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.
By Dave Ferrier
Photos by Enoch Purnell
The latest Pennsylvania Film Industry Association event, hosted at Zee Bar, The Spring Garden Social Club, attracted over 150 actors filmmakers, directors, producers and other industry professionals who support film work in Pennsylvania. Attendees enjoyed the complimentary appetizers, drink specials, and inviting ambiance of the venue which served as one of the settings in the award-winning Philadelphia-based film Equity.
The featured speaker of the evening was Marc Bienstock, producer of the movie Split, who is currently working in the Philadelphia area with M. Night Shyamalan on producing Glass - the sequel to his thriller Unbreakable. The audience was invited to submit questions for Marc to answer. Several questions focused around how to get a film seen or distributed. "Put your shorts or trailers on YouTube and develop a following," Marc advised. Marc accentuated the importance of getting the work seen, whether that is through film festivals, YouTube, or other channels. He also mentioned that it was essential to have patience and to not take things in the business personally. The Chair of PAFIA, David Haddad, chimed in with some qualities that Marc embodies and those needed in a good producer. "You have to be brilliant, an amazing negotiator, and easy on the eyes."
Marc continued to give more valuable advice during the question and answer session. "You need to have a relationship with local casting directors and agents." Three casting agents were present at the event for attendees to network with: Diane Heery from Heery Loftus Casting, Melanie Forchetti from Mike Lemon Casting, and Kimberly Skyrme from Kymberly Skyrme Casting.
In addition to the Q&A, the event had giveaways, prizes, discounted headshots by Michael E Pearson - The Foto Wizard, and networking opportunities. A significant number of people signed up for PAFIA membership while current members volunteered to serve on various committees.
The event was hosted by Pennsylvania Film Industry Association and sponsored by Expressway Cinema Rentals. Sponsors for the raffle prizes included: Eka Dance Academy, Philadelphia Acting Studio, Fright Factory Haunted Attraction, and David J Witchell Salon.
Pafia’s Fall Social was held on Friday, September 8 at Pirata in Downtown Pittsburgh. The event was standing room only as members from all parts of the industry were present. We were excited to have Lisa Smith Reed from the film office join us and talk about the Pittsburgh Film Office’s Oscar Party. Donna Belajac of Donna Belajac Casting and Nancy Mosser of Mosser casting were both in attendance. Many new faces were present as David Haddad discusses the current state of the Budget and the importance of contacting our legislators. The food and drinks at pirata were delicious and the staff was amazing. Definitely a place that the local Film Industry supports.
In June, the House and Senate passed a $32 billion spending plan. In late July the Senate passed a revenue bill to fund that spending plan. The new revenue package would generate $530 million from new taxes, including $200 million from expanded gaming, as well as natural gas severance tax. Additionally, the Senate approved $1.3 billion in borrowing against future tobacco settlement payments.
As reported last month, the House was not part of negotiations that yielded this Senate product. Uncertainty remains with respect to what path forward the House chooses to take - approve the Senate plan, identify a new plan, cut funds or programs on the spending side, or a combination of all. Significant differences remain between the House, Senate, and Governor. Without a finalized budget, the film tax credit program and final approvals of applications are in a holding pattern. I am optimistic that September will yield a final resolution and projects will be able to commence shooting.
Thank you again for any advocacy you have provided to your State Senator or Representative. Please continue to encourage your elected officials to finish what has been started.
Pittsburgh, PA August 11, 2017- Film activity in Pennsylvania is hotter than ever. With TV series like Gone, and Escape at Dannemora currently under production. PAFIA, the Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA) serves as the advocate for all things film throughout the Commonwealth, is pleased to announce the expansion of its Board of Directors.
Based on increasing activity and heavy interest in supporting the PA Film Tax Credit, PAFIA has appointed new leaders and rising stars various areas of film: independent film makers, writers, crew, production coordinators, casting directors, and more. New to the Board are bright, young movers and shakers: Chris Kellet, Owner of Sync Speed, Inc., Erica Sperber, APOC Travel Coordinator, Katie Shenot from Nancy Mosser Casting, and Paula Gregg, Studio Mechanics Local 489 Craft Services. These members will be instrumental in influencing our membership rolls, fundraising efforts, and most importantly, working toward maintaining and expanding the incentive afforded to those companies interested in filming in Pennsylvania through support of the PA Film Tax Credit.
PAFIA is a statewide community of everyone who’s anyone involved in film and fosters a network of crew members who share a common interest of bringing movies, television, and commercials to Pennsylvania. It provides complimentary educational and networking events for its members in regions such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and with the Board expansion, PAFIA will have a targeted presence and event offerings in both Lancaster and Erie.
One main objective for PAFIA is to interact and educate the continuation and expansion of the current PA Film Tax Credit, which currently stands at $60 million. The organizations second biggest key area of focus is in the Independent Film community. PAFIAs aim is to foster growth within the indie community by providing a pathway to future larger endeavors; and it all starts with the PAFIA network. PAFIA will continue to vigorously engage the dynamos of the indie film community to participate in PAFIA in order to help grow indie film work in the state as well as grow PAFIA. This tax credit provides a financial incentive to studios and directors who are seeking filming locations. This tax credit means that you are seeing sites and cities around Pennsylvania in film and television as opposed to locations in other states and countries. Promotion of the film credit advances the objective of PAFIA to keep film work in Pennsylvania, thus keeping those workers in our state employed, and to have our diverse cities, towns, and landmarks shown to the world on big, small, and independent screens.
For the latest set photos from movies filmed in Pennsylvania, information about PAFIA’s mission, our new Board members, and the PA Film Tax Credit, visit www.PAFIA.org or call headquarters at 1-717-83FILM-1.
For additional information, contact PAFIA Headquarters at email@example.com
Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)461 Cochran Road, Box 246Pittsburgh, PA 15228(717) 833-4561 firstname.lastname@example.org