Filming in North America can be a tricky proposition — with no federal COVID guidelines, states, counties and local municipalities are charged with setting their own rules for navigating the pandemic. And while film commissions report that crews are ready to get back to work, other factors including coronavirus-testing capacity, health and safety guidelines and insurance needs have meant a cautious restart.
That said, in production hot spot Georgia, mega-multihyphenate Tyler Perry (pictured) seems to have figured it all out. During the past month and a half, he completed filming BET series “Sistas,” and is currently shooting “The Oval.” All without a case of COVID.
“I made sure that the cast and crew and everybody wore their masks when they weren’t on set because I do know for a fact that masks help stop the spread — scientifically, I know that,” Perry told Variety on Aug. 5. “And everybody adhered to that, even though we were all testing negative. I just didn’t want someone to be incubating with [COVID-19] for three to 12 days, and we not know it.”
New York has been given the OK to go forward with filming but again, productions are moving carefully, and late September looks more promising. Although production is slow, Steiner Studios is moving ahead with a second, 500,000-sq.-ft. facility in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn.
California is also back in business and in August announced the latest round of projects to tap into the state’s incentives plan including Netflix’s big-budget “Gray Man” starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. TV series are starting to shoot around Southern California, where “SWAT” recently shot on location in Santa Clarita under strict safety protocols.
COVID hit Louisiana hard but in late August, the state announced safety guidelines and productions are expected to resume filming this month.
Canada is once again hosting shoots albeit with travel restrictions, and each provice has a detailed set of protocols. Vancouver is currently hosting production shoots and foreign workers with a work visa are allowed entry into the country, although a 14-day self-quarantine is required before they hit the set.
For more information:
The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) provides eligible productions with a fully refundable tax credit, available at a rate of 25% of the qualified labor expenditure.
British Columbia: gov.bc.ca/gov
California’s $1.55 billion Film & Television Tax Credit Program 3.0 runs for five years, with a sunset date of June 30, 2025, and each fiscal year, from July 1 to June 30, the $330 million funding is categorized in TV projects, relocating TV, indie features and non-indie features.
Tax credits of up to 30% for film, television, music videos, commercials, interactive games and animation. The Entertainment Industry Investment Act provides a 20% tax credit for $500,000 or more spent on production and post-production in Georgia, either in a single production or on multiple projects. The state also grants an additional 10% tax credit if the finished project includes a promotional logo provided by the state.
Productions can get up to a 40% tax credit on total qualified in-state production expenditures, including resident and non-resident labor. Tax credits may be transferred back to the state for 90% of face value (requires a 2% transfer fee).
New York boasts a 30% tax credit on qualified costs incurred in in-state and a post-production tax credit that provides 30% savings on qualified post-production expenses, for productions that do their post-production in New York City, but are not eligible for the film production tax credit program.