JJ Abrams’ Alcatraz snubs San Francisco for filming incentives in Vancouver
San Francisco may be the setting for new TV show Alcatraz, but Vancouver is the main filming location. The JJ Abrams-produced show filmed exteriors in San Francisco for a few weeks last year, but the bulk of the first season’s shoot took advantage of British Columbia’s filming incentives.
The filming industries in San Francisco have been declining for the better part of a decade, reports the San Francisco Examiner. Between 2000 and 2005 the local crew base shrank by 50% and the city lost some USD120 million in filming revenues. Part of the problem is that filmmakers can get vastly better incentive deals in other cities like Vancouver.
The feedback I got was that due to the huge tax incentives offered in British Columbia, it was cheaper to film it there.
Susannah Robbins, San Francisco Film Commission
Susannah Robbins is Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Commission and spoke to the outlet: “I had many conversations with them (the Alcatraz producers) about our rebate programme and the possibility of building the sets at [city studio facility] Treasure Island, where the rent would have been [subject to the filming rebate].
“But the feedback I got was that due to the huge tax incentives offered in British Columbia, it was cheaper to film it there.”
California in general had a bad 2011 with TV projects as the decision was made to renew the TV filming incentive by just 12 months. Many TV productions decided to move to alternative hubs like New York in search of longer-term incentive security.
Global Filming Incentive - United States of America (see more…)
- North Miami Film Incentive
- Miami-Dade County Production Incentive Programme
- Kansas City Rebate Incentive
- Virginia Motion Picture Tax Credit
- Wyoming: Film Industry Financial Incentive (FIFI) Program
- West Virginia Film Industry Investment Act
- Washington DC: Rebates
- The Washington Motion Picture Competitiveness Programme
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