Written by on Feb 2, 2015. Posted in Incentive News

Future of Alaska filming incentives uncertain as government focuses on energy

The future of Alaska’s production industry is looking uncertain. Lawmakers in the energy-rich state are reportedly responding to falling oil prices by winding down the filming incentive. Alaska’s film tax credits have attracted movies including whale rescue drama Big Miracle.

Officially, Alaska offers a base-rate tax credit of 30% with a film fund of USD 200 million in place through to 2018. The programme has also supported Nicolas Cage drama feature The Frozen Ground (right).

However, a recent message sent to the Hollywood studios has suggested that the incentives may not be available anymore as the state focuses on supporting its energy sector, reports the Alaska Dispatch News.

“The message that went out to the film industry was done as a courtesy to let them know that in the current fiscal situation facing the state, that film credits must be weighed against all state needs and that they should take that risk into consideration in their decision-making process,” said Jerry Burnett of the Department of Revenue, in comments to the outlet.

Several Alaskan production companies have reportedly been told that applications for filming incentive support will be rejected.

“We feel that at the very least they should keep the doors open till [30 June, the end of the current fiscal year] because it takes years to get to the point of applying,” commented Mary Katzke of Affinity Films in Anchorage, in comments to the outlet: “Those that are ready to apply have been preparing a long time. That is turning away money.”

Alaska’s filming incentive has always been politically divisive in a conservative state. Many lawmakers have been reluctant to encourage Hollywood productions that are viewed as traditionally liberal.

Even with the incentive in place, Alaska has not managed to attract many high-profile shoots. A small local crew pool has been a hindrance and practical travel issues mean that other parts of the US and Canada tend to make easy doubles while offering filming incentives of their own.

(Image: Voltage Pictures)


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