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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

Contact:Allen Spelce
R.J. DeSilva
(512) 463-4070

For Immediate Release
December 10, 2007

Commission Evaluates Texas Filmmaking Incentives


AUSTIN — Movies, TV shows and other video productions produced in Texas pump billions of dollars into the state economy. The Texas Film Incentive Program Advisory Committee, created by the 80th Legislature and appointed by Comptroller Susan Combs, will examine how much revenue the film industry generates, its anticipated growth and whether Texas is doing enough to attract filmmakers.

“The Texas Film Commission estimates that during the last 10 years, 602 film and TV projects were produced wholly or partly in Texas,” Combs said. “The video industry, including films, television, commercial video, animation and video games, spent $1.77 billion in Texas and created nearly 57,000 jobs.”

Texas faces increasing competition from New Mexico, Louisiana and other states rolling out the red carpet for filmmakers by offering tax breaks and other incentives. In Texas, the film industry qualifies for certain exemptions from the sales tax, hotel occupancy tax and motor fuels tax. The Texas Production Incentives Program reimburses filmmakers for part of their Texas expenditures.

The Texas Production Incentives Program offers grants equal to 5 percent of in-state spending, including wages paid to Texas residents. At least 80 percent of the production must be completed in Texas; at least 70 percent of the paid cast and crew members must be Texas residents; and the production must spend a minimum of $1 million for feature films, documentaries or television programs or at least $100,000 for commercials, infomercials, music videos or video games.

Funding for the grants became available Sept. 1. The Texas Film Commission has received 88 applications that could qualify for $4.8 million in grants, based on $86.8 million in projected Texas spending. No grants have been awarded yet.

The Film Incentive Program Advisory Committee held its first meeting Dec. 10 in Austin.

The committee members are Steve Belsky, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, Local 484; Betty Buckley, animated TV series producer; Linda Dowell, Screen Actors Guild; Evy Galan, vice-president of Galan Inc., a TV documentary company specializing in Latino topics; Rodney Gibbs, executive studio director for video game producer Amaze Entertainment and president of the Digital Media Council; Tony Miglini, executive producer for TV commercial production company Sugar Film Production and president of the Southwest chapter of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers; Meredith Stephens, director of development for commercial production facility MPS Studios and president of the Texas Motion Picture Alliance; and John Schrimf of the motion picture equipment company Panavision. Economist Dr. Bernard Weinstein of the University of North Texas, along with representatives of the Texas Film Commission, the Texas Workforce Commission and the Comptroller’s office will work with the advisory committee, which will issue a report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Legislative Budget Board in December 2008.

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