Study: Massachusetts movie biz generates jobs, boosts local companies.

Hollywood dollars roll in

By Christine McConville
Boston Herald
February 11, 2010

From Tom Cruise to Cameron Diaz to Leonardo DiCaprio, movie stars are boosting local businesses when they work in the Bay State, according to a new study by the University of Massachusetts.

“The last few years have been an incredibly good time for the film industry in Massachusetts,” said UMass-Boston management professor Pacey C. Foster, lead author of “Film and Television Production in Massachusetts: An Industry Overview and Analysis.”

The emerging Bay State film business “has generated lots of new jobs,” he said.

The Massachusetts Production Coalition, which represents the local film industry, called the report “very promising.” The state’s film tax credits drew fire after a recent Department of Revenue report found that the state took in only 16 cents in additional taxes for every dollar it handed out in film industry tax credits.

But the new report, which Foster wrote with UMass-Boston professor David Terkla and Robert Laubacher from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, suggests that making movies in Massachusetts is a significant boon for local businesses. Even cities, towns and zoos are getting in on the act.

When “The Zookeeper” with Kevin James was filmed in the Franklin Park Zoo last year, the production company reportedly gave an undisclosed sum of money to the struggling zoo and an additional $20,000 to the city.

Having stars in the state helps to shine a spotlight on top local tech companies, too. Avid of Tewksbury makes the country’s best video editing equipment and Powderhouse Productions has the nation’s most sophisticated video storage and retrieval systems, the report says.

The success of these businesses offers launching pads for Boston film students, who previously had to move to Los Angeles or New York to start their careers.

But Foster cautioned that none of this guarantees that Massachusetts will rise above the other 40 or so states that also offer special film industry incentives. In a highly competitive market, he said, there’s no telling which state will lure Hollywood in the long run.

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