Written by on Aug 3, 2015. Posted in Incentive News

California Film Commission considers benefits of job-focused filming incentive

The California Film Commission has discussed the advantages of allocating its filming incentive tax credits according to how many jobs a production will create. California boosted its filming incentive earlier this year and is now considering 254 feature applications.

Lawmakers in California have more than tripled the state’s annual film fund to USD 330 million and this year USD 55 million has been set aside to support feature productions.

Most of this year’s fund has been allocated to TV productions, with Veep (right) and American Horror Story among the high-profile shoots relocating to California from elsewhere in the US.

“Everybody enters their data into the application, and there’s a formula that comes up with a jobs ratio equation that has to do with their below-the-line wages and nonwage spending and shooting days and production plan,” said Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission, in comments to Los Angeles Daily News.

“The way we rank each applicant’s jobs ratio number is from highest to lowest, and it is from that list that we select the top 200% of projects.”

California’s lottery allocation system ran this year for the last time. From next year the full USD 330 million will be issued by calculating how many jobs each eligible production will create.

“Toward the end of the old programme, it really did become mainly a television incentive,” Lemisch added: “Those larger feature films, which were a focus of this legislation, now have this separate pot of funds established for them. We will soon see how many features like that we can retain here.”

The state still has a big challenge on its hands attracting larger features. A big-budget production would want to claim much of a USD 55 million fund for itself in order to choose California as a base, but the reality is that features will be awarded a relatively small incentive payment.

Hollywood insiders are supportive of California’s boosted filming incentive, but it’s being generally viewed as a good starting point that could become more appealing in the next few years.


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