Big production incentive boost proposed for California

Additional funding would target TV series and studio construction projects.

By John Hazelton 14 Jul 2021

Big production incentive boost proposed for California
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Credit: Disney/Marvel Studios

Legislators are considering a $330m boost to California’s film and TV production incentive programme that would help the state compete for projects with other US and international locations, including the UK

An amended bill introduced in the California State Senate this week calls for an additional $180m to be provided for the programme over the next two fiscal years. Of the extra $90m a year, $15m would be used to encourage TV series to relocate to California and $75m would go to TV series already shooting in the state. 

Another $150m would be made available to film projects shot at ‘certified studio construction projects’ involving the construction of one or more sound stages. Applicants for the studio construction credit would be required to submit diversity plans to state film officials. 

To become law, the bill would have to be passed by both houses of the California legislature and be signed Governor Gavin Newsom, who faces a recall vote in September. 

Legislators are thought likely to give their approval, however, because California is in better financial shape than expected after an infusion of federal stimulus aid. Earlier this year, the aid prompted Newsom to propose a one-off $30m boost to the California production incentive. 

Alluding to industry opposition to restrictive new voting laws in the state of Georgia (California’s main rival for big shoots), Newsom said the additional funding would create “an opportunity for those productions…in places like Georgia, whose values don’t necessarily always align with the production crews, to consider coming back to the state of California.” 

After Newsom made his proposal, the legislature went further, proposing instead an additional $180m for the incentive programme over two years. 

Currently, the California film and TV tax credit programme runs for the five years up to June 30, 2025 with funding of $330m each fiscal year. It offers credits of either 20% or 25%, with ‘pots’ of funding assigned to TV series, independent films and ‘non-independent’ films. 

Most recently, the incentive programme has helped attract productions such as Disney and Marvel’s Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings and Warner Bros’ Will Smith drama King Richard to California. 

The state has 5.2m square feet of stage space but, with many facilities operating in normal times at near full capacity, stages, particularly those bigger than 30,000 square feet, can be hard to come by.

This article originally appeared on sister site, ScreenDaily.

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