Film czar: With tax breaks intact, projects eyeing Massachusetts

Hooray for Hollywood in Hub!

By Dave Wedge
Boston Herald
April 17, 2010

With the state’s lucrative film tax breaks safe and sound, Bay State movie czar Nick Paleologos is on the Left Coast trying to drum up more business for “Hollywood East.”

Lawmakers had been mulling capping film biz tax breaks at $50 million, but the House voted down the measure, meaning the checkbook remains open to Massachusetts’ fledgling movie industry.

“All I’m hearing is positive stuff,” Paleologos told the Herald yesterday from the Association of Film Commissioners Conference in Santa Monica, Calif. “Now that the tax credit debate is behind us, we are going to have a great year.”

Uncertainty over the tax breaks slowed production in January, but Paleologos said several big-budget productions have their sights set on Massachusetts.

Among the movies in the pipeline is the Anna Faris-Chris Evans comedy, “What’s Your Number,” which starts shooting next month. Paleologos said Massachusetts’ top competition – outside of the entertainment meccas of New York and Los Angeles – are Michigan, New Mexico, Louisiana and Connecticut, all of which also offer attractive tax incentives.

Paleologos, a former state lawmaker who’s now Hollywood’s go-to guy in the Bay State, said the Santa Monica conference is a prime opportunity to shmooze with producers looking for the best deal and talent for their buck.

“We’re trying to out-compete a lot of other states,” he said. “When Gov. (Deval) Patrick lifted the cap in 2007, we lurched from nowhere to third or fourth, outside of New York and L.A.”

In addition to new business, Paleologos is hoping that ABC picks up “Boston’s Finest,” a cop drama starring Katee Sackhoff and Treat Williams. Several pilot episodes were recently shot in the Hub, and Paleologos is hoping it will be the first made-in-Boston TV series since “Spenser for Hire” in the 1980s.

Said Paleologos: “If they pick it up and order episodes and decide to shoot them in Massachusetts, it would be a huge coup.”

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