27 Projects Awarded CA Film Incentive, At Least 149 in Danger of Running Away
On June 1st, the California Film Commission awarded the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program to a total of 27 projects out of 176 that applied for the production incentive. Capped annually at $100 million, California is only able to award credits to a fraction of the total program applicants. The list of approved projects is as follows:
|Studio Features||Independent Features||Television|
To the Dogs Part 1
|Bachelorette PartyDecoding Annie Parker
The To Do List
Untitled Project G
Vocal chords of Freedom
|Franklin & BashTorchwood
Body of Proof
JustifiedMen of a Certain Age
The Nine Lives of Chloe King
Pretty Little Liars
Rizzoli & Isles
Switched at Birth
The Metro Gardeners
According to a recent article in Variety, however, the list of approved projects could change:
California Film Commission director Amy Lemisch stressed that the credits will be awarded only after productions are completed and noted that each application still needs to be reviewed more thoroughly to ensure the project qualifies and the allocation amounts are likely to be adjusted. Some of the projects could possibly still wind up filming elsewhere or not at all, she added.
A recent piece in the Los Angeles Times offered theories about the reason for the sharp rise in applications for the popular state program:
Why the surge in applications? Perhaps more filmmakers are giving California a second look as states such as New Mexico and Michigan plan big cuts in their programs. Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission, thinks not. She posits another theory:
“More people are familiar with the program and understand how it works and felt it was an efficient program,” Lemisch said. “They said ‘let’s go for it.’”
Whatever the reason for the increase, the economic impact of the approved projects (as estimated by the CFC) is undeniable:
- $662 million in direct production spending in California, with $428.6 million in wages to residents and $233.5 in non-wage spending
- 3,048 cast member jobs
- 3,307 crew member jobs
- 49,778 extra/day-player positions
Since the program began in 2009, combined production spending for all approved projects amounts to roughly $3 billion! That’s fantastic news for all Californians, but it masks the unpleasant reality that there are scores of wait-listed projects making plans to leave the state.
If that last bit sounds alarmist, it’s not. For example, Film Works has learned that within just hours of being wait-listed for the California film incentive, one television project, The Lying Game, shut down pre-production in Santa Clarita and announced the show was relocating to Austin, Texas!
According to sources close to the production, the show had already fully staffed its art department, which had been working for two full weeks. However, the production decided that current capital expenditures notwithstanding, without state credits it would be more cost-effective to relocate the show to Texas and take advantage of that state’s incentive instead. Although the film incentive available in Texas has a much lower cap of $30 million per year for film projects, the number of applicants is much lower.
In California, a $100 million annual allotment disappears in one day, whereas in Texas, $30 million can last much longer. Our source also mentioned that at least two other shows are also preparing to relocate as a result of not getting the incentive. The reality couldn’t be more plain — with the incentive, projects will stay; without the incentive, projects ARE LEAVING.
And what’s at stake when a single project leaves. A lot, unfortunately. According to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), the loss of just a single 1-hour show or film can mean the disappearance of hundreds of jobs and lost tax revenue for California:
Keep in mind, the numbers from the chart above were calculated in 2005. The actual job and revenue impacts are likely even higher in 2011.
So the demand for the California Film & Television Tax Credit proves it — filmmakers want to work in California.
Now, all we need to do for producers is make it a smarter business decision to stay.