Today, the California Film Commission (CFC) issued a new Progress Report for the state’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program. The updated report includes detailed information regarding program performance for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, as well as spending estimates and project detail for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. For those considering how to make California more competitive in attracting new film and television projects and jobs, the report highlights both the program’s successes and opportunities for program improvement.
The 32-page report can be downloaded from the CFC or via the Resources section of this site. Meanwhile, here is a brief summary of the report’s key findings:
- Since the program’s inception in mid-2009, the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program has allocated (reserved) approximately $700 million in tax credits for eligible film and television projects.
- To-date, California’s $700 million investment in its film industry has yielded $5.39 billion in aggregated direct spending by film producers, including an estimated $1.72 billion in qualified (below-the-line) wage payments.
- Demand for California film credits exceeds supply, and evidence shows that most qualifying projects that are ultimately denied tax credits due to California’s insufficient incentive budget will film outside California out of financial necessity.
- Over the past four years, an estimated $2 billion in direct production spending has been lost through the unfortunate flight of incentive-waitlisted film projects to non-California jurisdictions. This figure does not include losses from film projects that never applied or qualified for tax credits in California.
- To date, California’s film incentive has encouraged six TV series to relocate to California for series production. Each year, the CFC receives numerous applications from TV producers looking to relocate shows to California, but to date the only shows to follow through were those lucky enough to be selected in the state’s film incentive lottery.
- California’s program has been highly successful in targeting several types of film projects at risk of runaway production: basic cable TV series and low-to-mid-budget feature films. Unfortunately, California continues to lose market share in other important industry segments. The state remains uncompetitive in attracting network television dramas and big-budget “tent-pole” feature films.
- Eleven counties across the state have documented evidence of the importance of film production to their local economies. The CFC’s report devotes a full two pages to articulating these benefits, which amount to millions in direct local spending on wages, hotel stays and catering.