Over the past decade, as states from Alaska to Georgia and numerous countries around the globe have one-upped each other with incentive packages, tax credits have become a key component in the budget of virtually every film and TV project.
This has made Joseph D. Chianese, executive VP of financial solutions at Entertainment Partners, one popular guy in Hollywood, where he’s earned a position on the speed-dial of many industry execs.
“Joe is my first call whenever I begin to budget a project,” says Amy Herman, independent producer and unit production manager (“Argo”). “Joe has a worldwide knowledge of the constantly changing film incentive programs as well as an overall understanding of what a producer is looking for when deciding to choose a location to shoot a movie besides the rebate.”
Chianese joined EP in 2006 from Sony Pictures, where he was senior director of tax. Today, he heads a department of 15 people, with satellite offices in New York, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, New Mexico, and North Carolina. They consult with producers, fielding anywhere from 5,000 to 6,000 calls a year — as well as from jurisdictions looking to implement or fine-tune an incentive.
EP’s incentive consulting services evolved out of its core payroll services business, which, like tax credits, requires a thorough understanding of numerous local and federal laws and regulations.
In recent years, EP has added other incentive-related services, including tax credit placement and production financing, issuing loans as high as $10 million, using credits as collateral, both in the U.S. and abroad.
For Chianese and his team, each day seems to bring a new law to learn and or another territory to explore.
“There are lot of new incentives being offered in places you might not realize, like Georgia, the country, and Macedonia,” says Chianese. “So we’re always looking to see what our clients need and where they’re going.”