- Parent Category: Preproduction
- Category: Locations
- Published on Wednesday, 09 July 2008 17:13
- Written by Frank and Margie Barron
If filmmakers shoot more than half of their movie or spend more than half of the production budget in Massachusetts, the state offers an income tax credit equal to 25 percent of the total in-state spend. Filmmakers can receive the credit as a direct rebate equal to 90 percent of the face value ─ guaranteed by the state. Cast and crew from out of state qualify and there is no statewide talent or production cap. Plus, qualified filmmakers can get a 100 percent sales tax exemption on any production-related items purchased in the state. Keep in mind that production insurance, workers compensation, and completion bonds are not qualified expenses.
In just a short period of time ─ since 2006 ─ the economic impact of the film tax credit in Massachusetts has been impressive. “The state recently improved the package of incentives dramatically,” reports Nick Paleologos, executive director of the Massachusetts Film Office. “And you can see since last July, there have been 15 major productions shot in Massachusetts in just 12 months. They came here for the financial situation and they spent a ton of money here.”
It’s a win-win situation for everyone, not just for big-budget Hollywood productions. The minimum spend is $50,000 and “digital media projects” can qualify. And it’s nice to hear that the Commonwealth is sharing the wealth, extending the benefits of the film tax credit to locally-based, independent and documentary filmmakers. That’s a big plus to grow Massachusetts’ strong crew base, which is already able to support numerous productions.
Recent productions include: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Shutter Island, The Proposal, The Surrogates, This Side of the Truth, and Bride Wars.
Southern hospitality, along with Louisiana’s 25 percent transferable income tax credits, have productions flocking to the state, which helped start the growing trend in offering incentives. The 25 percent tax credit is for expenditures from Louisiana vendors. Labor costs qualify and an additional 10 percent employment credit is offered on the portion of the payroll for in-state residents. Plus, there’s a state infrastructure tax credit of 40 percent for qualifying investments. That has helped the overall production industry make giant leaps forward.
Filmmakers are praising the Louisiana infrastructure, increasingly growing deep crew base, and the diverse locales throughout the state. Brad Pitt recently shot The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in New Orleans ─ as well as Jefferson Parish ─ thanks to the studio facilities that service southeast Louisiana. Sean Penn also knows the Jeff Parish area, since he did All the Kings Men, praising the shoot as “a pleasant experience.”
Along with New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Southwest and Northeast Louisiana ─ among other areas ─ have friendly and helpful film commissioners who assist the many productions traversing the state. Baton Rouge Film Commission’s Amy Mitchell-Smith says that old fashion, southern hospitality and the diversity of locations keeps filmmakers coming back to the state. “And with the steady flow of productions ─ thanks to the incentive programs ─ our crew base is very strong. Plus, we now have the Celtic Media Center, a full service studio complex.”
Shreveport has the StageWorks of Louisiana, and the Louisiana Wave Studio, among its assets. The Robert E. Nims Center for Entertainment Arts complex is at the University of New Orleans, adding to the state’s infrastructure. This summer, New Orleans boasts that eight major film projects will shoot, with ample A-crews for all.
big help to filmmakers is Louisiana Economic Development’s (LED) high-tech “FastLane” service, which provides online submittal and tracking of applications for two of the state’s most popular business incentives. LED is the first state economic development department to offer online electronic processing for the entire incentive application process.
Recent productions include: I Love You Phillip Morris, Cirque du Freak, 12 Rounds, Billy the Exterminator, Cadillac Records, Drones, and Lightning Strikes.
Websites: www.lafilm.org, www.neworleansgateway.com, www.neworleansfilmoffice.com, www.filmbatonroughe.com,