• Friday, March 11, 2022 11:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PA Film Industry Association Interview with Matthew Fridg

    Interview By: PAFIA Vice-Chair
    Maria Shamkalian

    Headspace Media (www.headspace.media) owner Matthew Fridg recently sat down with the PA Film Industry Association to talk about his short film, Saving Amelia (www.savingamelia.com), the process behind making the film, and plans for a future film.

    Saving Amelia is a short film in the spirit of family adventure films from the 80s and 90s, starring two sisters who must overcome their sibling rivalry after they discover a mysterious radio that can talk to the past. It was directed by Matthew Fridg, owner of Headspace media in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and features his two daughters as actors. They filmed it while locked down in April 2020, and it has gone on to screen all over the world in over 20 festivals, winning nearly 10 of them (including the Pittsburgh Shorts Fest in 2021), and has received an Emmy award.

    PA Film Industry Association: How did you come up with the idea and how did you get it going?

    Matthew Fridg: I came up with the idea when I was going down a bit of a bunny trail doing a Wikipedia search on Amelia Earhart. I came across one of the theories that she actually landed the plane on an island and was transmitting radio signals for a while until the battery in her airplane died, and there were several different speculations about how that could be true. I found another story about a young girl in the US, on the east coast, who started picking up transmissions from Amelia and wrote them down. But that just got me thinking about how it would feel to get these radio signals from someone. That kind of turned into a contemporary story about two girls who find a radio in the attic, and it's receiving these signals from Amelia. What would they do? What would happen if they actually helped her using today’s technology? What would the world be like if this great female aviator survived and went on to do great things in the world?

    PAFIA: What were some of the challenges you encountered?

    Matthew: At that time in April of 2020, we were ordered not to leave our homes for any non-essential things during the COVID-19 pandemic. We didn't have any film gear, we didn't have any crew, all we had was whatever was in our house. I had an old camera, an HD camera that was not really up to date. My girls weren't necessarily actors, so we really had to overcome all these obstacles, and then the post-production was done completely remote, right when Zoom and virtual meetings were starting to become more important.

    PAFIA: The burning question: How did you arrange the budget?

    Matthew: Well, this was pretty much a no-budget film. Really, the thing we spent the most money on was the radio and the microphone. It was important that they look old, even more so than looking like authentic. They had to look cool and interesting for an audience of my daughter's ages. At the time they were nine and eleven years old. So, we wanted that radio to really feel like it was old and from another era. Dusty, interesting and mysterious. So, we searched around a lot at auctions, homes, and all different things. We ended up finding the radio at a local antique shop, and that ended up being probably the biggest piece of our budget.

    PAFIA: What are the plans for distribution?

    Matthew: We were happy that WQED, our PBS station in Pittsburgh, aired it as part of an independent film showcase. We've gone about the film festival route and we've made it available for physical copy sales on our website (savingamelia.com). Our plans are to just continue finishing the festival run and then making it available for anybody who wants it via physical copy or online viewing.

    PAFIA: Care to share all the amazing accomplishments, awards, and selections?

    Matthew: When we put it online for all of our friends and family to watch, we had like a thousand views within the first week, and we got a lot of great feedback. So we thought, “Well, maybe we'll put it in a film festival.” We found a family-based film festival, put it in there and we were nominated for the best short film and best family film. And from there, we had great feedback. So, we decided to put it into a bunch of other film festivals and it just kept getting in. I'd say it was accepted probably by 80% of the film festivals we sent it to. And out of probably half of those, it won some sort of award or was nominated for some recognition, so that was kind of surprising. But most surprising that we won an Emmy award. I remember sitting with my wife in a restaurant watching the live stream of the Emmy Awards when Saving Amelia was announced. It was so surprising, and my wife and the girls were overjoyed, especially when we got the trophy and everything. So that was really, really exciting.

    PAFIA: Which film festivals do you recommend submitting to?

    Matthew: The Boston International Kids Film Festival and the Seattle Children's Film Festival were great for us. The directors of those festivals communicated with me, and they were highly appreciative of the movie and gave great feedback. It made a remote festival experience very personal. But it was very special to be part of the Pittsburgh Shorts Fest and win Best Local Film.

    PAFIA: Why did you choose to film in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?

    Matthew: Well, we chose to film in PA because we were locked in our house and we live in Pennsylvania! But even if we weren't, we probably would've filmed it in Pennsylvania because Pennsylvania has so many different types of locations. You have forests, cities, fields, four different seasons. It's absolutely gorgeous. In my career, I've shot all over Pennsylvania. You can get so many different looks out of it. And so long as the story can fit in Pennsylvania, I would love to continue working in PA.

    PAFIA: What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?

    Matthew: I just think that if you’re looking for that small town, classic American feel, you just can't go wrong in Pennsylvania. We have such quaint little towns, whether blue-collar towns or more touristy-type towns. We have Ligonier on one hand and then Latrobe, which has old mills in it, and we're close to Pittsburgh. I love the tree-covered hills and ridges. It’s just a beautiful place.

    PAFIA: How did you get started in the film industry?

    Matthew: I went to college for communication at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and really just spent most of my time shooting films and different things. Then, when I moved to Pittsburgh I started working on films as part of the lighting crew and just loved it. I shot my own stuff and worked for different production companies. Eventually, I realized that unless I wanted to move away and not have a family, I probably wouldn't be a director or anything immediately. So, I chose to live in Pennsylvania, raise my family, build a small marketing and video business, and do short films on the side with the intention to do more as I get more time. As my business grows, I hope to eventually raise the money to do larger projects.

    PAFIA: What do you love most about your job?

    Matthew: I own a marketing agency, and I'm working with people every day to help them solve their problems and grow their business. I love helping business people solve challenges with marketing, advertising, and business growth.

    PAFIA: What was your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story while shooting this film?

    Matthew: Well, working with my daughters was interesting because they're not actors and they're not formally trained in any way, although they were very interested in it. I was really worried that they would not want to do it, that we'd start and they would kind of fizzle out, but that wasn't the case. My one daughter, who was kind of more into acting, was great. It was my other daughter who I wasn't sure of that really surprised me. They both did a fantastic job. Anna surprised me in her ability and how sweet she was on camera, but she did not like doing multiple takes. We would do one take and she would be like, “Alright, that’s good.” Anytime I film with her in the future, I’ll have to shoot with multiple cameras, so we can get more shots in one take.

    PAFIA: Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?

    Matthew: We work with a lot of Pennsylvania-based companies, so we plan to shoot some promotional materials and tourism stuff. We do a lot of work in Pennsylvania, but the sequel to saving Amelia that we're currently writing is pretty exciting. We fictionalize the aftermath of a historical event that happened in Western Pennsylvania. It has to do with aliens, the government, and all that kind of fun stuff that every kid’s adventure movies from the 80s kind of deals with. That will definitely be filmed in Pennsylvania, as we develop that idea.

    PAFIA: PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?

    Matthew: Without the PA film tax, I never would've worked on movies. It was in 2006 that I started, and only a couple years before that, there had been some changes in the film tax. I worked with a lot of folks on movies in the 90s that filmed in Pittsburgh, like Sudden Death and Silence of the Lambs. They were very excited to get back into it. Without that film tax credit, I don't think films like that would've come back. I wouldn't have had the opportunity to work on films and grow my knowledge and love of film. I don't think Pittsburgh would be on the map as much. I don't think that the industry would've grown here. And since then, we've had tons of movies film here, and it's been really exciting. I know a lot of my friends in the industry have been able to stay in Pennsylvania and have meaningful work instead of having to move to a coast, away from their family and their hometown.

    PAFIA: What is your advice for aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?

    Matthew: I think that there's no one path to making films, and the technology is so available, especially since I used an old cruddy camera to make Saving Amelia. I never would use it on a commercial job, but it's almost like nobody cared when they saw the final product. It was the story, the performances, and the excitement of the film that drew people in, not what kind of lights I used, or the number of cranes, cameras, and lenses.

    PAFIA: What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?

    Matthew: I think one of the things I learned is everything really starts with a great story. Something that people really will connect with, and obviously good filmmaking techniques are important, the fundamentals of editing and shot structure and things like that, composition. But I think I learned that having the perfect equipment is not as important as having a great story and just doing it. Not waiting until you have everything lined up perfectly, but to just take the first step, make the film, learn from it, grow, and move to the next step.

    PAFIA: What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?

    Matthew: Honestly, my biggest aspiration is to be able to tell stories I love and do it in a way that allows me to feed my family, live where I want to live, and not have to be changing everything about me to tell stories and make films. I'm 40 now, and as I get older, I love the idea of being able to live in Western PA and being able think of and write great stories, knowing that there are people nearby because of the industry here that could help put on a production. Entering film festivals, being able to share that work on many platforms with the world and knowing that people are really seeing it, that they're happy and enjoying the work. Knowing that if it goes somewhere, if it allows me to make the next film, then it's a win. Just being able to make something that allows me to take that next step, I think is really good.

    PAFIA: What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?

    Matthew: Anybody looking to work with Headspace Media on upcoming projects, whether they're our narrative projects or commercial projects for clients can reach out to us by visiting our website, www.headspace.media. You can reach out to us through our website and let us know who you are, and what you're interested in. We'd love to connect with you on the right project.

  • Friday, February 04, 2022 12:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    January 2022 Recap

    The task of finalizing new congressional and state legislative district maps was the focus in Harrisburg for the first month of 2022. In the end, Governor Wolf vetoed the congressional redistricting proposal that was sent to his desk, House Bill 2146. The task is now up to the PA court system to finalize the state’s 17 congressional districts. Relating to the new PA House and Senate districts, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission has scheduled a vote for early February in the hopes of finalizing a reapportionment plan. It is expected that the argument over the new state maps will also end up in court. 

    Even though maps have not been finalized, several members of the House and Senate have announced that they will not seek re-election for their current position in this year’s elections. It seems like additional members are added to this list daily, but right now this is the list:

    • Rep. Tommy Sankey, R-Clearfield
    • Rep. Wendi Thomas, R-Bucks
    • Rep. Jerry Knowles, R-Schuylkill 
    • Rep. Rosemary Brown, R-Monroe
    • Rep. Frank Ryan, R-Lebanon
    • Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne 
    • Rep. Curt Sonney, R-Erie
    • Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler
    • Rep. Dave Hickernell, R-Lancaster
    • Rep. David Millard, R-Columbia
    • Rep. Michael Peifer, R-Pike 
    • Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia (running for lieutenant governor)
    • Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre (running for governor)
    • Sen. Bob Mensch, R-Montgomery

    New maps aside, there was a significant sign of bi-partisanship in Harrisburg this month as Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation (HB 253) to provide $225 million in federal aid to front-line health care workers. The measure was supported by legislators from both sides of the aisle. The purpose of the legislation is to ensure that resources go to health care workers assisting patients throughout the pandemic. Hospitals will determine how to divvy up the dollars among workers, but lawmakers said the state will be monitoring how the funds are used to ensure that funds go to health care workers.

    Looking ahead to February, Governor Wolf will present his 8th and final budget proposal to the PA Legislature on Tuesday, February 8. With an $8 billion revenue surplus, the financial outlook for the Commonwealth looks solid. However, most of those excess dollars do come from one-time federal funding that hasn’t yet been allocated for spending by PA elected officials. While it is anticipated that Governor Wolf will request additional funding for education, the full scope of his spending plan will not be announced until his budget address.

    Since the Entertainment Production Tax Credit is off budget and not including in spending packages, we don’t expect Governor Wolf to mention the film tax credit or any other tax credit for that matter. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will begin their budget hearings in mid-February. Those hearings run through mid-March. The PA Department of Community and Economic Development, which has oversight of the film tax credit, is scheduled to be in front of the House Appropriations Committee on February 17th and will be with the Senate Appropriations Committee on March 1.

    We will be able to finalize PAFIA’s legislative outreach and budget strategy after budget hearings have ended. We look forward to your future engagement on this very important issue.

  • Wednesday, December 15, 2021 12:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PAFIA Year End Wrap-Up

    As 2021 comes to a close, I would like to start off by thanking all of our loyal and dedicated PAFIA members for supporting our organization. We started 2021 strong by working with the newly formed bi-partisan Film Caucus, led by Senators Camera Bartolotta (R) and Jay Costa (D) and House Members Joe Ciresi (D) and Kathleen "KC" Tomlinson (R). 

    PAFIA partnered with the chairs of the Film Caucus and set the following goals for 2021: 

    1. Rebrand the Film Tax Credit to now be identified as the Film Industry Incentive 
    2. Meet with Senators and House Members via Zoom to educate them on the benefits of the Film Industry in Pennsylvania 
    3. Increase the Film Industry Incentive from $75 million to $125 million 

    We were successful in our efforts to rebrand the Film Industry Incentive, and we developed a great infographic to share the benefits of the Film Industry Incentive in Pennsylvania. 

    PAFIA was also successful in meeting individually with 20+ Senators and House Members via Zoom to educate them about the wide-reaching economic benefits of film production. Several of the PAFIA Board Members participated in these calls and shared personal testimonies to how their livelihood depends on expanding the Film Industry Incentive in Pennsylvania. 

    On Tuesday, May 25th, The Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA) hosted a legislative reception in Harrisburg with the same goal of educating elected officials about the wide-reaching economic benefits of film production. Co-hosted by the four Film Caucus chairs: Senator Camera Bartolotta, Senator Jay Costa, Representative Joe Ciresi, and Representative Kathleen "KC" Tomlinson. The event was well attended with over 65 legislators and legislative staff who participated.

    Despite our efforts, the Film Industry Incentive increase was not included in the budget, and remains at $75 million. I consider this a major loss for the Film Industry in Pennsylvania, and our focus remains on the future and how we can adjust our goals to move the needle forward. 

    Looking Ahead

    While I am very disappointed that we were unsuccessful in our efforts increase the Incentive to $125 Million in 2021, PAFIA is taking proactive steps to continue our work in Harrisburg. With the help of our lobbyists at Cozen O'Connor, Jim Davis and Beth Brennan, I, David Haddad, traveled with my assistant Maeve Palmieri to meet with the four Film Caucus chairs on November 8th. During this meeting, we discussed what we need to do, how we can move forward, anticipations for who will run for Governor this year, the Budget in January, and most importantly, how we can strategize moving the needle forward to increase the Film Industry Incentive to $125 million. 

    There are a few ways that I would encourage you to become an active participant in the fight to expand the Film Industry Incentive. 

    1. Write the check. Without PAFIA, there is NO voice in Harrisburg advocating for the Film Industry Incentive. Whether it is $50 or $500, we are asking that you consider donating to PAFIA by joining as a member, or simply donating on the website. 

    Become a PAFIA Member

    Make a Donation to PAFIA

    2. Donate to the local politicians that you support. I, David Haddad, have personally donated $500 to each of the Film Caucus chairs with my own money. The Film Community does not generally have a reputation for donating to politicians, and your presence, even small, would be helpful in our fight to increase the Incentive to $125 million. Given the time and significant commitment the four Film Caucus chairs have devoted to the Film Industry Incentive, I encourage you to donate to their campaigns, even just $5, $10, $20. A donation to any legislator can easily be done online. 

    3. Post on Social Media. Share positive stories of working in Film in Pennsylvania. PAFIA makes an effort to share photos from sets all over the state and tag the local legislators to show that the film community is WORKING. Please like, share, and comment on these posts to get the attention of the legislators. 

    These are small ways that you can do your part. In return, we promise to keep our presence in Harrisburg strong as an advocate for the Film workers in Pennsylvania. 

    In Closing

    I would be remiss if PAFIA did not acknowledge our partners at the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Film Offices with Commissioners Sharon Pinkenson and Dawn Keezer. These offices work tirelessly as the concierge for film jobs in Pennsylvania and there are productions knocking at our doors due to their stellar work in the film industry. I would also like to acknowledge the work that is being done in the film offices in Central PA, Northwestern PA, The Poconos, and Upstate Pennsylvania. Our hope is to grow the film communities in this area to show a strong presence in the state as a whole. 

    Thank you to the 23 volunteers on the PAFIA Board from all around the state who give their time and money to this organization. We are always looking to expand our Board with people who can give the organization time, prestige and money to keep us strong and active in Harrisburg. 

    Finally, thank you to the 815 active PAFIA Members who have renewed their membership in 2021. Out of the 815 active members, 618 of those members are from our generous Sponsors and Corporate members who have donated between $500-$10,000. Their websites and logos are linked on the PAFIA website, please check them out. 

    Meet Our Sponsors

    Meet Our Corporate Members

    Our goal is to grow the membership to 1,500 members in 2022 to show the legislators that the Film Industry is strong! Please invite colleagues, friends, and family to join PAFIA to help us reach this goal.

    Our ask to our PAFIA network is simple: DONATE to PAFIA, JOIN the organization & SHARE your story on social media. 

    I hope that you and your families have a safe and wonderful holiday season. 

    David Haddad
    Chairman, The Pennsylvania Film Industry Association 

  • Thursday, November 04, 2021 9:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    October Monthly Recap

    Both the PA House and Senate had two weeks of legislative session this month. While the 2021 legislative session is winding down, the politics heading into next year’s elections are starting to heat up. On October 13, PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced his long-expected candidacy for PA governor. In contrast to the crowded open US Senate seat race that will be on next year’s ballot, Shapiro does not expect another prominent Democrat to enter the gubernatorial race. On the Republican side, rumors that PA Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman will announce his candidacy for governor continue to grow with many expecting his announcement to come sometime in November. The Republicans already have a crowded field for the gubernatorial primary and Corman joining that race could certain thin the field.

    Some of the bigger policy discussions this month include:

    Wolf Administration Announces Vaccination Rates by Legislative District - The PA Department of Health released data showing vaccination rates by legislative district. According to the Wolf Administration, the overwhelming majority of the COVID-19 related cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in Pennsylvania occurred in people who were not vaccinated. The state’s data doesn’t include Philadelphia. You can view the map here.

    - RACP Deadline Extended - The Wolf Administration will extend a window to accept new Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) applications. The window opened on Monday, October 18, 2021 and will close on Monday, November 1, 2021.

    -  Lobbyist Reform Measures Advance – The PA House State Government Committee favorably reported out several pieces of legislation that would make various changes to the 2006 lobbyist disclosure law including, require lobbyists to register any clients seeking state financial assistance or grants and file quarterly reports disclosing if they hold any equity in an entity they are lobbying for; prohibit a state agency or entity from hiring an outside lobbyist or political consultant to lobby any branch of government; prevent lobbyists from also being registered as political consultants; and require all lobbyists to complete mandatory ethics training developed by the state department.

    -  Criminal Justice Reform Measures Move in Senate - The PA Senate Judiciary Committee approved changes to the state’s probation system as part of a broader package of bills aimed at reforming the criminal justice system. SB 913, sponsored by Senator Lisa Baker (R), streamlines the probation review process and sets realistic guidelines for when a significant parole violation would lead to a return prison stay. The bill will ensure that minor violations don’t become a probation-to-prison revolving door. 

    Looking ahead, the PA Legislature is closing in on the end of the first year of a two-year legislative session. This means that all bills from 2021 will carry over “as-is” into 2022. But time is running out for movement to occur on the bill in 2021 as there are only 6 session days planned for the Senate and 9 session days planned for the House between now and the end of the calendar year.

    In film specific news, PAFIA President David Haddad will be coming to Harrisburg in on November 8th and 9th to meet with the four Film Caucus Chairs to discuss strategy for the remainder of 2021 and budget goals for 2022. We are looking forward to an engaging conversation with some of the Entertainment Production Tax Credit’s most ardent supporters. 

    On Monday, October 25, Philadelphia City Council’s Committee on Commerce and Economic Development held a public hearing about the economic benefits of the film industry in the City of Philadelphia. Held at the request of Councilperson Katherine Gilmore Richardson topics discussed included:

    • funding support from the City of Philadelphia for a dedicated film office.
    • the need for local film incentives and the enhancement of statewide film incentives.
    • the cultural and tourism benefits associated with filming in Philadelphia.
    • the importance of keeping the economic engine that is the Philadelphia film and production industry.

  • Friday, October 01, 2021 1:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    September 2021 Recap

    Summer is officially over as the PA House and Senate returned to Harrisburg for legislative session after the Labor Day holiday. The House was in session for 7 days while the Senate had 6 voting sessions.

    The month of September started on a positive note as the PA Department of Revenue released August 2021 collections announcing that revenues were ahead of estimates. Fiscal year to date General Fund collections total $5.3 billion, which is $132.4 million or 2.6 percent, above estimate. More on the department’s collection can be found here

    In COVID-19 related news, PA Auditor General Timothy DeFoor released a performance audit examining how the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) handled a process to grant waivers to businesses seeking to stay open during an emergency shutdown ordered by Gov. Tom Wolf at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. At that time, Gov. Wolf ordered businesses not categorized as “life-sustaining” to close their locations to help slow the spread of COVID-19 as part of an emergency declaration. The audit recommends additional consultation to determine the definition of “life-sustaining,” among other issues. The recommendations are based on findings that DCED posted five different versions of the waiver application and changed guidance on what is “life sustaining” nine times while a document with frequently asked questions was revised 14 times, according to DeFoor.

    More than 42,000 businesses sought a waiver from the governor’s closure order during spring 2020. DCED granted more than 7,000 waivers. A link to the audit can be found here.

    For industry specific news, we continue our advocacy in support of the film industry and increased funding for the entertainment production tax credit. We will be gathering the Film Caucus chairs together soon to discuss strategy for the remainder of the current fiscal year which ends June 30, 2022. We will also discuss strategy as we look ahead to the Governor’s FY 2022-23 budget proposal and the budget negotiations that follow.

    Philadelphia City Council’s Committee on Commerce & Economic Development had announced a public hearing on Wednesday, October 6 at 2pm. This hearing has since been postponed to a later date. The committee was to hear testimony on Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson’s Resolution 210643. The resolution calls for hearings to discuss the economic impact of the film industry in Philadelphia. A link to the resolution can be found here. We will keep you posted when a new date for the hearing is announced.


  • Wednesday, September 01, 2021 1:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PAFIA – August Report

    The Covid-19 health pandemic and inquiries into the November 2020 general election remain hot topics in Harrisburg, even while the PA Legislature is in summer recess. The PA House and Senate return to session in mid and late September and we will keep you posted on the policy priorities of all four caucuses. Please let us know if you need any assistance in outreach to your local House or Senate member. The best time to introduce yourself is when there is no session and members are home in their district offices.

    In non-Covid-19 or 2020 election news, Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) ordered a special election to coincide with Pennsylvania’s municipal general election on November 2, to fill the vacant seat in the 164th Legislative District in Delaware County. The seat was vacated when Margo Davidson (D-Delaware) resigned after charges of theft and election code violations were filed against her.

    Also, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) announced an initiative to make all Senate expenses available to the public online beginning on September 1. This includes all office leases, per diems, reimbursements for meals and lodging, supplies, mileage, office maintenance and much more. The information will be available on a new webpage, which will be updated monthly by the Chief Clerk and will apply to all Senate offices — Republican, Democrat, Independent and institutional.

  • Tuesday, August 03, 2021 11:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Since the PA Legislature and Governor finalized a Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget before the June 30th deadline, July was a relatively quiet month in Harrisburg. Even with the PA House and Senate being out of voting session until mid-September, there has been some high profile policy discussions playing out in the press. For instance, you have probably heard or read about the following issues: Pennsylvania joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, PA Senator Doug Mastriano’s (R-Franklin County) push for an audit of the 2020 General Election and the PA Transportation Revenue Options Commission’s proposal of additional fees and taxes to close an $8 billion funding gap to pay for infrastructure projects across the state. While unrelated to the Entertainment Production Tax Credit, the back and forth between elected officials is something to keep an eye on.

    During the summer months when the General Assembly is out of voting session, we continue to encourage PAFIA members to meet with their local legislators and drive home the importance of the Entertainment Production Tax Credit. We suggest highlighting the impact the film and television industries have on your business and employees. Hearing the voices of constituents is always an important factor when a legislator is making a critical decision in Harrisburg. Please let us know if PAFIA or Cozen teams can help with that local outreach.

  • Friday, July 16, 2021 4:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA) calls the Happy Rooster “home” in Philadelphia. Prior to the pandemic, the Happy Rooster owner, Debbie Jordan, welcomed PAFIA every month for an open networking night for local filmmakers. Since the state started to re-open in recent weeks, it was a top priority for The Happy Rooster and PAFIA to host a much needed in-person networking event. The PAFIA Networking Night was held on Thursday, July 8th, 2021.

    The event was well attended, with over 75 people gathering in the outdoor space at The Happy Rooster. PAFIA was honored that New Liberty Distillery and Evil Genius set up tastings for PAFIA members at the event. The association was also honored that 10 companies generously donated items to the raffle. PAFIA would like to recognize the following individuals and companies for their generosity: Rescue Spa, Crew Me Up, United by Blue, Maagnifique Photography, Baby Blues BBQ, Stephanie Algayer, Tuna Bar, Executive Producer Patrick Markey, She’s Crafty Traveling Cocktail Bar, and Bose Headphones.

    PAFIA Board Members David Haddad, Ken Myers, Darius Tuller, and Joshua Friedman were in attendance and recruited 17 new PAFIA members. PAFIA is thrilled to welcome new members to show our legislators that the support for the Pennsylvania Film Industry Incentive is only growing stronger.

    If you missed the event, be sure that you keep an eye on the PAFIA website and social media for an announcement for our next event at the end of August (exact date TBA).

    Thank you to everyone who attended and continue to support the Pennsylvania Film Industry Association. 

  • Thursday, July 01, 2021 4:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Late Friday, June 25, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed a $40.8 billion budget. Governor Wolf has stated that he will sign the budget bill, and accompanying budget code bills, before the end of the current fiscal year (which ends on June 30).

    Unfortunately, the budget did not provide for an increase to the $70 million Film Production Tax Credit program. Senator Camera Bartolotta publicly expressed her disappointment with the budget outcome in a Post-Gazette article found here.

    However, there was language added to the film tax credit program that gives special consideration to “multifilm” production, which is a series of separate and distinct films produced by the same taxpayer over a period of no less than one year and no more than four years from the time application. If an individual film include in a multifilm application is cancelled, the tax credit may be reissued to another applicant only after the Department of Community and Economic Development allows the taxpayer 90 days to apply for an alternative individual film. Senator Wayne Fontana said in a recent press release that the new changes are helpful, but a larger tax credit would mean more jobs and economic spin off.

    Some of you may be discouraged that the limit for the film tax credit program was not increased but please remember that there has been tremendous growth in support for the film tax credit within the legislature this year – even during a pandemic. Film caucus leaders advocated both publicly and privately in support of our cause and their efforts, along with yours, have not gone unnoticed. We encourage PAFIA members to continue to engage with legislators regarding the importance of increasing funding for the film tax credit. Whether is it meeting with legislators one on one in their district offices, inviting them onto sets, or posting on social media how the film industry is thriving in PA, please do not stop having conversations with elected officials. We can use this opportunity to grow our collective voices even more.

    With the passage of the state budget, the PA Legislature has started their summer recess. This is an opportunity for members to spend some time in their districts and to work on issues in preparation for returning to session in the fall. Unless sooner recalled by their respective chambers, the PA Senate will return to session on Monday, September 20 and the PA House will return to session on Monday, September 27. 

    More information on the budget

    Earlier this year, Pennsylvania was allocated $7 billion in funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) which had gone unspent until this budget. Of those dollars, $4 billion will go towards balancing this year’s budget and more than $2 billion has been set aside for the Commonwealth’s rainy day fund. All in, factoring in offline spending through federal CARES Act funds and American Rescue Plan funds, the FY 2021-22 budget grew just 2.6% over the current 2020-21 budget.

    Highlights of the General Fund Budget

    SB 255 – Appropriations Bill

    An additional $416 million in education funding - the largest single-year education funding increase in state history:

    • $200 million increase to the fair funding formula, for a total of nearly $900 million
    • $100 million for Level Up, a new initiative providing more equitable funding to the 100 most underfunded districts and the students they serve
    • $20 million for Ready to Learn
    • $50 million increase for special education
    • $30 million increase for early education, including $25 million to expand Pre-K Counts and $5 million to expand Head Start
    • $11 million for preschool Early Intervention
    • $40 million increase for the Education Improvement Tax Credit
    • Nearly $5 million for community colleges
    • Provides for the investment of ARP funding for a variety of Covid-19 relief assistance and recovery programs:
    • $350 million for schools to address learning loss and provide summer enrichment and after school programs to help students with academic, social, emotional and mental health needs
    • $50 million for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to support the redesign and growth of the system 
    • $450 million for rental assistance
    • $350 million for homeowner mortgage assistance
    • $36 million to help pay water bills
    • $282 million to help nursing homes and long-term care facilities to recover from the pandemic and improve patient safety
    The budget also provides for $30 million in new state dollars for violence intervention and prevention by local communities and local organizations. 
    • Passed the House on 6/25 by a vote of 140-61
    • Passed the Senate on 6/25 by a vote of 43-7
    • Link to fiscal note can be found here
    • Link to line item budget tracking can be found here

    Highlights from each code bill

    HB 1348 – Fiscal Code

    • Establishes the Angel Investment Venture Capital Program
    • Establishes a two-year pilot program for e-scooters in the City of Pittsburgh
    • Established the Opioid Settlement Fund for any monies received from litigation or settlements
    • Deposits 100% of any General Fund Surplus for FY 202/2021 into the Rainy Day Fund
    • Provides for Level Up in Basic Education
    • Provides payments for fairs that had to cancel in 202 0 due to COVID-19
    • Passed the Senate on 6/25 by a vote of 42-8
    • Passed the House on 6/25 by a vote of 168-33
    • Link to fiscal note can be found here

    HB 952 – Tax reform Code

    • Provides for a sales and use tax exemption for the sale at retail or use of computer data center equipment for installation in a computer data center. Eligible criteria was defined.
    • Specific change to the Bank Shares Tax relating to mergers, pertaining to apportionment of income from another state.
    • Increases the accountability of tax credit and tax benefit programs, including a tax credit broker registration requirement. These reforms are based on recommendations from a 2019 grand jury investigation.
    • A change to the definitions in the film tax credit; creating a new definition for “multifilm”.
    • Local Resource Manufacturing Tax Credit Change (Act 66); changes the law from four taxpayers to two and eliminating the per project cap of $6.25 million per taxpayer.
    • Passed the Senate on 6/25 by a vote of 46-4
    • Passed the House on 6/25 by a vote of 170-31
    • Link to fiscal note can be found here.

    HB 336 – Administrative Code

    • Establishes an audit of the judicial computer system with a report due to the General Assembly by January 31, 2022
    • Establishes a process for constitutional amendment questions to be circulated 14 days prior to publication
    • Requires registered lobbyists to report any equity holding in an entity in which they are lobbying on behalf of beginning July 30, 2022
    • Requires the Attorney General to defend certain claims against the Commonwealth
    • Creates a new Department of Environmental Protection permit for the temporary storage and transfer of beneficial reuse of oil and gas waster (water recycling)
    • Permits the Auditor General to audit a municipal authority and to make recommendations for improvement
    • Repeals the Department of Labor and Industry’s overtime regulation
    • Passed the Senate on 6/25 by a vote of 28-22
    • Passed the House on 6/25 by a vote of 112-89
    • Link to fiscal note can be found here

    SB 381 – School Code

    • Passed the House on 6/25 by a vote of 154-47
    • Passed the Senate on 6/25 by a vote of 40-10
    •  Link to fiscal note can be found here
  • Monday, June 07, 2021 12:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Head to our Facebook Page to view more photos from the event! 

    On Tuesday, May 25th, The Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA) hosted a legislative reception in Harrisburg to educate elected officials about the wide-reaching economic benefits of film production. Co-hosted by the four Film Caucus chairs: Senator Camera Bartolotta, Senator Jay Costa, Representative Joe Ciresi, and Representative Kathleen "KC" Tomlinson. The event was well attended with over 65 legislators and legislative staff who participated.

    Both the House and the Senate have introduced identical legislation HB 1432 and SB 321, respectively, renaming the film production tax credit program as the “Film Industry Incentive”. Both bills included a recommendation to increase the level of state assistance for the program from its current $70 million amount to $125 million.

    PAFIA Chair, David Haddad, along with PAFIA Board Members Ken Myers, Amy Sotereanos, Max Zug, and association members Mike McCann and Angelo Sotereanos attended to share their personal stories of how the Film Industry Incentive positively effects their livelihoods. David Haddad started PAFIA in 2009 as the first trade association in the United States that educates legislators on the economic benefits of the Film Industry. “This event,” Haddad states, “is 12 years in the making. To see over 65 legislators and legislative staff on both sides of the aisle come together to learn about the benefits of the film industry is a win for our industry.”

    The PAFIA Board was thrilled to have the backing of the four Film Caucus Chairs who gave a speech to the legislators and staff in attendance. (watch the full speech here.)

    Senator Bartolotta passionately began her speech by stating, “We are here to spread the word about all of the incredible economic benefits of the film industry in Pennsylvania. We have been turning away hundreds of millions of dollars of capital investment that is low hanging fruit, ready for the picking, just pounding on our doors to come into Pennsylvania.”

    Senator Costa points out the bi-partisan nature of HB 1432 and SB 321 by indicating the room was full of “a lot of Democrats, Republicans, House Members, and Senate Members.”

    House Representative Tomlinson thanked the audience and noted that the increase to the film industry incentive will competitively position Pennsylvania for film work with our neighboring states. Tomlinson declared, “this is money that should be in Pennsylvania’s pockets.”

    House Representative Ciresi finishes the group speech by pumping up the crowd and saying “We have the opportunity to make Pennsylvania the East Coast of what California is, we have the opportunity to make sure that we become the place where people want to come to make a movie.” He continued, “If we are serious about creating great jobs and improving our economy after COVID, this is the moment.”

    The $50 million dollar increase to the Film Industry Incentive the House and Senate are proposing would translate to bringing 15-20 more productions to Pennsylvania. This increase would also provide more jobs for thousands of Pennsylvania workers, and inject millions of dollars directly into our local economy. The increase would be a major win for the state. The Pennsylvania Film Industry Association is grateful to the Film Caucus Chairs for their efforts, as well as the PAFIA Board Members and members of the association who have dedicated time to educate the legislators at this event and beyond.

Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)
461 Cochran Road, Box 246
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
(717) 833-4561  info@pafia.org

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