Thursday, October 27, 2016
  • Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016
Lucky 13 Selected For California Film Tax Credits
10 non-indie features, 3 independently produced movies chosen from 174 applicants
  • HOLLYWOOD, Calif.
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The California Film Commission announced the second round of non-independent feature films and independent projects selected for the state’s expanded Film and Television Tax Credit Program 2.0. 

The list of 13 feature films includes 10 from non-independent studios and three from independent production companies. The tax credit program applies the term “independent” to projects produced by a company that is not publicly-traded.

The latest application period was held January 11 – 24, and drew 174 applications vying for $53.9 million in tax credits. It was the fourth application period overall for the recently expanded tax credit program, following a prior allocation for feature films/independent projects and two allocations for TV projects.

The list of newly-approved applicants is noteworthy by the number that may shoot extensively outside the Los Angeles 30-mile studio zone. At present, two of the newly approved films--Get it While You Can and Save the Cat have confirmed plans to shoot in San Francisco and Central California, respectively, while an additional four of the 13 projects have indicated tentative plans to film outside the zone.

“One of our goals for the newly expanded tax credit program is to start bringing more production jobs and spending to regions statewide, and we are beginning to see that happen with this latest allocation,” said Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission. “Nearly half of the projects announced may shoot at least partially outside ‘the zone’.”

Based on data provided with each application, the 13 approved projects announced today will generate an estimated $400 million in direct in-state spending, including $174 million in wages to more than 2,000 below-the-line crew members. In addition, they will employ an estimated 540 cast members.

Besides Get it While You Can (Get It While You Can Productions, LLC) and Save the Cat (Eclectic Pictures, an indie feature), the other movies approved for state tax credits are: A Star is Born (WB Studio Enterprises Inc.), Annabelle 2 (Mutiny Pictures Inc.), Beautiful Boy (Inverness Productions Inc., an indie feature), Bright (WB Studio Enterprises Inc.), Dangerous Amusement Park (Paramount Pictures), Dead of Night (Mutiny Pictures Inc.), It (New Line Productions Inc.), La Liorona (Mutiny Pictures Inc), Latin Lover (Lionsgate), Overnight on 42nd Street (Walt Disney Studios), and Suburbicon (Suburbicon LLC, an indie feature).

Approved projects are selected based on their jobs ratio score, which ranks each project by wages to below-the-line workers, qualified spending for vendors, equipment, etc., and other criteria. The top 200% ranked projects in each round (i.e., those that would qualify if double the amount of funding was available for the current allocation round) compete for tax credits, while those not selected are placed on the waiting list.

If approved applicants withdraw from the program, their tax credits are reassigned to wait-listed projects.

The recently expanded tax credit program allocates funding in “buckets” for different production categories, including non-independent feature films, independent projects and TV projects. This enables applicants to compete for credits directly against comparable projects. Funding for the current (first) fiscal year of the expanded program totals $230 million, with an additional $100 allocated for the final year of the state’s expiring first-generation tax credit program. Annual funding in subsequent years will total $330 million.

As has been the case since the state launched its first-generation tax credit program in 2009, the California Film Commission awards tax credits only after each selected project: 1) completes postproduction, 2) verifies that in-state jobs were created, and 3) provides all required documentation, including audited cost reports.

The final application period for the current fiscal year (which ends June 30, 2016) is February 15–22 for new TV series, miniseries, MOWs, pilots, recurring TV series and relocating TV series.