Hoosierwood: Group seeks state tax incentives for filmmakers

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A lobbying group is hoping it can persuade Indiana lawmakers to approve tax incentives to companies making movies in the state, saying it will create jobs.

The Indiana Media Production Alliance is proposing legislation that would include a 30-percent rebate or refundable tax credit on expenditures and nonresident labor, with minimum spending of $50,000. An additional 10-percent rebate or credit is tied to the hiring of Indiana-based crew members. And a 5-percent rebate or credit is tied to Indiana stories or filming that's done in economically depressed areas.

"We want to build an industry," sound technician Chuck Budreau, a member of Indiana Media Production Alliance's executive committee, told The Indianapolis Star. "It's nice to build the artistic things, and they will come along with it. But the main thing is, we want an industry that will create local jobs and not just bring people in from California to shoot films here."

Budreau said IMPA surveyed 160 film-industry workers when putting together the proposal. He said incentives provided by Illinois, a 30-percent credit on productions and a 30-percent credit on local salaries, provided a basic framework for the lobby group's plan.

Film productions generated $184 million in spending in Illinois in 2012, according to state officials. TV productions generated $92 million.

Few projects of any size were filmed in Indiana between mid-2008 and the beginning of 2012. According to IMPA, seven films with budgets exceeding $1 million were made in Indiana during that time period.

State Rep. Tim Brown, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said IMPA shouldn't anticipate immediate success because the legislature won't be writing a budget during the upcoming session and film-related tax incentives aren't universally popular.

"Some states have had positive results with these credits, and some states have dropped them because they found they weren't worthwhile," said Brown, R-Crawfordsville.

A successful proposal would create a climate in which money stayed in the state instead of fleeing with visiting filmmakers after each wrap party, Brown said.

"You want to make sure you get jobs for the long-term, and this is an industry that probably isn't growing jobs for the next generation," he said.

Indiana Economic Development Corp. spokeswoman Katelyn Hancock said Film Indiana wasn't taking a position on whether a new film industry tax incentive should be adopted.


  • Another option
    For folks who want to work in movies and television productions, it's easy. Just pack up and move to another state where the work happens. Sure, the IATSE rates for all crew positions are dramatically lower in off the beaten path locations, but they are still livable. And, I guarantee they'll find work faster, quicker, and less painlessly than pursuing unnecessary and overpriced incentives in the Indianapolis area. There is absolutely nothing holding them back from working in entertainment. If they like 12-14 hour days, six days a week, for $22 an hour, then go for it! Please do it for yourself. You deserve it. But, please understand that in life there is such a thing as effort and reward ratio's. They'll see a much better return on their investment in time by simply being in a place where the kind of work they want is offered. With all the income they'll have, they can fly home to see their families. Five years from now, where do they want to be? There's always tradeoff's. But, if they want to work in entertainment, going where the work is has a greater probability of success than trying to get laws changed. I say this because life is too short to spend lots of time hoping things will change. The people who are most successful in entrepreneurial and freelance endeavors understand you have to go where the money is. It's really rule #1 in life for being successful. Make yourself useful to someone else who has money to pay you, and go where they are to do it. Or, say a prayer.
  • Great Results
    I have seen the results that other states have garnered in regards to this. New Orleans (Louisiana) is one of the largest benefactors of these state tax credits. There are numerous other states that are actively promoting these and they are truly a great incentive to lure film production companies to Indiana. We do have a lot to offer for period settings and general midwest picturesque settings, why not take advantage of them and make some money for the state? Also, it benefits the local communities for restaurants, lodging and locals who get paid as "extras..."
  • The real reason...
    "Some states have had positive results with these credits, and some states have dropped them because they found they weren't worthwhile," said State Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville. Uhhh Rep. Brown, how about you try them first. If they don't work...THEN you get rid of them. Don't stop them before they start. Also, when he says, "film-related tax incentives aren't universally popular" he means with Republicans (of course) The quote I've heard...for NOT doing the credits from some Indiana Republican Legislators is that they didn't want a bunch of "Hollywood liberals" to come in "our" state and film. THAT is the pathetic reason why these credits haven't been implemented yet. Pure childishness. The Indiana Republican Party is so out of touch it's no longer funny. Indiana stands to benefit big with these incentives. Indiana is a great place to film.
  • RE: Subsidizing Films
    A tax incentive to bring media production to the state is not subsidizing films. Rather it is a way to help get the local professionals more work as most media professionals are freelancers and work on a project to project basis. In order to qualify for the incentive the money has to be spent in Indiana. It is not just an offer of money for nothing. If a large budget feature were to come to Indiana to shoot principal photography, that means a month (minimum) of time for the cast and crew to be spending in Indiana. Out-of-town cast and crew will need a place to stay, thus helping the hospitality industry. They will need to eat, thus helping out the food service industry. The incentive is nothing more than an offer similar to what is offered to other corporations to relocate to the state. If we can encourage enough films to come to Indiana we can open other support businesses that will employ more people in the state. The truth is that film production, and television production, is leaving California because of the high cost of production. Atlanta, New Orleans, Austin are seeing huge increases in the number of productions within their borders. We, as a state, have lost productions because of the lack of an incentive. John Green, an Indianapolis based author, is seeing his best seller "The Fault In Our Stars" made into a feature length film. Parts of the book take place at recognizable Indianapolis landmarks, yet the film is being shot in Pittsburgh. Why? Because Pennsylvania has a production tax incentive, Indiana doesn't. It was just recently announced that "Man of Steel 2" will be shot in Detroit. Why? They have a tax incentive. Last season the NBC series "Revolution" had several episodes with the main characters traveling through Indiana with stops in Lowell and Noblesville. That wasn't shot here either. Why? No incentive.
  • To insider
    I have responded to your criticism above - which, if you've only read the Indy Star article, is very fair. There's more to the story.
  • Media Production can be a Sustainable Industry
    Hi all, My name is Benjamin Dewhurst, and I am the Vice President for the Indiana Media Production Alliance. This story was picked up by the IBJ from the Indy Star's article released this past Sunday. While it was a wonderful piece, it may have missed one of the highlights of what we're trying to do with the IMPA: create a SUSTAINABLE job base in Indiana for ALL manner of media production. This includes Hollywood feature film production, true, but it also includes corporate, industrial, commercial, and even short film production. By growing the base of motion picture production in Indiana, we will create an industry that will not suffer a great exodus once incentives are no longer in place, such as what Detroit has seen. Thank you to the IBJ for running this story, and thank you all for reading, and for your thoughtful commentary. -Benjamin
  • Need it
    Yes, most of the money will leave the state after the wrap party but Indiana is full of beautiful settings and historic buildings and with that these films will showcase Indiana. These movies could make people think about moving here. Especially when they find out our low cost of living. These films could be seen by 100's of millions of people throughout the world, way more than the ads playing in Time Square.
  • An insider's perspective
    To summarize, some of the biggest and most profitable corporations in America have successfully convinced states to essentially donate 25% or more of the cost of making the movie, for absolutely no reason Do you want Indiana tax dollars to subsidize movies?

    Post a comment to this story

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
    Subscribe to IBJ