California's Film and TV Tax Credits Bring $3.7 Billion in Spending to the State

Twin Peaks still - H Publicity 2017
Courtesy of Showtime

In its first two years, the expanded incentive program, with $330 million in annual funding, has attracted or retained more than 100 projects.

In its first two years, California’s expanded Film and Television Tax Credit Program, which has been dubbed Program 2.0, has attracted or retained 100 film and television projects generating an estimated $3.7 billion in direct in-state spending, including $1.4 billion in below-the-line wages, the state said in a new report issued Monday.

Enacted in January 2015, the five?year program increased fiscal-year funding from $100 million to $330 million annually through fiscal year 2019?20. In the first two years of the expanded program, California gained 38 feature film projects and 50 television projects comprising eight pilots, two movies of the week, 27 television series, one miniseries and 12 relocating television series.

The program is credited with combating runaway production by attracting a dozen TV series, from American Horror Story to Veep, to the state that had previously filmed in locations in Canada, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina and Texas.

During 2016, the first full year of the program, hours worked in-state by below-the-line crewmembers increased by 12 percent, based on an analysis of data for below-the-line workers covered under the Motion Picture Industry Pension & Health Plans. 

The program also is being cited for boosting production throughout the state, and not just in the Los Angeles area, with projects on track to spend $28 million in 10 counties outside of Los Angeles county, with shows like Twin Peaks filming in Riverside County and the upcoming feature A Wrinkle in Time filming in Humboldt County.

“The encouraging short-term results we reported in last year’s annual report have evolved into sustained and very encouraging long-term results for Program 2.0,” California Film Commission executive director Amy Lemisch said. “The expanded tax credit program is working as intended and having a real impact.”