Written by David Lewis on Oct 21, 2009. Posted in Incentive News

Criminal investigation targets Iowa Film Office

The Iowa Film Office is under criminal investigation after the discovery of irregularities in the handling of its film tax credit programme. An audit, conducted by the accounting firm Clifton Gunderson LLP, showed that contracts were improperly changed to increase the tax credits, signatures of economic development officials were copied from documents to revisions, and expenditures were improperly approved by the manager of the Film Office. Other findings include a lack of proper invoices and documentation on 20 of the 22 film projects that received credits.

Imagenation Abu Dhabi and Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, of Parkes/MacDonald Productions, have launched a development financing venture backed by an initial USD10m investment. The revolving fund will support future Parkes/MacDonald projects under their first-look deal with DreamWorks Studios as well as directly with Imagenation Abu Dhabi or with other major studios.

The Ukraine Film Office has launched a private equity support programme for co-productions. The programme will award up to three feature projects a year with up to USD100,000 each. Projects must meet several broad criteria wherein only feature films qualify, and at least 70% of the production costs must be spent in Ukraine. At least one of the project’s key players — director, DOP, screenwriter or lead actor or actress — must have Ukrainian citizenship or origin.

The revamped Rio Film Commission, under the watchful eye of former Motion Picture Association vice-president Steve Solot, is planning to offer an initial cash rebate for international productions equal to 5% of in-state spend and an incentive to encourage productions to offer local crew training and workshops. A USD10 million production and distribution fund has already been launched.

The Valencian Government is launching a new USD26 million film fund which will be available to international producers shooting in the region until 2011. To access the fund, producers must work with a co-production partner from the region or set up an office in Valencia. At least a third of the film must be shot in area. Producers can claim up to 20% of 80% of local spend, which rises to 25% of 80% if they produce more than one film in the region and their expenses exceed USD17.7 million.

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