California's incentive helps keep film, TV production in state

08:34, January 20, 2010      

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California's film and television incentive program is projected to generate more than 710 million dollars of additional production spending in the state this year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Tuesday.

The program was part of the economic stimulus package proposed by the governor and passed by the legislature in February 2009.

To date 60 productions otherwise poised to leave California have been approved for the program. Of those, 26 began or completed production in 2009, adding an additional 673 filming days across the state, Schwarzenegger said.

The remaining 34 projects already approved to receive the incentive are set to begin filming during the first half of 2010. In all, the 60 projects will generate more than 710 million in spending during the state's current fiscal year, including 310 million in direct wages alone, according to the governor.

The program is available to qualified productions through fiscal year 2013-14, he said.

"This is all about jobs and stimulating our economy - it's about the caterers, the make-up artists and countless small businesses that rely on film and television production to thrive and create jobs here in California," said Schwarzenegger. "I fought hard for these economic stimulus measures because we must do everything in our power to keep Californians on the job and our economy on the road to recovery."

Targeted specifically at the types of film and television productions most susceptible to runaway production, this incentive program demonstrates the governor's resolve to fight to keep jobs in California, jobs that until now have been lured elsewhere as a result of competing incentives offered by more than 40 other states.

"This incentive program is the best tool we have to keep California competitive," said California Film Commission Executive Director Amy Lemisch. "Productions that otherwise would be lured elsewhere are choosing to stay at home and keep jobs in California as a direct result of the incentive."

Lemisch added that tax credits are still available for eligible productions.

The California Film Commission, which administers the incentive program, reports that among the 60 approved projects, 38 percent are independent feature films, 27 percent non-independent (studio) features, 20 percent movies of the week, 8 percent TV series and 7 percent direct-to-DVD films.

Patty Long, line producer on "The Good Doctor" added, "To my surprise and delight, our independent film is staying in Los Angeles to shoot principal photography due to California's new production incentive program. The California incentive actually beat numbers from other incentive programs around the country; plus we get to tap into a large, experienced cast and crew base. I am thrilled to be able to stay home and work."

Regions across the state are benefiting from the surge in production spending. Projects set to receive the incentive have or will soon begin production in Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego and San Francisco counties.

"This tax credit program afforded me the opportunity to film in Los Angeles, and therefore work with the most experienced and creative talent in the world while sleeping in my own bed at home each night," added Larry A. Thompson, executive producer of the Lifetime movie "Amish Grace."

Source: Xinhua
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