Incentives keeping $710 mil in California

Schwarzenegger says 60 projects have qualified so far

About $710 million in movie and TV production spending will remain in California this fiscal year because of production incentives passed a year ago, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger boasted Tuesday.

The governor said 60 projects have thus far qualified, with room for more.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, Schwarzenegger's announcement came shortly after New York Gov. David Paterson earned kudos from film and TV execs for proposing that $420 million a year be set aside so that his state can continue doling out production tax credits through 2014.

Schwarzenegger even singled out "Important Things With Demetri Martin," a Comedy Central show that took advantage of incentives by relocating production from New York to California.

Of the 60 projects that have qualified thus far, 26 began or completed production, adding 673 filming days in California, Schwarzenegger said. The remaining 34 are slated to begin production within the next five months.

Of the $710 million in spending the 60 projects will generate in the state, $310 million will be in the form of direct wages.

"It's about the caterers, the make-up artists and countless small businesses that rely on film and television production to thrive and create jobs here in California," Schwarzenegger said.

Of the 60 approved projects, 38% are independent feature films, 27% are studio features, 20% are TV movies of the week, 8% are TV series and 7% are direct-to-DVD movies.

The rules-heavy incentive package was passed in February and is laid out in detail at www.film.ca.gov/incentives.

Some of the feature films Schwarzenegger lists as staying in California because of the incentives are "Faster" for CBS Films, "Burlesque" for Screen Gems and "Adventurers Handbook" for Universal.

Television projects include the LIfetime telefilm "Amish Grace," TNT's "Men of a Certain Age" and the FX dramedy "Terriers" from Fox 21.
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