Hawaii Film Blog

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Local Film Industry Says Film Bill Good (Go Figure)

The Hawaii Film & Entertainment Board, a consortium of local film labor nion leaders, state and county film commissioners, and local production crew members wrote a letter to the editor at the Honolulu Advertiser in response to Sean Hao's Sunday article on the local film industry, "Lights, camera, competition." Here's an excerpt of it:


As the major proponent of Senate Bill 2570, the Hawaii Film and Entertainment Board has these comments regarding Sean Hao's report Sunday on incentives for the film industry.

The local film industry has spent years informing and educating our decision-makers and leaders about the complex business of film, its benefits to us as a state, and what is needed to take it to the next level. It is with this deep understanding that government officials are basing their decision to support the measure this session.

As Hawai'i taxpayers, HFEB members strongly support SB2570 because we believe the bill is sound, fiscally responsible legislation. It pays only on actual dollars spent, limits the amount production can receive, eliminates double-dipping, and will likely save the state an estimated $5 million annually through a more cost-effective incentive while providing the necessary tools to aggressively compete globally, and through this, ultimately grow our local film industry as other culturally rich regions have done.

SB2570 would allow Hawai'i to shift its incentive focus and the majority of production claiming credits to a national standard based on business certainty that has proven to be wildly successful at generating new productions in the region. It would also be about 50 percent more cost-effective for us as taxpayers.

This bill is based on a formula that balances how much the state is paying out versus how much it is collecting. On-location filming and the support businesses it generates are aggressively pursued globally because of the significant economic development it encourages.

For Hawai'i, it is even more attractive given the dynamic synergy it brings to tourism and the opportunity to develop an environmentally friendly type of manufacturing.

Film production is a labor-intensive industry that values natural beauty and utilizes existing visitor industry infrastructure — in other words, it is a perfect fit for Hawai'i as we diversify and expand our economy.

The industry creates meaningful, skilled, high-paying jobs.

Just as a steady flow of visitors is necessary for our tourist industry to thrive, a steady flow of production is needed for film industry to develop. The passage of this bill would keep workers and local businesses that provide services, equipment and facilities to the industry continually working.

A large part of our industry has been in the business for 20 to 30 years. This breadth and depth of knowledge is what we are trying to harness to take our industry from a cyclical one to a more constant one that allows our local filmmakers to thrive.

A critical mass of production is needed to make it cost-effective for private industry to invest in developing Hawai'i's film infrastructure.

We were starting to achieve critical mass in 2004, but the incentives we had to offer proved to be inappropriate for many, too difficult to access for most and rife with business uncertainty.

There was steady growth in our local industry until the late 1990s, when dramatic shifts in the business took place. As business people and economic development specialists, we know that we must review, analyze and change as trends in the industry fluctuate or we will go the way of the Wang computer. SB2570 addresses these macro film industry trends and allows Hawai'i to make the necessary course corrections to keep us moving toward our goals.

Brenda Ching
Chairwoman, Hawaii Film and Entertainment Board

>> Hao on Film Industry
>> Film Bill Conference to Reconvene Again
>> Press Massacres Hawaii's Film Tax Credits Again
>> From Your Mouth to the Legislature's Ears
>> More Film Tax Incentive Success Stories
>> Everyone Else Is Doing It...
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