Eric Garcetti said today at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s second annual State of the Industry Conference that he is serious about getting state politicians to expand California’s $100 million annual Film/TV Tax Credit program. “We are going to go to Sacramento and storm that place like you’ve never seen before,” L.A.’s mayor said. In place since 2009, the current program “should be expanded because it makes good business sense,” he added. Garcetti also told the crowd that he wanted to launch a campaign to show people how production in LA benefits all businesses in the city. His remarks came after various speakers from both the industry and Sacramento criticized the current $100 million annual lottery system program as unstable, unrealistic and providing too little money.
Related: Paramount Exec Blasts State’s “Incremental” Tax Credit Program
“We can reverse this,” said LA Film Czar Tom Sherak today of runaway production after being introduced by the mayor. “Can we reverse it 100%? No, but we can reverse some production from going to other states, other cities and other countries,” he added. While offering no specifics, the former AMPAS President stressed — as he has before — that the heart of his argument is middle-class jobs.
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The state of the entertainment industry is strong overall, but the state of the industry in California is in serious trouble and our Film and TV Tax Credit program just isn’t cutting it, politicians and studio execs said today at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s second annual State of the Industry Conference. “We need a game changer; this is a very incremental approach,” Paramount Studio Group President Randy Baumberger said of the annual $100 million lottery system program. “Virtually no feature films are shot in LA anymore. What producers need are commitment and consistency. What producers are looking for is to be able to plan out 3 or 4 years,” he added during a panel on keeping jobs in California. “They can’t plan for a lottery on one single day. We need to be able to look out a year in advance and say what is the cost structure for that film. California is at a disadvantage by having all of the money gone in a few hours.”
Politicians Eye Major Upgrade To California Film/TV Tax Credit
Film Czar Tom Sherak: Plan To Boost LA Prod’n Coming By Early 2014
The shortcomings of the state’s current program and the job losses the industry is experiencing in California were the primary topics this morning as speaker after speaker lamented rising runaway production, the ineligibility of tentpoles and network TV for the credit and the much heftier incentives of states such as Georgia, Louisiana and NY. Read More »
UPDATE, 1:14 PM: The state Senate leader has removed Ron Calderon from the California Film Commission in the wake of allegations in an FBI affidavit of bribery and influence peddling of the state’s $100 million Film and TV tax credit program. “If for no other reason, the appearance of impropriety dictates that the senator no longer sit on that commission,” President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said yesterday after details of Calderon’s supposed actions were made public. Steinberg added that regardless of whether the claims — first revealed by Al Jazeera America — turn out to be true, he doubted that one person could change the state’s film and TV tax credit program the way Calderon is said to have told an undercover FBI agent he could. Steinberg also told reporters Thursday that any effort by Montebello Democrat to drop the $1 million minimum budget requirements for a film to eligible to qualify for the program down to $750,000 was never brought up in committee talks. Additionally, the FBI has asked the DOJ to look into how the sealed affidavit got out.
PREVIOUSLY, OCT. 31 AM: California State Sen. Ron Calderon took tens of thousands of dollars from undercover FBI agents to make changes to the state’s $100 million Film and TV tax credit program, according to Al Jazeera America. Citing a sealed FBI affidavit, the channel aired a report Wednesday providing details into the well-known investigation of the influential state politician.
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In his first civic event since being named LA’s Film Czar last month, Tom Sherak today said he intends to have a plan to increase production in the city around the beginning of … Read More »
Big changes could be coming to California’s annual $100 million film and TV tax credit program next year. “Entertainment is important to the state, it is billions of dollars of revenue to the state but the reason we do a state tax credit is jobs”, said state Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media chair Ian Calderon this morning during an oversight hearing at SAG-AFTRA headquarters. “We took a baby step, we need to take a larger step — we are California and we are losing our signature industry,” the Democrat added of the program first introduced in 2009 to stop runaway production. That larger step could see the next bill placed before the Legislature in Sacramento with millions in additional funding, I’m told. There is also talk in political circles of extending the program for five years instead of the usual two. Perhaps most significantly, the committees today openly talked about reorganizing the way the tax credit works to remove current limitations such as the cap that prevent films budgeted at more than $75 million from being eligible. “The UK is killing us in terms in getting our tentpole movies shooting there,” said California Film Commission Executive Director Amy Lemisch. She also noted how Vancouver and incentive-rich states such as Georgia and North Carolina are getting the bulk of the blockbuster business.
Related: LA Production Sees Another Boost: FilmLA
Co-chaired by Raul Bocanega of the Assembly’s Committees on Revenue & Taxation, the progress report hearing also heard from labor and business leaders. Surprisingly, newly appointed LA Film Czar Tom Sherak was not in attendance. With the exception of Warner Horizon TV’s SVP of Production Kevin Fortson, also absent were reps from the studios and broadcasters. Speaker after speaker asserted that the program needed more money and the certainty of long-term stability. Read More »
It isn’t the halcyon days of the mid-1990s, but production in Los Angeles has had a good 2013 so far. For the third quarter in a row, on-location filming is up compared with 2012, FilmL.A. said today. There was a 9.5% increase over the same July to September period last year according to a third quarter report the non-profit permitting group released Tuesday. That translates into 11,792 permitted production days compared to 10,773 in Q3 2012. Not that FilmL.A. is opening the champagne. “The small incremental increases are a good sign, but they do not represent a true recovery. We are not seeing a return of the high economic value productions to Los Angeles. Instead, we are seeing an increase in new media, like direct-to-web production, and very low budget films,” FilmL.A. president Paul Audley told me today. Low-budget film or not, Feature production in L.A. County and nearby regions saw the biggest bounce among the categories that FilmL.A. tracks. The category had a 19.5% jump (1,959 PPD) over Q3 2012. Perhaps more telling in this era of runaway production is that Feature production in Southern California beat its 5-year quarterly average by 14.6%. Now that’s still a steep fall from the record-setting 13,980 total PPD of 1996 and before states like Georgia and Louisiana ramped up alluring tax incentives programs to attract production. Read More »
The Entourage movie, the fourth season of MTV’s Teen Wolf, the fifth season of Justified, the upcoming CBS Studios-produced King And Maxwell and Pretty Little Liars Season 5 are among the 31 projects picked this year in the state’s $100 million film and TV tax credit lottery, the California Film Commission announced today. Also on the list of winners is a previously unannounced sequel of Blumhouse’s upcoming horror/thriller feature The Purge, which debuts on June 7 from Universal.
Given the green light by Warner Bros back in January, the feature version of HBO’s eight season Hollywood series was always going to film a portion of its big screen debut in California but now they have a 20% tax credit to use. Among the others selected, Shane Brennan’s P.I. series King and Maxwell is one of the few new TV series to get subsidies this year and with a 25% tax credit, a move to California as a Relocating Series. Ordered earlier this year for 10-episode season by TNT, the pilot for the series, which stars Rebecca Romijn and Jon Tenney, was shot in Canada. There were a lot of familiar names this year too. This is the second year that Teen Wolf has received an allocation from the state program. It was selected as a Relocating TV Series in 2012, which made it automatically eligible this year under the Film Commission’s rules. TV series Justified and Pretty Little Liars, who already film in the Golden State and received tax credits last year as well, were re-eligible this year under regulations that place previously selected TV series at the top of the queue for future seasons. See the names of all of the winners of the 2013 California Production Tax Credit Lottery after the jump. Read More »
UPDATE, 5:22 PM: The lottery is over and 28 projects were selected today for this year’s California’s $100 million Film and TV tax credit program. That’s even with the 28 projects that were initially approved on June 1, 2012 in last year’s lottery. The doors closed Monday at 3 PM at the Film Commission’s office on Hollywood Boulevard with the last few applicants getting their submissions in under the wire. Soon afterwards, the random picking process began. A total of 380 projects were submitted between 9 AM and 3 PM today before the deadline. That’s a record for the program since it was introduced in 2009. The previous high was the 322 projects submitted last year for 2012’s $100 million allocation. A Deputy State Fire Marshal actually picked tickets out of a cylinder built for just such a lottery purpose. Each ticket had an allocated number on it that each submitted project was given Monday. All the remaining projects will now go on a waiting list in case approved film or TV projects drop out or have production or scheduling delays and lose their place and credits. Though 28 projects were first approved last year, the total figure that actually received tax credits actually ended up being 75. Today’s approved figure could also change as the Commission conducts a more thorough review of the projects. This year’s initial successful applicants will be contacted tomorrow. A full list of the features, miniseries, MOWs and TV series that were awarded a portion of this year’s $100 million and how much they received is expected Tuesday afternoon. Keep your fingers crossed Hollywood.
Related: Governor OKs $100M Film-TV Tax Credit Until 2017
PREVIOUSLY, 2:05 PM: There’s less than an hour left if you want to take a chance at getting a piece of this year’s $100 million California film and TV tax credit program. The state Film Commission is accepting applications until 3 PM PT at its Hollywood Boulevard offices for this year’s lottery, and then Lady Luck works her magic. “At 3 PM we’ll close the door so that we can conduct our lottery with assistance from the Deputy State Fire Marshal” who adds another layer of transparency to the process, Film Commission executive director Amy Lemisch told me today. “The lottery ensures credits are distributed fairly”. Once the $100 million is used up, remaining projects that didn’t receive funding will be put on a waiting list. That list isn’t quite the purgatory one might think: If already-approved projects drop off due to scheduling or production delays, those on the list will take their place and credits. Last year, 28 projects initially won a piece of the up-to-25% tax credit program. Read More »
The Motion Picture Association of America and SAG-AFTRA today commended Gov. Jerry Brown for signing into law a two-year extension of California’s $100 million a year film and television tax credits. Read their statements below:
“The state of California took a big step forward today, thanks to Governor Brown and the legislature,” said Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. “The two-year extension of the state’s production tax credit will keep California competitive for tens of thousands of production-related jobs. This is an important victory for California’s economy, our national economy, and the hardworking men and women who comprise the film and television industry.”
Related: Governor Oks $100M Film-TV Tax Credit Until 2017; Is It Enough To Keep Up With Rival States?
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Governor Jerry Brown today signed legislation granting a two-year extension of California’s $100 million-a-year film and television tax credit program, which now will run until July 2017. Today was the deadline for Brown to sign the nearly identical Assembly and state Senate bills. Currently dispensed under a lottery system, California’s program was first introduced in 2009 to help stem the runaway production to other states with more generous incentives and lower costs. A total of 28 projects won a piece of the up to 25% tax credit program this June.
The Governor’s signing today comes after a summer in which lawmakers in Sacramento debated the effectiveness of the incentive, especially against the backdrop of the cash-strapped state budget. A study last year by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp fund estimated that in its first two years the state tax credits program generated more than $3.8 billion in economic output, supported more than 20,000 jobs and returned more than $200 million to state and local governments in taxes. Some, while supportive of the credit program, doubt that enough time has passed to yet gauge it’s effectiveness. “I think you need to have a full three-year cycle and then do the analysis in the 12 and 24 months following on a new tax-incentive program like California’s,” said an industry insider. “It takes time to see the change because you are not just trying to change how many productions you can keep or have but ultimately you are trying to change migration patterns. You’re moving a glacier.” Others think California has to get much more aggressive to keep Hollywood at home. “The next round would be to double down and to make the process easier,” says a studio number crunching source. “The pot is too small and the lottery system is too random to be able to rely on, that’s what still driving production out of state.”
Related: TV Production Takes Another Big Hit Says FilmLA
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First, the 2-year extension of California’s $100 million annual film and television tax credit program passed the full state Senate. Then it had to pass the Assembly by midnight tonight when this legislative session ends. It did. Now AB 2026 and SB … Read More »
An extension of California’s $100 million annual film and television tax credit program leaped through another legislative hurdle today. With a 32-3 vote in Sacramento, the state Senate approved extending the program two more years. The measure, … Read More »
Justified, Teen Wolf, Pretty Little Liars and Body Of Proof are among the 28 projects picked by lottery to receive tax credits from the California Film Commission’s $100 million allocation, the commission revealed today. The basic breakdown: 10 film productions and 18 TV productions will receive credits. The commission says 53.5% of the projects were independent and 46.5% were studio-based. It estimates the projects will spend more than $683 million in California, including nearly $265 million in qualified wages.
Related: Will ‘Body Of Proof’s California Production Tax Credit Win Help Secure Back Order?
The selected projects, which could change based on schedules and other production-delay issues, will mean employment for about 2,800 crew members, an estimated 2,900 cast members, and 57,000 extras/stand-ins. (UPDATE: The Hollywood guilds have come out with a pro-tax credit statement praising the lottery results; see their statement below.) The commission received 322 applications for this year’s production tax credit lottery by Friday’s 3 PM deadline. It will continue to accept applications for placement on the waiting list. Here’s the breakdown of today’s winners, followed by the projects by name: Read More »
UPDATED 7PM: The California Film Commission completed its production tax credits lottery this afternoon and of 322 projects submitted today, 28 were selected to receive credits before this year’s $100 million total allocation runs out. Other qualified applicants go on a waiting list. The number of projects submitted this year approached double last year’s number. On the first day of last year’s application period, 177 projects were submitted and 27 were selected to receive the credits. Ultimately 74 projects received tax credits from last year’s $100 million allocation. The increase came from the large number of smaller independent projects that moved from the waiting list to be awarded credits as larger projects withdrew.
Today’s figures are subject to change as the commission reviews the applications. More information will become available Monday afternoon about the estimated total spend by approved projects, estimated wages, the number of cast and crew members employed and breakdown by production type — feature vs. TV, studio vs. independent.
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A bill in Sacramento that would extend California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program by an additional five years cleared another hurdle today, when AB 2026 passed out of the California State Legislature’s Arts & Entertainment Committee. The bill is … Read More »
On-location shooting in Los Angeles and other local jurisdictions grew 4.2% year-over-year in 2011, permit coordinator FilmL.A. announced today. The bump came despite what the nonprofit organization called a “disconcerting trend” in TV production: a 2.7% annual drop in the … Read More »
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill late last night that adds one year to the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program. Assembly Bill 1069 had been pared down from its original language that sought a five-year extension. … Read More »