Indie film producers say California’s film tax credits are only benefiting major studios.
The TV and film industry is largely ran by tax credits allotted by local and state governments. Georgia’s 30% film tax credit is one of the most luxurious tax credits in the United States, which brings multi-million dollar productions to the state to cover some of the costs of filmmaking productions. California’s film tax credits is also another major program that is supposed to help producers finance their productions. But, according to a new report by Deadline, California’s film tax credits program isn’t working.
“Indie producers are frustrated,” said Dama Claire, an incentives specialist at EP Financial Solutions told Deadline reporters. “While the state has a very good program, the bulk of the money is allocated to the major studios and to television shows returning from out of state, which is not the indie market.”
So how does California’s film tax credits work? According to Deadline, the state holds a lottery to determine who would get film tax credits and indie producers are guaranteed at least 10% of the $100 million in tax credits. In the last three years, independent productions won California’s lottery drawing 60% of the time. However, since the lottery was abandoned last year, indie producers received film tax credits 9% of the time.
“We all think it’s gone awry,” according to an anonymous Deadline source “It’s become increasingly difficult for independent producers to receive the tax credits, which are so vital to the independents. I wish they could allocate more funds to us. There are several movies I would not have made without them.”
According to the California Film Commission records, the production that has received the most tax incentives during the last three years of the lottery was Teen Wolf, the non-indie MTV/Viacom TV series, which was allocated more than $26 million. Teen Wolf previously filmed in Atlanta prior to receiving California’s film tax credits.
With California’s film tax credit system, expect more and more independent productions to move to Atlanta, which currently has no limit in the amount of money placed in their film tax credit program.
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