On Tuesday, February 6th, the Governor gave his annual budget address before members of the House and Senate. The Governor has proposed a $32.9 million budget, nearly $1 billion more than this current year's approved spending plan. In addition to the Governor's budget proposal, revenues for the current fiscal year are exceeding projections, resulting in a surplus. The proposal reflects an additional $225 million in funding for education as well as a severance tax on natural gas.
PAFIA is working with many stakeholders, including the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Film Offices, to seek an increase to the $65 million film tax credit allocation. While PAFIA remains very appreciative for the support that legislators and the Governor have for the program, we feel it is a very good time to invest further in the industry - bringing more films and shows to the Commonwealth, creating additional jobs throughout the state. PAFIA will be working closely with our supporters, as well as reaching out to those legislators who don't support the tax credit or remain skeptical of the benefits and impacts.
As February ends, House and Senate Appropriations Committees will be finishing up their hearings with all the state agencies and return to session on March 12. PAFIA will continue to fight for the program.
The House and Senate returned on Tuesday, January 2nd and both were in session last week (Jan 22-24). For the week of January 29th, only the Senate is in session. Both the House and Senate are in session next week, and the Governor gives his annual budget address on Tuesday, February 6. The House and Senate will adjourn for Appropriations hearings, returning to session in mid March.
It is my understanding that the Governor will propose that the FIlm Tax Credit will remain funded at $65 million for this year. During our subsequent outreach, we will express appreciation for the continued support but will make a measured plea for a responsible increase in the amount. With 2018 being a re-election year for the Governor, all House members, and half of the Senate, there will likely be fiscal challenges with balancing the budget. Sound familiar? Stay tuned...
On January 13th, PAFIA presented "Trailer Talk" hosted by Paula Gregg and Jeannee Josefczyk at the Quality Inn in New Kensington. 17 independent films were highlighted, with the producers, directors, actors, and crew members in attendance to directly represent their projects. The collaborative spirit and sense of accomplishment in creating a film was evident as the directors and producers took the stage to talk about their projects. Film in Pennsylvania can only continue to thrive under a healthy tax credit program. PAFIA supports independent and studio projects alike in Pennsylvania. Look for more events like this in the near future!
If you would like to check out the trailers, many of them are available on YouTube and have website or Facebook pages where you can learn more about the films listed below. Please take a moment to support our local filmmakers and crew. Some full length films are not available to watch at this time as they are currently being shown in festivals throughout the country. Congratulations to those films and best wishes for continued success to all!
A WISH FOR GIANTS
THE LAST TRANSMISSION
To submit your short or film to be considered for future events, please contact Paula Gregg at email@example.com! If you are not a member of PAFIA, please take a look at our membership options on our webpage. Your membership will continue to let Harrisburg know that the film tax credit is important and affects jobs in Pennsylvania.
A big THANK YOU to PAFIA member, Casey, LaRocco, who donated his time to help set up and run the digital trailers and also to Andy Winko and the Pittsburgh Smokehouse who provided appetizers and light snacks. In addition, we appreciate those who were able to volunteer their time to help, PAFIA board members: Frank Conforti, Erica Sperber, and Amy Sotereanos.
PAFIA's Winter Holiday Social was held on December 18th in Philadelphia. Jerry's Bar Kindly hosted the event and provided delicious complimentary appetizers. Everyone was impressed by the cozy atmosphere, staff's hospitality, and beautiful interior design of the venue. Local filmmakers, crew, actors, casting, screenwriters, producers, directors, and agents as well as vendors, investors, and supporters of the Film and Television Industry in Pennsylvania gathered to meet like-minded professionals, get different types of projects going, and find out the scoop on new productions.
Attendees were encouraged to bring food or toys for the animals in local shelters. A whole box of goods was collected and will be given to the animals at the PAWS adoption center.
The night ended with a 50/50 raffle drawing and a lot of attendees also won PAFIA shirts and hats. The event went really well and the room was full of laughter and positive vibes.
As the year comes to an end, we can celebrate another successful, yet delayed, Pennsylvania budget. While the timing was 4 months past the June 30th deadline, with the Governor signing the final parts of the budget on October 30th, the film tax credit program was fully funded at $65 million. 2017/2018 reflects a $65 million commitment to film tax credits (increase of $5 million pursuant to the authorization bill in 2016), and also the establishment of a new "film production tax credit district" provision.
The 2017/2018 budget amount is $32 billion, relying largely on borrowing ($1.5 billion) against the state's Tobacco Settlement Fund. It also includes $300 million in special fund transfers; expanding the sales tax to online vendors; a new 12% tax on consumer fireworks; and gaming expansion.
As previously reported, the Department of Community and Economic Development will establish up to two film production tax credit districts. Districts must be at least 55 acres, located on a deteriorated property, and be occupied by a qualified business that would make a capital investment of at least $400 million within five years and contain at least one qualified production facility and six sound stages. This new tax credit would be in addition to the current $65 million cap. The new tax credit districts would begin in the fiscal year 2019/2020, which would begin July 1, 2019 (if budget is on time).
2017/2018 was positive for the film industry. A continued commitment by the Commonwealth to the industry is proven and there is now new framework for additional state investments in the film industry via the film production tax district provision.
The Year Ahead - 2018
The 2018/2019 budget process will officially begin when the Governor provides his annual budget address on Tuesday, February 6, 2018. PAFIA expects the Governor will propose to fund the program again at the same level, $65 million. PAFIA will continue to responsible advocate for an additional investment into the program. 2018 is an election year for most of the legislature as well as the Governor; therefore identifying additional (new) revenues to fund an increase to the program will be a significant challenge.
PAFIA remains a strong voice for the industry and a trusted resource to the administration, the legislature, and the staff.
Here's to a happy, healthy, safe, and prosperous 2018!
For the last two years, Matt Croyle, a filmmaker and Founder and Director of the Oil Valley Film Festival, has provided a growing platform for the filmmakers in Venago County and the Oil Region in western Pennsylvania. The festival is a mixture of American and International films (dramatic and documentary) in both feature and short length categories - as well as a "curated block of out-of-competition selections." The festival also boasts a screenwriting and pilot teleplay competitions for screenwriters.
This three-day festival is complete with networking events and educational panels and it culminates in a $1,000 prize awarded for the "audience favorite" Feature Film and juried awards.
"This is the first International Film Festival of its kind in the region," says Croyle, whose own feature length film, "Potential Inertia," was shot in the area with the help of some "extremely dedicated people."
With Oil City being half way between Pittsburgh and Erie, Croyle understands the region is an under-represented area for indie film and hopes to bring an art house cinematic experience to the region outside of local multiplexes. In its first two seasons, the festival received submissions from twenty-one countries around the globe and had succeeded in bridging filmmakers with resources they may not have had access to otherwise. The festival has doubled in attendance over its first two seasons and looks to grow even further due to the attention from established publications and organizations such as Videomaker Magazine, iPitchTV, Inktip, and The Writer's Store.
"As we grow as a film festival, we are going to get a lot more large-scale productions who will be influenced by the Film Tax Credit," says Croyle.
Submissions for the 2018 Oil Valley Film Festival can be made on their website or through Freeway.
Greetings from Harrisburg and a Happy November to you all.
Last week provided a lot of activity in Harrisburg, passing numerous bills tied to the budget, culminating with the Governor signing the bills on Monday, October 30.
The revenue package provided additional funds to balance the $32 billion spending plan, relying largely on borrowing ($1.5 billion) against the state's Tobacco Settlement Fund. It also includes $300 million in special fund transfers, expanding the sales tax to online vendors, a new 12% tax on consumer fireworks, and gaming expansion.
A few very good things to take note of with the budget resolved: the application and approval process is now operational (had to wait until the budget was approved), FY 2017/2018 reflects a $65mil commitment to film tax credits (increase of $5mil pursuant to the authorization bill in 2016), and also the establishment of a new "film production tax credit district" provision.
Included in the bill (HB542, link below), the Department of Community and Economic Development will establish up to two film production tax credit districts. Districts must be at least 55 acres, located on a deteriorated property, and be occupied by a qualified business that would make a capital investment of at least $400 million within five years and contain at least one qualified production facility and six sound stages. The new credits would begin in the fiscal year 2019/20, which would begin July 1, 2019 (if budget is on time).
While the budget was 4 months delayed, the outcome is very positive for the film industry. A continued commitment by the Commonwealth to the industry is proven and there is now new framework for additional state investments in the film industry via the film production tax district provision.
Link to House Bill 542: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=PDF&sessYr=2017&sessInd=0&billBody=H&billTyp=B&billNbr=0542&pn=2598
PAFIA had the special honor of hosting "A Night with Erika Hampson", at the Cambria Suites in Downtown Pittsburgh. We had a lovvely cocktail hour prior to the event with plenty of delicious appetizers and drinks. Erika spoke to a lively crew about her rise in the industry and how she made it as a producer. The Cambria was a great venue with plenty of beautifully updated space and views of Pittsburgh.
September has come and gone, and while the seasons have changed, not much else has in Harrisburg.
On September 13th, the House passed a revenue bill that was amended after being passed by the Senate over the summer. The Senate quickly voted to not concur with House amendments, creating the stalemate that we have before us as the month ends. However, the last few days of September provided rumors of a possible budget deal becoming a reality.
The Senate informed members it would be returning to session on Monday, October 2, signaling there could be truth to that rumor. Numerous news stories have been written confirming he possibility of a deal as well.
The good news, while we wait for details of the “deal”, is that upon passage film tax credits will finally start being awarded to projects that are deciding whether to shoot in PA or elsewhere. Numerous productions have already decided to go to other states, further delays will only lead to more lost projects and job opportunities. So, as October begins and the leaves start changing colors, keep your fingers crossed that this rumor becomes reality. Until then, PaFIA continues to advocate with legislators to resolve the budget impasse which is negatively affecting the industry.
Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)461 Cochran Road, Box 246Pittsburgh, PA 15228(717) 833-4561 firstname.lastname@example.org