Film Works Reel News Update
Welcome to the first installment of a new recurring feature — The Film Works Reel News Update.
Going forward, and once per week, Film Works editors will highlight recent news items and other resources we believe our readers will find interesting.
If you have thoughts about anything we include here, or if you want to recommend new topics for us to cover in the future, we encourage you to share that with us in the comments.
Proposed U.K. Tax Incentive for Animation and Video Game Industries: Designed to Cause Runaway Production from US or Protect British Cultural Content?
The following video from a recent session of England’s Parliament is, pardon our pun, rather animated:
According to an article in The Guardian, both the animation and video games industry are significant contributors to England’s economy and the intent of the tax incentive is to protect and promote the creation of British content in the U.K.:
Aardman Animations, the Bristol-based independent producer behind “Wallace & Gromit,” has, alongside other animators, been calling for the Treasury to introduce a tax relief to support British production, at an estimated direct cost to the Exchequer of £17m a year. Animation is a £300m-a-year industry that employs 4,700 people directly… British animation has been in decline in recent years, as other countries have offered generous subsidies for cartoonists to move abroad, with “Bob the Builder” now produced in the US, “Thomas the Tank Engine” in Canada and “Noddy” made in Ireland. The industry believes the result is British pre-school children now see largely foreign-made content. The tax breaks are expected to operate on similar lines to film, in which projects filmed in the UK qualify for a 20% or 25% break depending on the production budget.
Many working in California’s animation and video game industries will ask whether the new U.K. tax incentive will result in more jobs lost to overseas. It’s too early to tell, but it does appear the purpose of the new incentive is to grow England’s indigenous animation and video game sectors.
Film Works will keep a close eye on the proposed legislation and any potential impacts it might have for Californians.
Walking Dead Producer Urges California Lawmakers to Improve Film Incentive:
Earlier this month, veteran Hollywood producer Gale Ann Hurd (“The Walking Dead,” “Hulk”) was interviewed in the Los Angeles Times about how film incentives dictate shooting locations. When asked what her message to Sacramento would be, Hurd said the following:
The film and television industry is one of the most productive businesses in California, and employs thousands of residents as crew, cast and in executive positions. We pay taxes, we shop locally, send our children to school here and keep allied businesses [restaurants, dry cleaners, retail stores, car dealerships] in profit. The impact from lost production to other states and countries amounts to billions of dollars. With a competitive tax credit, California can reclaim its position as the entertainment capital of the world. Currently, our tax credit is not on par with those of New York, Georgia, North Carolina and New Mexico, among others.
When asked about what California could do to improve its film incentive, Hurd said the state was spending too little to be competitive:
Raising the limit [on the annual tax credit allocation] from $100 million to $200 million a year is a minimum when you consider New York has $420 million a year. When you think about the number of people working in the industry, there are far more people based in California than in New York, but New York right now has more than four times the incentive.
On a per capita basis, New York spends $21.50 annually on its film incentive whereas California spends just $2.65. As for the critics who claim the California Film & Television Tax Credit is a windfall handout to a captive California industry, Hurd said the claim is “simply not true”:
If you look at the impact that the industry has on the state in terms of taxes paid, in terms of the multiplier effect for each dollar that’s spent, I think it’s ridiculous… Part of what they’re saying is that projects will shoot here anyway, but that’s simply not true. ["The Incredible Hulk," the 2008 Marvel reboot of the big green guy's franchise that Hurd also produced, was filmed mainly in Canada.]
Film Works Store Gets Makeover:
Earlier this month, the “Film Works Gear” page got a shopping cart makeover and a new name: The Film Works Store.
The revamped store allows supporters to purchase multiple quantities of our fitted or adjustable baseball hats, as well as request bumper stickers and large window clings (which are still in stock and still free of charge).
When (and if) the campaign is able to produce other merchandise, it will be offered for sale there as well. We need your support, so please visit the store and order some Film Works stuff today!