The AFCI Locations Show drew a healthy turnout for exhibits and panel discussions at a new venue, the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in L.A. While the site and the attendance received high marks, the timing of March 27-29 in retrospect might have been a bit off as several states didn’t yet know the legislative outcome of their incentive packages which were up for renewal, in line for enhancements or in jeopardy.
This is best reflected in the news that has emerged since Locations ended with the promise of more developments to come in the weeks ahead. For example, on April 2, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2580 which extends that state’s film production rebate program through June 30, 2024. And in Mississippi, Senate Bill 2374, which adds all fringes to eligible spend for all types of production, has passed both chambers and at press time was on Governor Phil Bryant’s desk for his signature. It’s expected that he will sign the bill by April 24. Once signed, it will take effect immediately.
Meanwhile on the Governor’s desk awaiting signature in Virginia is House Bill 460 which would increase the existing tax credit program’s annual cap to $6.5 million for the 2015 fiscal year (July 1-June 30) and each fiscal year thereafter. The bill would also establish a sunset date of Dec. 31, 2018.
Among those bills still in the legislature–either the state House or Senate–are: Alaska House Bill 306 which proposes to repeal the film production tax credit program effective Dec. 31, 2016; Michigan’s Senate Bill 837 which along with House Bill 5373 proposes to allocate $25 million to the film incentive program for the 2015 fiscal year (Oct. 1-Sept. 30); and Missouri House Bill 2207 which would reinstate the film production tax credit program which expired on Nov. 28, 2013.
Furthermore, there’s proposed legislation in California to improve the state’s Film & Television Tax Credit program which is currently funded at $100 million annually. Credits under the existing initiative can amount to 20 to 25 percent of qualified production expenditures. But excluded from eligibility are films with budgets of more than $75 million, as well as TV commercials. Typically hundreds apply for the tax credit program on day one of the fiscal year and only 25 to 30 are selected with the rest put on a waiting list. The new legislation, if passed, would increase the tax credit allocation to as much as $400 million a year. The bill would extend the program until 2022 and expand eligibility to include bigger budgeted movies and all TV series while providing a special incentive for shooting outside the typical L.A.-centered areas.
Not all was in a state of flux, though, at Locations. There were still many film commissioners who came to the AFCI confab with all their improved incentive ducks in order, a prime example being Hawaii which last year got legislative approval on a five percent increase to its existing Motion Picture, Digital Media and Film Production Tax Credit. The measure increases the tax credit from 15 to 20 percent on Oahu and from 20 to 25 percent on the neighbor islands. The tax credit is based on a production company’s Hawaii expenditures while producing a qualified film, TV show, commercial or digital media project. Qualifying projects must have qualified expenditures equal to or exceeding $200,000. Any single project can claim up to $15 million in tax credits. There is no overall spending cap for the credit program.
Manhattan, an original one-hour drama series has begun production in New Mexico. The series is set against the backdrop of the greatest clandestine race against time in the history of science–the mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb in Los Alamos — and follows the brilliant but flawed scientists and their families as they attempt to co-exist in a world where secrets and lies infiltrate every aspect of their lives.Manhattan will premiere on WGN America in July.
The production will employ about 200 New Mexico crew members, and 3,000-plus resident actors and background talent over the course of the series.