The news is blazing and I’m having trouble keeping up:
Florida Seeks $20M Lost In Digital Domain Debacle:
A visual effects studio that once planned to compete with the rest of Hollywood by using college students paying them tuition to work on films, is already facing bankruptcy. But now it has the ire of Florida state officials who are demanding they get the $20 million they invested in the company to move to the state back.
New Zealand a star paying to act in a supporting role:
This week NZ First leader Winston Peters called for subsidies to be repaid if the films we help fund turn into blockbusters. Mr Peters is not alone in the call. Overseas there has been a mounting backlash against state aid for Hollywood.
Nations compete for Babylon’s favours, the critics say, in a ruinous “race to the bottom”.
Hollywood wins from the bidding war between countries, but everyone else loses.
New Zealand government grilled for tenuous Hobbit job claim after $NZ67m subsidy:
The New Zealand government’s claim that The Hobbit films would create 3000 jobs was initially made by Peter Jackson’s production company and never independently verified, according to documents obtained by the NZ First party.
Last year, the province spent $219 million on the industry’s “tax credits,” and this year the number is expected to hit $325 million.
But the subsidy race to the bottom is a mug’s game. The industry was worth about $1.2 billion to the economy in 2011. Last year, the provincial subsidy was $220 million. Some 25,000 people work in the industry, so the subsidy works out to $8,800 per job.
A single parent in Saanich might well wonder why his or her tax dollars are going to support a profitable film company.
So if you want to get literally hundreds of millions of tax dollars to subsidize your already highly profitable $1.2 billion industry, just send a few movie stars and producers up to British Columbia, smile sweetly about how you love the place and then threaten to leave.
Works every time.
Because state film programs and the projects they supposedly attract get massive public attention, they have become a well-scrutinized form of corporate subsidy where it’s simply impossible to ignore how the companies involved are playing states against each other with zero interest in any ongoing commitment. But as with most corporate subsidies, there’s a mutual exploitation at work between companies pocketing entirely unnecessary taxpayer concessions and pols getting to play an unmerited role as “job creators.”