Bay State growing popular among filmmakers. Hollywood is already scouting out locations in Brockton and other cities as a major film shoots in Taunton.
By Maria Papadopoulos
BROCKTON ENTERPRISE, Mar 11, 2008
The Bay State is fast becoming a favorite location for Hollywood filmmakers, with Taunton’s Whittenton Mills undergoing the latest cinematic transformation into a World War II concentration camp for the upcoming film “Ashecliffe,” directed by Martin Scorsese.
Work at the Taunton set will continue through this week.
And other southeastern Massachusetts sites might be used in future movies if recent meetings between state film officials and municipal leaders in Brockton, Quincy and New Bedford lead to film action in those cities.
“You never know, (Brockton) City Hall itself might be a terrific location for a filmmaker,” said Nick Paleologos, executive director of the Massachusetts Film Office.
The Bay State is seeing stars since lawmakers passed incentives for movie producers to shoot their films in Massachusetts.
In 2007, eight films were filmed on location in Massachusetts, up from just one film — “The Departed” — in 2005, Paleologos said.
In the past, filmmakers would make their way to Massachusetts only if the script had a connection to the state, such as “Fever Pitch,” about a devoted Red Sox fan, Paleologos said.
Yet, even then, filmmakers would spend limited amounts of time filming here, and go outside for most of the production.
That changed when the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit Law was implemented in 2006.
Under the law, studios, major producers and filmmakers — who either shoot at least half of their movie or spend at least half of their production budget in Massachusetts — are eligible for a tax credit equal to 25 percent of their total spending in Massachusetts, inclusive of any salaries over $1 million.
Filmmakers are also eligible for a 100 percent sales tax exemption on any production-related items purchased in the state.
Since the tax credit became law, filmmakers have spent more time — and money — in Massachusetts in locations outside of Boston and Cambridge.
This spring, in addition to Taunton, films will be shot in Lowell, Woburn, Beverly, and Medfield.
“We’ve had just a steady stream of production spending and movie making, just one movie after another after another,” Paleologos said.
Several filmmakers have checked out the former Taunton State Hospital as a possible film location, Paleologos said.
“They’re out there. There’s an army of location scouts. We kind of give them the lay of the land and then they’re off to the races,” he said.
Paleologos said he met recently with Brockton Mayor James E. Harrington, toured City Hall, and talked about possible film sites.
“He also mentioned to us about the ball park and some locations in Brockton that we should keep in mind,” Paleologos said.
Filmmakers are “always looking” for large sound-stage space: a warehouse, hockey rink, airplane hangar — anything from 25,000 to 50,000 square feet in size, Paleologos said.
Last year, Hollywood crews spent few months in Chelsea, where they transformed an abandoned warehouse into a sound stage for the film “Pink Panther 2” starring Steve Martin, to be released next year. The story takes place in Paris and Rome.
“When you go see the movie, I defy you to tell the difference between Paris and Chelsea, Massachusetts,” he said.
Maria Papadopoulos can be reached at email@example.com.