Michigan offers new film incentives

State hopes to boost film production

Michigan is the latest state to enact legislation aimed at boosting local production, with Gov. Jennifer Granholm set to sign an economic stimulus package Monday that includes an aggressive film incentive program.

Granholm said Michigan’s program is designed to increase the number of productions filmed on location in the state, attract production facilities, expand industry activities that support film production, create jobs and train workers for those jobs.

She cited other states that have used incentives including Louisiana, which has seen reported annual production rise from $7 million to almost $350 million; Connecticut, whose production tax credit is said to have attracted 66 feature films and $400 million in film expenditures; and New Mexico, where production spending went from $1.5 million to $476 million.

The Michigan program provides a 40% refundable or transferable tax credit for producing films in the state, with an added 2% for pics produced in “core” communities. It also provides a 25% tax credit for film and digital media infrastructure investments.

In addition, film and digital media production companies can receive job creation tax credits issued by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority; loans from the Michigan Strategic Fund for up to $15 million per qualifying productions in the state; loans against film production tax incentives; and participation in the capital access program established by the Michigan Strategic Fund.

The law also includes a tax credit of 50% of expenditures incurred by a production company providing on-the-job training for Michigan residents.

The enactment of the legislation has prompted Tictock Studios, based in Holland, Mich., to announce plans to operate a financing and production company with the ability to invest up to $20 million per project, with most films coming in under $10 million. Its first film will be “Tug,” which qualifies for the incentive programs and is set for production in early summer.

Tictock, which bills itself as the first Michigan-based studio, has acquired the ReddiWip factory in Holland and plans to renovate the 76,000-square-foot facility with private money and some state credits.

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