SF Supes Approve New Film Rebate Schedule

In a bit of good news for filmmakers trying to shoot projects in San Francisco, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors today approved a major change to the rebate structure so that film projects can get up to $600,000 in tax rebates as opposed to the $100,000 maximum previously allowed (which Milk received). These sums represent taxes and fees that City Hall is forgoing. Here’s an article on Examiner.com that explains why this is a good idea despite the budget shortfall. The short version is that city rebates encourage filmmakers and TV producers to bring their productions to San Francisco, which stimulates the local economy. City Hall’s own Office of the Budget Analyst estimates that Milk — a $22 million production constrained to shoot on location for obvious reasons — brought $4.8 million in business to San Francisco.

Last summer, I talked to a number of independent filmmakers (and Graham Leggat, the executive director of the San Francisco Film Society) for an article that was never published about making films in San Francisco, and this was one issue that kept coming up in my interviews: the rebates just weren’t high enough to encourage production in the city. Perhaps this legislation will go some way towards helping that problem. As it happens, I have interviewed the creators of Harrison Montgomery (one of the films cited in the Examiner article), and while neither one mentioned rebates per se, I can assure you that an additional $12,000 in their production budget would have been a huge help to them.

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