Open/Close Menu Legal services in film, music, television, publishing and new media.
Movie production incentives

Movie Production Incentives

You can raise a portion of your picture’s production budget via the use of production incentives offered by a U.S. State or foreign country. These incentives came about in the 1990s in response to the flight of movie productions to other countries such as Canada. Since then, states (and now several countries) have offered increasingly competitive incentives to lure productions. The structure, type, and size of the incentives vary from state to state and country.

Qualification Requirements

The jurisdictions set parameters that must be fulfilled in order for your production to secure the production incentive.25 1) Your production company has to be eligible for the production incentive. Some jurisdictions require that the production company’s business endeavors are limited to film production, or that the production company and/or its principals reside within the jurisdiction. 2) The production itself must be eligible for the production incentive. For example, some jurisdiction will provide production incentives for film and television, but exclude news programming, commercials, sports, and X-rated content. 3) The production must qualify for the incentive. You may need to shoot a minimum number of days, hire a minimum number of local crew (employees must be residents of the jurisdiction, personal services/loan out companies must be registered within jurisdiction), and/or that you meet a minimum spend test. 4) The jurisdiction defines the qualifying expenditures that will be used to calculate the incentive benefit. These are usually local goods and services purchased and directly used in the production that is applying for the production incentive. 5) The production may have to allocate the jurisdiction end credit in order to receive the production incentive.

Benefit Limits

Many jurisdictions have an annual cap on the total amount of monies they have available to allocate during the calendar year, or to a specific production. The state of New York has $420 million a year available for production incentives and it does not have a per project cap, Ohio has an $80 million dollar annual cap and a $5 million per project cap.26 You need to ascertain your jurisdiction’s annual and per-project cap, the total appropriated to date, and how the jurisdiction allocates funding if you are counting on production incentives to fund a portion of your production budget. Jurisdictions apportion their production incentives on a first-come first served, lottery, or discretionary basis.

How to Secure the Production Incentive

Contact the film office of any jurisdiction you are considering as a location for your production. Become familiar with the eligibility and qualification requirements for each jurisdiction’s production incentive; ascertain whether your production fits within the set parameters. Simultaneously determine whether the jurisdiction will have production incentives available for your production when you apply. Acquaint yourself with each jurisdiction’s application procedure and fulfill it as prescribed.