Film Here

One big reason that New York City is a magnet for film production is the Mayor’s Office of Film Theater and Broadcasting. They provide free police assistance, permits, locations, and a five percent tax credit on the expenditures of most productions recorded here. An even bigger reason to film in New York is an additional thirty percent tax credit that the state offers. Essentially, projects that film in New York City can expect impressive aid and a substantial tax reimbursement of money spent on costumes, crew, equipment, studios, animal wranglers–all of the film-making services that are considered ‘below the line’ expenses–expenses other than the director, principal actors, and screenwriter.

Maybe the biggest reason to film in New York City is it’s inimitable presence, but I’ll write about that another time.

Many states, and with notable success Canada, have worked up their own tax contortions, pairing these with other resources to compete for studio and independent feature film business. Connecticut has for years offered big tax breaks for ‘above the line’ film production expenses–expenses in exactly the pricey production area that New York declines to offset. Film productions with expensive stars stand to benefit by filming there. Since participating productions will likely spend a large chunk of budget importing their Bruce Willis’s and Spike Jonez’s, it makes sense for Connecticut to try and offer a trained home force of below-the-line drudges. Their salaries will probably still be taxed. Connecticut needs that tax revenue and Connecticut citizens need jobs. The state is trying to recruit and intern camera operators, sound technicians, production assistants and anything else that you shouldn’t have to send production dollars out of state for. Recruitment for film production training at websites like Connecticut Film & Digital Media Workforce, is hard to take seriously as a threat, but can Connecticut divert a significant amount of film productions that might otherwise be spending their budgets in New York?

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