “Snowfall” receiving a total of $55 million in credits.

The new program also provides that the selection for tax credits be based on each project’s “jobs ratio score,” which provides a ranking according to wages paid to below-the-line workers and qualified spending for vendor payments/equipment. Producers of the top-ranked movie projects were notified July 27 that they have been selected to begin the second phase of the process for further evaluation, with notification set for mid-August.

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