Film Works Weekly Reel News Update
Welcome to another installment of Film Works Reel News Update. If you have thoughts about anything we include here, or if you want to recommend new topics for us to cover in the future, please leave us a comment below.
North Carolina Governor Proposes $1 Million Film Training Program, Denies California the Credit it Deserves
If you are one of the lucky Californians taken along on a production shooting in North Carolina, your luck may be about to run out. According to one media outlet in North Carolina, the state’s film incentive “caused a big problem” for the state — too much work to go around!
In an attempt to make sure more of the work goes to NC state residents rather than imported labor from California and New York, North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue is backing a $1 million training program:
We have so many productions underway, it’s getting tough to find local crew members to work on set. Since… 2010, 25 productions have taken advantage of [local incentives]. Many of those have filmed in the state at the same time… We need more crew members, and we need them quickly. That’s why the governor has included $1 million in her proposed budget to create a workforce training program at Cape Fear Community College and in Winston-Salem.
According to Governor Perdue, the new five-to-ten-week training program will make North Carolina “unique”, because it will be “the only state in America that can promise [film & TV productions] a tailored, trained workforce to do whatever is unusual or necessary to make their production… successful and get it in the can on time.”
With all due respect to Governor Perdue, Film Works begs to differ. There’s already a place in the U.S. where generations of experienced, highly-trained film crew members have made their careers, and where world-class industry training programs draw in students from all over.
That place is California, and we love that it’s our home.
$2.1 Billion Film Incentive Bill Dies in Arizona House of Representatives
Fantastic news for California film crews!
A bill that would have authorized the largest domestic film incentive allocation ever ($2.1 billion) died in the Arizona House of Representatives this week. The proposed bill would have allowed for a 20% cash refund on all qualified production expenditures and up to 30% if producers hired Arizona labor and used approved production facilities.
Contributing to the bill’s failure was a study by the Arizona Department of Commerce that showed the state would generate too little revenue from filming to offset the cost of the program.
Also not helping was an entertaining anti-incentive video produced by the Arizona Free Enterprise Club. We’re glad this line of argument doesn’t apply to the California Film & Television Tax Credit:
Is China Building the “Greatest Threat of Runaway Production” Ever?
In what one website is calling the “greatest threat of runaway production for the U.S. film industry ever”, is news from China that Chinese industrialist Bruno Wu, head of Seven Stars Entertainment, is building a $1.27 billion production hub called “Chinawood” outside Bejing:
Bruno Wu’s Seven Stars Entertainment and the Government of the Binhai New Area, Tianjin, today announced the establishment of the “Chinawood Global Services Base”, the largest filmed entertainment and media hub in China. Targeted at the US-led global industry, with an investment of over US $1.27 billion… Chinawood will be the headquarters for a large number of financial, technical and creative companies involved in the global media world. Significantly, with around 35% of the investment earmarked for film financing, it will play a major role as a base for Chinese co-productions with North America, Europe and other countries across the Asia Pacific.
One of the primary attractions of filming (wholly or partially) in China with a co-production partner like Seven Stars Media is that it exempts the project from China’s tight import quotas, which allow only 34 US-made films to be imported annually for theatrical exhibition.
Since the US already faces stiff competition for film production from Canada, Europe, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia (among others), the announcement from China is potentially bad news not just for California film crews, but all US film crews, as well as fantastic local businesses like this one.