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California Tax Credits Go to Coen Brothers and Steven Soderbergh Projects

Coen Brothers and Soderbergh Projects Get
Soderbergh: AP; Coen brothers courtesy of Everett Collection

The California Film Commission has announced the latest round of recipients of the state’s film tax credit, and they include projects from the Coen brothers, Steven Soderbergh, Reese Witherspoon and Jason Bateman.

In all, the state has reserved $86.9 million in credits for 22 projects. They include Universal’s “Scarface,” a remake set among narco traffickers, which will be directed by Luca Guadagnino with a script from Joel and Ethan Coen. The film will get a $9.8 million state subsidy.

Universal was especially successful this round, landing three of the four largest projects on the list. The other two are an untitled live-action project, with $12.2 million, and “Ashley’s War,” at $10.7 million. The latter includes Witherspoon as a producer, and is adapted from a book about women soldiers in Afghanistan.

The largest project on the list belongs to Netflix. “Here Comes the Flood,” directed by Bateman, will get a $13.8 million subsidy. Netflix also landed a $7.6 million subsidy for “Me Time,” a comedy starring Kevin Hart.

Soderbergh’s “Kimi” is also on the list of recipients, at $3.1 million. “Flamin’ Hot,” a biopic from director Eva Longoria about the creator of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, landed $4.4 million.

California provides $330 million in tax credits annually to film and TV projects. Applicants are invited to participate in several rounds throughout the year. The program is currently set to sunset in June 2025.

The most recent iteration of the program, dubbed Program 3.0, began on July 1, 2020, and requires productions to report diversity and inclusion data. That information had previously been collected, but will now be published annually by the state film commission.

Under the prior iteration of the program, from July 2015 to June 2020, about 55% of the workers on credit-approved projects were white, according to data released in the commission’s most recent progress report in December. Another 13% were Latino, 6% were Black, 3% were Asian American, and 22% were classified as “other.”

Colleen Bell, the commission’s executive director, said in an interview that 61 projects had applied for the credit — indicating strong interest in filming despite the pandemic.

“The industry is bullish on California,” she said. “This is a time where people would like to stay close to home.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the older version of the credit program did not require productions to report diversity data. They were required to report it to the state. Under the new version, however, the state film commission is also required to report that data to the public on an annual basis.