A trio of “American Sniper” producers have issued an enthusiastic endorsement of shooting in California at a time when the Golden State’s tax credit program is on the verge of tripling in size to $330 million annually.
“I think the expansion is fantastic,” said producer Andrew Lazar. “I’ve budgeted so many films where you’d shoot five days in California and the rest outside of the state because you were chasing the incentive money. And I’ve seen so many people who have had to move to Atlanta and Louisiana because the incentives are better.”
Lazar and producers Rob Lorenz and Peter Morgan were on hand at the 1600 Vine project in Hollywood to receive the Los Angeles City Council’s Made-in-Hollywood Honors, recognizing Academy Award-nominated films made substantially in California.
Lazar said all but 11 days of Warner Bros.’ “American Sniper” were shot in California, including a gun range and beaches in Malibu, Long Beach, San Diego, the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch in Santa Clarita and an abandoned milk factory in El Centro — which substituted for Sadr City and Fallujah in Iraq. The other 11 days were shot in Morocco.
“We wanted to honor the fact that much of the narrative, such as Chris Kyle’s SEAL training and his meeting his wife, took place in California,” Lazar added. “It’s where the best locations and the best crews are.”
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As producers of the film, Lazar, Lorenz and Morgan are all nominated for a best picture Oscar along with Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper.
“American Sniper” received a $6.8 million reservation for tax credits from the California Film Commission last year for $54 million in qualified expenditures. Most of the $100 million in annual allocations go to TV series, but “American Sniper” received its allocation after several projects selected in the state’s lottery failed to start production by the deadline.
Last summer’s lottery selected 26 projects from a total of 497 submissions.
“It was extremely helpful to get the credit, but the program was also something that you could not count on,” said Lorenz, Eastwood’s longtime producing partner. “There are obviously going to be more projects shooting in California once the new program starts.”
The state’s new five-year program goes into effect on July 1 and expands the eligibility of TV and film projects.
The City Council also honored a trio of Oscar-nominated films — “Whiplash,” “Big Hero 6” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2” — for shooting in California.