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Sweet Carolina

State incentives offer upto 25% in savings

South Carolina’s new location incentives have film commissioner Jeff Monks predicting a productive future.

“Our deal flow and inquiries have greatly increased and we look forward to a good 2005,” Monks said.

Host to such features as “The Notebook,” “The Patriot,” “Forrest Gump” and some scenes from “Cold Mountain,” the state offers savings to filmmakers of up to 25% — through tax exemptions and rebates — with its “South Carolina: Look No Further, Spend No More” motto.

The incentive overview:

Productions spending $1 million receive rebates of 5% of labor withholding tax to anyone (crew, cast, extras) subject to state withholding tax, in addition to a 7% rebate of expenditures, items purchased or rented from S.C. vendors. Those spending $250,000 are exempted from a 5% sales-and-use tax and a 7% accommodations tax.

If your script is “Sweet Home South Carolina,” investors will receive a 20% tax credit, limit $100,000 per investor, with unused credit carried to 15 years. That credit, however, may not exceed 50% of the taxpayer’s liability per year.

Filmmakers industrious enough to create, convert or equip a S.C. film or post-production facility receive a 20% investor credit. Total credits for all investors per facility equal $5 million: A minimum investment of $2 million for a production studio, while a post-production facility requires a $1 million minimum. Said credit is earned when cash is spent or qualifying real property is dedicated and investors have up to three years to meet requirements from the year credit is claimed.

Those willing to ante up a $500,000 annual base investment to create a S.C. commercial production company will receive a 10% tax credit for the total annual outlay.

South Carolina also promises 2005 production grants for collaborative efforts between two state colleges/universities and a professional media entity. For more info: www.filmsc.com.

* * *

The Virginia Film Office and the China-American Film Festival are looking for shorts featuring individuals or groups engaged in cross-cultural endeavors for the betterment of communities across the United States or China.

The festival is sponsored in the U.S. by the Rose Group. The Beijing Student Film Festival is a partner in the competition. Winners will receive a cash award and travel to Beijing for the fest.

Additional partners of the festival include Cine, the American Film Institute, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the U. of Richmond.

Fest requirements are posted at www.caff.therosegroup.org.

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