Calif. incentives program lands 25 projects

Film commission began accepting applications July 1

"Schmucks" was no schmuck and took the money.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California Film Commission on Monday announced the first 25 film and TV productions to qualify for recently passed state tax credits. A handful of high-profile projects were included, including DreamWorks' Jay Roach-helmed comedy "Dinner for Schmucks" and Sony's Facebook saga "The Social Network."

"I fought hard for economic-stimulus measures, including the film and television production incentive, because we must do everything in our power to stimulate the economy and put Californians back to work," Schwarzenegger said. "This is about the makeup artists, the caterers and the countless other small businesses that rely on film and television production to succeed and create jobs for Californians."

The governor said the tax-based production incentives are an attempt to stop a runaway-production trend that has seen more than three dozen other states lure film and TV projects from California. The new program offers various categories of incentives featuring 20%-25% credits that can be used by qualifying production companies after Jan. 1, 2011.

"I can state, without a doubt, that this new film-incentive program is the reason we're making our movie in California," said Tom Duffield, production designer on CBS Films' action thriller "Faster," starring Dwayne Johnson. "Without the incentive, it would have been made in New Mexico. I'm now free to hire the best crews and use the best local vendors in the business. This couldn't come at a better time."

The state film commission began accepting applications July 1.

"This program launches at a time when the state urgently needs to increase jobs and stimulate our economy," CFC director Amy Lemisch said. "We now have the resources to put more of our experienced crews back to work while keeping our production infrastructure healthy. I couldn't be happier with the early success of our program. It's performing exactly as it was intended: keeping movies and TV shows here in California that otherwise would have been lost to other regions."

Those qualifying for the program thus far include: "Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2," Tiny but Mighty Prods.; "Burlesque," Screen Gems Prods.; "Christmas in Beverly Hills," Fast Lane Prods.; "Circle of Eight," Bronson Avenue II; "Cooper," Gramps Co.; "Dead Broke," Lucky Monkey Pictures; "Dinner for Schmucks," DW Studios Prods.; "Elevator Girl," Garding Ltd.; "Faster," CBS Films Prods.; "Fire in the Hole," Woodbridge Prods.; "1/2//fraction// Life," 1/2//fraction// Life Llc.; "Hero Factory," Threshold Animation Studios; "Important Things With Demetri Martin," Central Prods.; "Men of a Certain Age," Turner North Center Prods.; "Naked Gun 4," Paramount Famous Prods.; "The Perfect Family," Perfect Family Prods.; "Priest," Screen Gems Prods.; "The Raise," Unclaimed Freight Prods.; "Second Wives Club," Paramount Famous Prods.; "Slumdog Virgin," Steinbeck Llc.; "The Social Network," Columbia Pictures; "The Spanish Harlem Project," Mano Prods.; "Takin' It Back," Elixir Entertainment; "Untitled Movie," Close to Home Prods.; and "You Again," Briarvale Prods.