North Carolina scales down filming incentive to grant programme in major change
North Carolina has downgraded its filming incentive from a tax credit to an annual grant in a development that will make it less appealing to shoots like Under the Dome and Sleepy Hollow. The move comes after months of production lobbying to keep the state’s generous filming tax credit.
The new grant programme will start in 2015 and will offer just USD 10 million a year. It increases the spending bracket required to trigger incentive support. Features will need to spend at least USD 5 million and TV shows at least USD 250,000 per episode to trigger a 25% rebate.
Whereas the current programme is uncapped, the new total per-production incentive support will be capped at USD 5 million, a figure which is likely to be too low to attract big-budget shoots.
“It’s disappointing that the new grant programme included in the budget agreement will prevent North Carolina from remaining competitive in attracting this prominent source of in-state economic activity,” said the Motion Picture Association of America.
In recent years North Carolina has hosted major feature films including the first Hunger Games movie and Marvel sequel Iron Man 3. More recently the state has attracted a series of high-profile TV dramas.
Filming incentives remain intensely controversial across the US, partly because their true local economic benefit can be tricky to definitively evaluate and official reports are often partisan and contradictory. North Carolina’s production industry now faces a hugely uncertain future and is likely to appeal only to low-budget shoots under the new grant programme.
New York, Louisiana and California remain the three main American production hubs through a combination of generous filming incentives and world-class studio facilities and crew.
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