You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

New Jersey Governor Vows to Restore Garden State’s Production Tax Credit

Paul Schrader's 'First Reformed' wins narrative prize at Garden State's Montclair Film Festival

Watch out New York. According to New Jersey’s newly elected Gov. Phil Murphy, the Garden State’s film and television production tax credit will be returning soon.

The Governor made a surprise appearance Saturday night at the seventh annual Montclair Film Festival’s closing night festivities and announced that he will re-establish the state’s long defunct film production incentive.

“This is a great state not just to watch films,” Murphy said. “We have got to get back to doing what we used to do really well and make them in New Jersey. We have the artists. And by the way – I’m going to sign a law in the next few weeks that will give the financial incentives back.”

It’s been more than eight years since former Gov. Chris Christie suspended the state’s film tax program.

In 2005 a New Jersey production incentive was created to boost film and TV production throughout the state. The program gave a 20% tax credit, but in 2010 Christie suspended the incentive due to his dislike of the MTV reality show “Jersey Shore.”

While the New Jersey Economic Development Authority approved a $420,000 tax break for filming “Jersey Shore” in the state in 2009 — the series’ inaugural season — Christie reneged on the credit in 2011, arguing that the show about Snooki and the gang tarnished the state’s reputation.

While “Jersey Shore” didn’t necessarily place the state in the best light, Tax Credits Intl.’s Christine Peluso said in 2014 that the series provided an undeniable economic boost: Parking meter fee collection in the show’s Seaside Heights setting jumped from $807,000 in 2007 to $1.3 million in 2010. In addition, Peluso noted the reality show’s crew and fans helped the local economy with the purchase of hotel rooms, car rentals, catering, hardware, dry cleaning, rental fees and permit fees, among other expenses.

In 2016, a bill titled the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act attempted to reauthorize and revise the state’s expired film tax credit programs. The measure, approved by legislators from both parties, proposed an increase of the annual program cap from $10 million to $50 million. Christie vetoed the bill.

“New Jersey is a world-class location to be the backdrop for any filmmaker – from our small towns, to our big cities, rolling hills, and the Jersey Shore – and we’re ready for our close up,” said Murphy.

After his announcement, Murphy introduced Stephen Colbert, who served as a moderator after the closing night film “Believer” screened.

“A few years ago I walked up and put my hand out and introduced myself to Stephen Colbert in the White House,” said Murphy. “We haven’t seen each other since, but needless to say it hasn’t been in the White House.”

Colbert, who moderated a panel with “Believer” cast and crew including director Don Argott said, “It’s so fantastic to have a Governor who stands for the arts in New Jersey. Things like this film festival are good for the arts, good for business and they build community. We need things like this to come together regardless of how we feel about our politics and see things that we love and build things that we love together.”

Prior to the Governor’s remarks, MFF announced the winners of the festival’s 2018 film competitions at its annual awards ceremony. This year’s festival featured four competitive categories: fiction, documentary, future/ now, and New Jersey filmmaking.

Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed,” which premiered at Venice and played the Telluride and Toronto film festivals, took home MFF’s Fiction Feature prize.

RaMell Ross’ “Hale Country This Morning, The Evening,” which premièred at Sundance, garnered the Bruce Sinofsky award in the festival’s documentary feature competition. Kudo was established in memory of former Montclair resident and documentary filmmaker, Bruce Sinofsky. Sinofsky’s daughter, Claire Sinofsky presented the award.

Kimberly Reed’s docu “Dark Money,” which preemed at Sundance, took home the 4th annual David Carr Award for Truth in Non-Fiction Filmmaking, which honors a filmmaker, selected by the festival, who utilizes journalistic techniques to explore important contemporary subjects and is presented in honor of Carr’s commitment to reporting on the media. Like Sinofsky, Carr was a former Montclair resident. Carr’s daughter, Erin Lee Carr, who is a documentary filmmaker, presented the award.

Fellow Sundance favorites “We The Animals,” directed by Jeremiah Zagar and Stephen Maing’s “Crime and Punishment” were awarded with the Future/Now and the New Jersey Films awards respectively.

“I’m thrilled to have had my film screen at this beautifully programmed festival and humbled to have been singled out among such a strong bunch of films,” said Zagar.

Special Jury Prize winners included Khalik Allah (“Black Mother”) Julianne Nicholson (“Who We Are Now”) Helena Howard (“Madeline’s Madeline”) as well as Aaron and Amanda Kopp (“Liyana”).

The festival also featured a junior jury made up of fifteen area high school students representing twelve area schools. They awarded their top prize to Bart Layton’s “American Animals.”

“This year’s competition program features the work of artists who directly challenge us to deepen our thinking about the world in which we live,” said Montclair Film executive director Tom Hall. “We are honored to share these films with our audiences, and congratulate all of our filmmakers on their outstanding work.”

MFF’s 2018 audience awards will be announced on May 7.

(Pictured: “First Reformed”)

More Film

  • Jodie Foster'Money Monster' photocall, Palais, 69th

    Film News Roundup: Jodie Foster to Direct, Star in Remake of Icelandic Thriller

    In today’s film news roundup, Jodie Foster is remaking Iceland’s “Woman at War,” the Art Directors Guild honors production designers Anthony Masters and Ben Carre, “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” gets cast and Melissa Takal directs “New Year New You” for Hulu. PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT Jodie Foster will direct, co-produce and star in an English-language remake of [...]

  • Jake Gyllenhaal

    Jake Gyllenhaal to Star in Remake of Denmark's Oscar Entry 'The Guilty' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bold Films, and Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker’s Nine Stories banner have acquired the rights to remake the Danish thriller “The Guilty,” with Gyllenhaal attached to star. The pic won the world cinema audience award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was also named one of the top five foreign language films of 2018 by [...]

  • Toxic Avenger

    'Toxic Avenger' Movie in the Works at Legendary

    Legendary Entertainment is developing “The Toxic Avenger” as a movie after acquiring the feature film rights. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz of Troma Entertainment will serve as producers. Alex Garcia and Jay Ashenfelter will oversee for Legendary. Kaufman and Herz produced the original 1984 comedy, set in the fictional town of Tromaville, N.J., and centered [...]

  • Constance Wu

    'Crazy Rich Asians' Star Constance Wu in Negotiations for Romantic Comedy

    “Crazy Rich Asians” star Constance Wu is in talks to join Sony’s Screen Gems’ untitled romantic comedy, with Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman producing. “GLOW” actress Kimmy Gatewood is making her feature directorial debut on the project. She will be directing from a Savion Einstein script about a woman who becomes pregnant with two babies [...]

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal AoA

    Maggie Gyllenhaal on Why a Woman Director Doesn't Automatically Make a Story More Feminine

    Having a female director doesn’t automatically make a story more feminine, says “The Kindergarten Teacher” star Maggie Gyllenhaal, but when it comes to her film with director Sara Colangelo, she says the female narrative is fully encapsulated. “Just because something is written or directed by a woman doesn’t necessarily make it a feminine articulation,” she says [...]

  • Kevin Hart Hurricane Harvey

    Academy Looks Warily at Oscar Host Options as Board Meeting Looms

    Kevin Hart’s abrupt departure as Oscars host has left the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences scrambling to find someone to take the gig. As of now, the situation remains fluid as the group’s leadership explores options, including going host-less, individuals familiar with the situation told Variety. The Academy was blindsided by Hart’s announced departure Thursday [...]

  • Regina King Maggie Gyllenhaal

    Maggie Gyllenhaal, Regina King on Intimacy Experts: 'I Could Have Used the Help When I Was Younger'

    Maggie Gyllenhaal’s sex-trade industry series “The Deuce” features one job that’s unlike any other in television: an intimacy expert. During her Variety Actors on Actors interview with Regina King, “The Kindergarten Teacher” actress explained how the strange role is actually important in helping young actresses stand up for themselves, especially when it comes to sex scenes on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content