8 Shooting Hotspots: Where to Get the Best Incentives in the U.S. and Canada

9:00 AM 4/4/2017

by Bryn Elise Sandberg

Six states and two Canadian provinces are aggressively luring productions.

'Preacher' filming in Louisiana
'Preacher' filming in Louisiana
Courtesy of AMC

Ahead of the AFCI Global Production & Finance Conference taking place April 6-8, THR looks at six states and two Canadian provinces that are aggressively luring productions.

  • New York

    'Divorce'
    'Divorce'
    Courtesy of HBO

    By offsetting 30 percent of costs to projects that complete at least 75 percent of production in state, the Empire State continues to draw such high-profile productions as USA's Mr. Robot, HBO's Divorce and the upcoming Ocean's Eight. In 2016, 189 films and shows applied for the program and are estimated to have generated a record 201,220 hires and $3.3 billion in spending. The program is funded through 2019 at $420 million a year, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal extends it through 2022.

  • California

    Courtesy of HBO

    Two years of the Golden State's expanded tax incentives program, which boosted funding from $100 million to $330 million, resulted in 11 out-of-state TV series relocating west, including Showtime's The Affair, FX's Legion and Netflix's The OA. It helps that L.A. is home to the big film studios and more than 500 production facilities. Other high-profile Cali projects: HBO's Westworld, Disney's A Wrinkle in Time and NBC's This Is Us.

  • Louisiana

    Courtesy of AMC

    The state has drawn studio films (STX's Bad Moms) and such shows as OWN's Queen Sugar and AMC's Preacher (relocated from New Mexico). It's a great stand-in, doubling for a dense island in Jurassic World and the Wild West in Magnificent Seven. An updated incentives program offers up to 30 percent credit, with an extra 10 percent for resident payroll. The state legislature will discuss the program in a fiscal session in April.

  • Illinois

    Courtesy of Amazon Film Studios

    In 2016, Illinois had a record-breaking $499 million in estimated spending as part of its film program, marking a 51 percent increase from 2015 — on top of the 18 percent bump from the previous year. NBC's Chicago franchise, Fox's Empire, Netflix's Sense8 and Amazon's Patriot have set up shop here, taking advantage of Illinois' 30 percent tax credit, which can go up by 15 percent for productions filming in areas with high unemployment. The program will remain in place until 2021.

  • Georgia

    Aaron St. Clair/Splash News

    Georgia is the third busiest production hub in the U.S., according to the MPAA. In 2016, 245 films (including Pitch Perfect 3) and TV shows shot in the state — buoyed by 20 percent tax credits and generating an economic impact of $7 billion. The boom in the industry is largely due to U.K.-based Pinewood Studios selecting the Peach State for its first U.S. presence, a 400,000-square-foot facility where Marvel's Avengers Infinity Wars and Black Panther filmed.

  • New Mexico

    Courtesy of Netflix

    Since New Mexico passed incentives 15 years ago, its film and TV infrastructure has grown significantly. The state currently offers a 25 percent credit for film and 30 percent for TV and four soundstage facilities: two in Albuquerque and two in Santa Fe. In 2016, the program resulted in $397 million in direct in-state spending, including on the Oscar-nominated film Hell or High Water, in addition to X-Men flick Logan, Netflix's Longmire and AMC's Better Call Saul.

  • Ontario

    Courtesy of Hulu

    Ontario's tax credits program has been competitive since it was created in the 1990s, offering 35 percent (and even more, depending on certain criteria) to qualifying productions. The Canadian province — home to several upcoming TV series, including Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, Starz's American Gods and CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery — boasts about 3.2 million square feet of production space, with multiple studio spaces like Cinespace and Pinewood.

  • British Columbia

    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

    The city of Vancouver in this Canadian province has become home to several CW shows (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl) as well as Lifetime's UnREAL, Bravo's Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce and Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events — all lured by generous tax credits (33 percent) and more than 2 million square feet of studio space. Vancouver's ability to double for U.S. cities and other exotic locales recently drew Fifty Shades Darker and Power Rangers.

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