×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Huh? Bush pushes through indie bill

Tax bill breaks the wrong way

NEW YORK — In a season when anti-GOP docus have virtually flooded the indie film marketplace, President Bush seems to have inadvertently armed a whole new cadre of Michael Moore-like gadflies via his latest tax legislation.

Just over a week ago, Bush signed a massive tax bill that contained a provision that could aid low-budget filmmakers with tax breaks for domestically shot projects such as “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

“Fahrenheit” cost roughly $6 million to make and grossed nearly $120 million at the box office.

Ironically, the bill — which enables producers to write off in a single year the costs of a film budgeted at $1 million-$15 million if 75% of that budget is spent in the U.S. — will help mavericks like Moore and not indie arms of the major congloms.

‘No upside for studios’

“There is no upside of this bill for the studios,” said a production finance whiz at a studio subsid, who’s combing the 650-page document. “In our case, it really doesn’t do anything. I see how it can help an indie producer, and a substantially smaller business than ours.”

Majors are already able to write off the costs of films budgeted under $15 million through existing laws that allow an 18-month amortization schedule. Furthermore, the subsids of major studios don’t file separate income tax returns from their conglom parents, diminishing the value of tax benefits at the subsid level.

The new legislation could result in an even bigger boon to filmmakers if it can bring fresh financing into the indie marketplace.

One film financier raised the possibility that the law will allow individual film investors or participants in a film investment fund to take advantage of the one-year writeoff.

But This Is That’s Ted Hope, who has produced such films as “American Splendor,” wondered: “It seems like it’s relief for the major financiers and suppliers. It doesn’t seem like a job stimulus bill. So what gets created? A whole new class of lender who (will make interest off of) my $10 million.”

One powerful Hollywood Republican may have swayed the legislation.

“You cannot put down the impact that Arnold Schwarzenegger has had on all of this,” said a Los Angeles-based indie film vet, referring to Schwarzenegger’s lobbying efforts on behalf of filmmakers.

Despite giving producers what could be a significant break on low-budget movies, it seemed unlikely Monday that the move would result in many Bush ballots being cast today by Indiewood.

“I am a big believer in anything that the government can do to help (filmmakers),” said Liz Manne, a co-founder of Fine Line Features and currently partner in production and marketing consultancy Duopoly. “If (the Bush administration) are trying to give something to the (indie) film industry, it is filled with people who are independent thinkers and not likely to be easily seduced to an appeal to their pocketbook.”

More Film

  • With PGA win, 'Green Book' is

    Oscars: With PGA Victory, 'Green Book' Becomes Best Picture Frontrunner

    Save for a pair of recent back-to-back discrepancies in “The Big Short” and “La La Land,” the Producers Guild’s Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Theatrical Motion Pictures has been a fairly reliable barometer for the annual Oscar season outcome. At least, ever since both the PGA and film Academy expanded their top categories, sharing the [...]

  • Peter Farrelly30th Annual Producers Guild Awards,

    PGA Awards: 'Green Book' Wins Top Feature Film Award

    “Green Book” has won the Producers Guild’s Darryl F. Zanuck Award as the top feature film of 2018. The 1960s drama-comedy topped “BlacKkKlansman,” “Black Panther” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Favourite,”  “A Quiet Place,” “Roma,” “A Star Is Born” and “Vice. “When you make ‘Dumb and Dumber’ you never expect to get an award,” [...]

  • Netflix HQ LA

    Andy Gruenberg, Veteran Film Executive, Dies at 68

    Veteran film executive Andy Gruenberg, who most recently oversaw theatrical distribution at Netflix, died suddenly on Friday. He was 68. Gruenberg worked on classic films like “Ghostbusters,” “Karate Kid” and “Silverado” while at Columbia Pictures in the 80s and 90s. He then moved to MGM where he served as exec VP of distribution. There he [...]

  • Fyre Festival Caterer Receives Thousands in

    Unpaid Fyre Festival Caterer Raises Thousands in Donations on GoFundMe

    As two Fyre Festival documentaries hit the airwaves, a couple who say their credit was ruined due to the Fyre Festival’s lack of payment for their services have raised $54,381 at time of publication on GoFundMe. Elvis and Maryann Rolle wrote on their page that they catered “no less than 1000 meals per day” in [...]

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Author Tony Mendez arrives at the

    Tony Mendez, Former CIA Officer Depicted in 'Argo,' Dies at 78

    Tony Mendez, the former CIA technical operations officer who orchestrated the 1980 rescue of six American diplomats from Iran and who was portrayed by Ben Affleck in the Academy Award winning film “Argo,” has died. He was 78. Mendez’s book agent, Christy Fletcher, announced the news on Twitter Saturday morning. “Early this morning, Antonio (Tony) [...]

  • Glass Movie

    'Glass' to Rank in Top 3 MLK Debuts With $48 Million

    M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is on its way to a solid debut with an estimated $48 million for the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. A sequel to 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2017’s “Split,” the Universal superhero thriller should bring in around $41 million from 3,841 domestic locations over the Friday through Sunday period. The estimates are [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content