New round of state film credits includes 3 big-budget features

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Three big-budget films, “Captain Marvel,” “Island Plaza,” and “Midway,” are among eight features that will benefit from the latest round of California film tax credits, which allocates nearly $68 million to independent and studio projects.

A total of 92 projects sought tax breaks from California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program during the first film allocation period, from June 27 to July 8. This is the program’s third fiscal year.

The three films bring to six the number big-budget productions that have received credits. “Captain Marvel” and the other big-budget studio projects have production budgets over $75 million, which would have made them ineligible for the state’s first-generation tax credit program.

“Such films are a primary target for the tax credit program because they can bring significant jobs and spending to regions across the state,” said California Film Commission Executive Director Amy Lemisch in a statement.

“Our headquarters and post-production facilities are in California, so it’s very exciting to be able to film ‘Captain Marvel’ here in our home state thanks to this California tax credit,” said Marvel Studios co-president Louis D’Esposito. “As a result, not only will we be able to streamline our production process for this and other films we’re working on concurrently, but we’ll have more time to spend with our families.”

Among the other projects selected for the latest round of tax credits are independent productions “Happytime Murders,” directed by Brian Henson and starring Melissa McCarthy, and “Cheney,” starring Amy Adams, Christian Bale and Steve Carell.

Based on data provided with each application, the eight film projects are on track to employ more than 2,600 cast and crew, and generate nearly $385 million in qualified spending. The state defines qualified spending as wages to below-the-line workers and payments for equipment and vendors.
Four of the eight projects plan to shoot at least partially outside the Los Angeles thirty-mile zone, as far away as northern California.

“Production companies are rediscovering the diverse locations available across the state,” Lemisch said. “For example, ‘Midway’ plans to film extensively in Alameda County, where the producers can take advantage of the Bay Area’s unique locations, production infrastructure and skilled crews.”

Year three of Program 2.0 began officially on July 1, the start of the state’s fiscal year. The next application period for feature films will be held October 16-20. The next application period for TV projects will be held November 6 – 13.

On September 18, 2014, Gov. Brown signed bipartisan legislation to more than triple the size of California’s film and television production incentive, from $100 million to $330 million annually. Projects approved for California tax credits are selected based on their jobs ratio score, which ranks each project by wages to below-the-line workers, qualified spending for vendors, equipment, and other criteria. The top 200 percent ranked projects in each round (those that would qualify if twice as much funding was available for the current allocation round) are evaluated.

Those with the highest-ranked jobs ratios receive tax credits, while those not selected are placed on the waiting list. To allow applicants to compete against comparable projects, the program allocates funding in “buckets” for different production categories, including non-independent feature films, independent films, TV projects and relocating TV series.

The California Film Commission awards tax credits only after each selected project completes post-production, verifies that in-state jobs were created, and provides all required documentation, including audited cost reports

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