By Matt Murphy
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
February 4, 2011
STATE HOUSE – Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki will travel to Los Angeles next week for a two-day sales-pitch to promote the state’s burgeoning film industry.
After receiving a public relations boost from the Academy Award-nominated films “The Fighter” and “The Social Network” and Golden Globe nominee “The Town” – all filmed in Massachusetts – state officials are looking to capitalize by attracting more major motion pictures to the Bay State.
While in Tinseltown, Bialecki plans to sit down with studio executives on Tuesday and Wednesday from NBC-Universal, Walt Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, FOX, Paramount, Creative Artists Agency and others.
Joining him on the trip will be John Dukakis, a senior vice president at Hill Holiday and chair of the newly formed advisory group looking at ways to grow the film industry in Massachusetts.
Sean O’Brien, president of the Teamsters Local 25, and Chris O’Donnell, the business manager for IATSE Local 481 representing Motion Picture Studio Mechanics, will also sit in on the meetings.
“These meetings are designed to build on our progress and expand the film industry here. We want to bring more jobs, more business investment and more tourism dollars home to the Commonwealth. As with any growth industry, we need to send a clear signal to studios, producers and filmmakers that Massachusetts is open for business,” said Kimberly Haberlin, a spokeswoman for Bialecki.
According to officials, film productions in Massachusetts have generated $36.3 million in new tax revenues and created 1,683 jobs since the film tax-break laws went into effect in 2006.
To lure that investment, the state has handed out $260.3 million in tax credits over the past four years.
Critics frequently deride the film-tax credits as wasted, with benefits accruing to out-of-state actors and entities, but proponents suggest it cost the state very little because, they say, the credits attract business that would not come to Massachusetts otherwise.
The trip is expected to cost taxpayers about $3,600 covering the cost of airfare and accommodations for Bialecki and Dukakis, but not O’Brien or O’Donnell who will pay their own way.