Written by on May 19, 2015. Posted in Incentive News

Washington DC launches film fund for first time in over five years

Washington, DC, has launched a small film fund for the first time in half a decade. The success of TV shows like Veep and House of Cards have sustained Washington as a hugely popular setting, but the city is not regarded as film-friendly and supports very few production days.

House of Cards and Veep both double Maryland for Washington, filming just a few establishing shots per season in Washington.

The city’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development is now offering USD 1.2 million through its Film DC Economic Incentive Fund. Productions spending at least a quarter of a million dollars in the city will be eligible for staggered incentive rebates.

At the lower end of the scale, rebates of 25% are available for “infrastructure investment”, and a rebate of up to 42% is available for “qualified production expenditures taxable in the District”.

While the lack of a filming incentive in Washington hasn’t helped in recent years, bureaucracy has also been seen as a major problem deterring filmmakers. Multiple law enforcement and city municipal organisations frequently have to be consulted to shoot in a single location, as responsibility for roads and sidewalks often conflict or overlap.

Neighbouring Maryland offers a base 25% filming incentive and has hosted multiple seasons of House of Cards and Veep. The state has still faced a challenge keeping House of Cards for 2015 because its annual film fund was reduced by more than 50%.

Filming incentives remain intensely controversial across the US, with many state authorities conflicted over the true benefits of subsidising Hollywood productions.

(Photos: John Latenser)


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