California Film Commission OKs New TV, Film Tax Credit Regulations

Draft rules lay out details of new program, which triples annual funding and lets more projects qualify

The California Film Commission Board of Directors on Thursday gave its blessing to draft regulations for the state’s beefed-up TV and film production tax credit program.

The measure, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last summer, triples annual funding to $330 million a year and allows more projects to qualify. The draft now goes to the governor’s Office of Administrative Law for review and final approval. The draft document is posted on the Film Commission’s website under “News & Notices.”

The state will hold a final lottery under the old program on April 1. The new incentives plan does away with the lottery and will allot funds based on how many jobs productions employ, among other criteria, such as the use of California visual effects companies and production facilities.

The California Film Commission will accept applications for TV shows May 11-17,  and feature films on a to-be-set date this summer.

For the first time, the program allows all new TV shows to qualify — not just on basic cable like under the current plan — as well as movies with budgets above $75 million. However, the up-to-25 percent credit applies only to the first $100 million of a movie’s costs, and that may cool the enthusiasm of studios when planning shoots on big budget projects.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and his film czar, entertainment attorney Ken Ziffren, have launched “Greenlight Hollywood,” an outreach campaign to help sell studios, networks and TV and film producers to stay at home.

Despite the improvements, California’s incentive plan is smaller than some rival states with whom they are fighting for a slice of the production pie.