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Locations Field Report: Six Destinations That Provide Financial Perks for Filmmakers

Claudia Triana de
Vargas, Director, Proimágenes Colombia
Incentives: 40% cash rebate for production services and 20% cash rebate for lodging, catering and transportation.
Update: The upcoming Antonio Banderas starrer “The 33” tells the true tale of 33 miners trapped for 69 days in a mine in Chile. But producers chose to shoot the film’s subterranean portion in two mines outside Bogota, where the cast and crew of 200 could work in a safe, climate-controlled environment. Since 2013, 10 projects from different countries including the U.S., Argentina, Spain and France have been approved for Colombia’s rebate. “After shooting in Colombia, ‘The 33’ then went to Chile, and took with them eight people from crew, (including) one of the cinematographers that did second unit,” says de Vargas. While there are no major studio facilities at present, there are plans to break ground later this year on a $170 million complex with six soundstages and a motion capture studio.

Lee Thomas, Deputy commissioner, Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office
Incentives: Up to 30% tax credit for qualifying productions.
Update: High-profile Oscar nominee “Selma” (pictured) shot in Georgia, spending 95 days in the state, contributing more than $10.3 million dollars to the local economy and hiring close to 1,900 Georgia cast, crew and extras. The production paid over $5 million in wages to more than 400 Peach state crew. In addition to hiring members of the Georgia film and television industry, the project also worked with a wide array of local businesses. Production spends included $470,000 on in-state wardrobe purchases, dry cleaning and laundry, as well as $180,000 on lumber, hardware and various supplies. The production also stayed over 3,000 nights in hotel rooms, spending $375,000. In addition, it spent more than $200,000 on catering and food and over $131,000 on car rentals.

Lisa W. Strout,
Director, Massachusetts Film Office
Incentives: 25% payroll and production tax credits, plus sales tax exemption.
Update: In the past few years, with the help of its incentives and film infrastructure, Massachusetts has attracted such top tier projects as “American Hustle,” “The Judge,” “Black Mass,” “The Sea of Trees” and “The Finest Hours.” Strout reports that for “The Sea of Trees,” “seven state forests were used to replicate the forests at the base of Mt. Fuji, Japan.” “The Finest Hours” tells the true tale of one of the most daring U.S. Coast Guard rescues in history, which took place off Cape Cod. “Disney built a water tank for this movie, and recreated 1952 in the midst of a nor’easter,” Strout says. “Crew in Massachusetts has tripled in recent years and is often lauded for
being world class. The Commonwealth now has its first purpose-built, state-of-the-art sound stage complex, New England Studios, the first and only true studio in the region.”

Nick Maniatis, Director, New Mexico State Film Office
Incentives: Up to $50 million distributed annually as a refundable tax credit (from 25% to 30%) of qualified in-state spend.
Update: Netflix-funded Adam Sandler starrer “The Ridiculous Six” will shoot through May 1 in Santa Fe and environs, utilizing 200 crew members. “The Wedding Singer’s” Frank Coraci helms. Indie feature “Hellbent” is shooting in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, employing approximately 90 crew members plus local talent. Through April, Paramount has “Fun House,” starring Tina Fey, Margot Robbie and Martin Freeman, also in Santa Fe and Albuquerque; more than 212 crew members are attached to the pic. AMC’s “Better Call Saul” utilized Albuquerque Studios throughout its first season as home base and soundstage.

Tom Clark, South Carolina Film Commission
Incentives: Cash rebates for projects, capped at $16 million annually.
Update: Scheduled to lens this spring is the Danny McBride/Jody Hill HBO 18-episode skein “Vice Principals,” shooting in Charleston, utilizing a warehouse that CBS outfitted for “Reckless.” The comedy from “Eastbound & Down’s” creative team will focus on high school administrators. Just wrapped is WE tv’s supernatural series “South of Hell,” to preem this summer. Eli Roth helmed the pilot. Indie feature, “The Ivy League Farmer,” lensed recently, while another indie pic, “Beard’s Creek,” is in pre-production. “We look for films that are about South Carolina,” explains commission exec Clark, noting that while Charleston offers an “unspoiled Southern look,” it can also double for more urban locales like New Orleans and Boston.

Heather Page, Director, Texas Film Commission
Incentives: 5%-20% in grants on qualified Texas spending of approved projects.
Update: With an increased appropriation for its incentive program during the 2013 legislative session, Texas has seen growth in production activity statewide. “Our major cities are production hubs with soundstage facilities, top-tier vendors and experienced crew bases,” reports Page. “Outside the larger cities, our network of film-friendly communities have production-savvy representatives trained to facilitate production in small towns and rural regions.” Richard Linklater’s Oscar-nominated “Boyhood,” filmed for 12 years across a wide swath of Texas, showcasing the range in the state’s topography. “The Texas commercial production industry remains consistently robust year round,” Page adds. “National spots for Pepsi, Nissan, Capital One and McDonald’s recently chose Texas for their productions.”

Iain Blair, Todd Longwell and Kathy A. McDonald wrote these reports.


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