This Monday I’ll be launching the crowdfunding campaign to end VFX subsidies. The timing is coincidentally quite good given a fair number of articles on the subsidy issue in the mainstream media.
The NY Times did a series of articles with lots of data covering subsidies in the United States. The final piece covers the subsidy race in the film industry with the focus on Michigan and New York. FilmworksLA’s Adrian Macdonald is featured in the video piece as one of the interviewees.
Bloomberg published a piece by Joe Karaganis called “Kill the Hobbit Subsidies to Save Regular Earth” which points out the enormous sacrifices New Zealand is making for the film industry:
How much taxpayer money can Warner Bros. demand from the government of New Zealand to keep production there (rather than, say, in Australia or the Czech Republic)? That answer turns out to be about $120 million, plus the revision of New Zealand’s labor laws to forbid collective bargaining among film-production contractors, plus the passage of three-strikes Internet-disconnection laws for online copyright infringement, plus enthusiastic and, it turns out, illegal cooperation in the shutdown of the pirate-friendly digital storage site Megaupload and the arrest of its owner, Kim Dotcom.
Joe Karaganis has more on his site which gives this blog an honorable mention.
The Huffington Post has an article on the issue too:
The state tax credits for film production are pure lunacy from a policy perspective. For those not familiar with this boondoggle, it is basically the states pandering after film production by handing out free money to anyone that will produce a film in their state, although the cost is always kept off the expenditure ledger through the back door of tax credits. But a tax credit is no less an expenditure than a direct payment of hard cash.
Last July I was able to submit my concerns to the European Commission as they sought public consultation in an effort to potentially limit subsidies in Europe. Their proposal which was met with protest was pushed to next quarter:
Big-budget Hollywood productions are being targeted by the EC, which has blamed them for fueling the subsidy race and grabbing a large share of coin. “As the amounts of aid for major international productions can be very high, the Commission will (…) ensure that competition takes place primarily on the basis of quality and price, rather than on the basis of state aid,” stated the EC in its latest draft of the Cinema Communication.
Meanwhile the UK and Ireland are speeding up on subsidies. Just to give you an example of how absurd the “cultural test” films need to pass to get the UK subsidy, a recent report revealed Captain America, which was made by a US studio, was able to be classified as a British Film so it could take advantage of $USD 30 million in subsidies.
In Canada, Marky Mark of the so-called Funky Bunch is begging the Canadian government to keep giving him free money.