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CA film czar urges tax credit boost

California film czar Paul Audley has urged the need to expand the state’s film and TV tax credit following a report issued this week which revealed a decline in production in the state.

“State policymakers have the opportunity to make a difference this year by expanding California’s film and television tax credit. We hope they give the strongest possible signal to the film industry that they want to keep film jobs in California,” said Audley.

“Considering California’s vast filmmaking talent, the state should be exporting films for global audiences, not jobs to global competitors,” he added.

In The Feature Film Project report issued by FilmL.A. - which analysed a sample of 108 American feature films released theatrically in 2013 - California came fourth in the total of number of live-action projects, related film jobs and total related spend; Louisiana came out on top, followed by Canada and the UK.

Another damning statistic was that in 1997 California’s share of the top 25 live-action films was 64% - now it is a mere 8%.

star trk into darkness

The findings in the report also revealed that only two films with a budget of over $100m shot primarily in California - The Hangover Part III and Star Trek: Into Darkness – a reason for this could be that the production budget cap to qualify for the state’s 20% - 25% tax credit is $75m, compared to uncapped film incentives elsewhere such as Louisiana, Georgia and the UK.

The VFX industry didn’t fare well either: “Because of international competition and the lure of film incentives tailored specifically for animation and visual effects, California’s VFX industry has collapsed,” were the damning words in FilmL.A.’s report. With facilities in Singapore and soon London, Industrial Light and Magic is the only major VFX house left in the state capable of employing more than 1,000 effects artists.

A new bill was introduced last month which could see a major increase in annual funding, closer to that of New York’s $420m a year. Subject to approval by the state Senate, it could come into place as early as the summer.

To find out more about film and TV tax credits available in California, click here.


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