Tax credit bill becomes law at Tribeca

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Related: Tax credits save day for N.Y. productions

NEW YORK -- The Tribeca Film Festival kicked off Wednesday with Gov. David Paterson signing the New York State production tax credit bill into law, the unveiling of competition judges and American Express' commitment to five more years as the fest's main sponsor.

David Bowie, Whoopi Goldberg and Molly Shannon are among 31 judges in Tribeca's six narrative, docu and shorts competitions. Others include Peter Dinklage, Fred Durst, Matthew Modine, Mario Batali, Christine Lahti, Lili Taylor, Jay McInerney, Andre Leon Talley and Doug Liman, who attended the press conference announcement Wednesday.

AmEx's renewed pact with Tribeca is very welcome news for the fest. In its first six editions, the founding sponsor picked up 20% of Tribeca's budget, which has multiplied three to four times since the first 2002 fest to hit an estimated $13 million last year. It's unclear if this year's edition will have a lower budget, or cut into its $1 million annual deficit as it cuts back venues and 24% of its feature slate, but the AmEx support will be crucial in this effort.

Paterson's bill, finalized two weeks ago, increases the state's 10% below-the-line tax credit for film and TV productions to 30% plus an added 5% for New York City projects. The $575 million program also speeds the rebate waiting period from two years to one and extends the current deal to 2013, with an ultimate $110 million cap.
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