“It definitely slows the project down a bit,” said Kevin O’Reilly, a spokesman for the project. “One of the good things is that the principals have been talking to other lenders and they’re hoping that something will materialize.”
The studio said it is now attempting to arrange alternate funding and suggested that the improving economy might enable them to make a better deal. “With the current economic indicators showing improvement, our decision is in the long-term interest of the project, our shareholders, our strategic partners, and our many other constituents, including the town of Plymouth and the Commonwealth,’’
State Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles notified Plymouth Rock officials yesterday that their exhaustive Environmental Impact Report for the studio project – a required permitting step – has been approved. Bowles also noted “the studio would represent a major step forward for the growing film industry in Massachusetts,’’ and added “the project has the potential to create a major economic engine for the southeast region,’’ generating more than 3,000 jobs.
Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Bob Deleo also signaled strong support for the film tax credit. Murray, speaking at Patrick’s economic summit yesterday in downtown Boston, said the credit has brought scores of movie productions to Massachusetts over the past few years – and it’s on the verge of paying huge dividends if new studios are built here.
Producer Todd Garner said big-budget movies are undoubtedly good for the local economy. “A lot of people come in and there’s work on a lot of different levels, from hotels and restaurants to dry cleaners to nanny services,’’ he said.
The production crew built two new basketball courts; the parking lot has been fixed up, and the local Field of Dreams has been reseeded. Beyond the $150,000 the town received, many local officials and business owners say the movie has pumped close to $1 million into the local economy during this recession. Antique stores, restaurants, local builders and saw mills all benefitted from having the production company’s presence in town. Manchester Essex Little League was given $25,000; the Essex Musical Festival took in $6,000; and the Essex Youth Commission got a $3,000 donation. “It wasn’t just the frosting on the cake,” said local businessman Bob Coviello, “it was the cake.”
20th Century Fox is paying $199,000 in location fees to the Pike and Massport to cover the cost of closing the roads and paying staff and police details at the movie shoots, officials said. Massport collected another $145,000 to cover costs for filming at Hanscom Field, Worcester Regional Airport and at the Tobin Bridge maintenance garage in Chelsea.”
Councilors Stephen Murphy and Bill Linehan want the city to reap more benefits from the state’s growing movie industry business that’s so far generated an estimated $700 million in spending since state tax incentives took effect in 2006.
The tax credits have been a rousing success, bringing in $3.6 million more in revenue than they cost and generating from $500 million to $900 million in ancillary revenue and thousands of jobs, according to the state Department of Revenue.
Long time Boston institution John Hancock Insurance Co. recently decided to shoot its TV commercials here, partly because of the tax credit and partly because the company wants to support other local businesses, according to Jim Bacharach, vice president of brand communications and creative services.
The answer to the state’s budget woes is job creation according to House Speaker Robert DeLeo. He said the film tax credit is a “good investment” for the state. He recalled visiting a TV shoot at the State House earlier this year and learning that most workers on the film crew were from Massachusetts. When asked what else they would be doing, he said many told him they would otherwise be unemployed.
Dave Talamas, owner of Talamas Broadcast Equipment Inc. in Newton, said his business has nearly quadrupled since the tax credit went into effect by supplying two-way radios, monitors, props, and other audio and visual equipment to films. “We’ve become the go-to people for two-way radios,” Talamas said. “It’s also increased our business in general production because word gets around.”
Officer Joseph Guigno, who is also a neighbor, said the production is good for the neighborhood, the city, and the economy in general. Crew members, who all hit up D’Angelo’s for lunch yesterday, have been using a lot of the local facilities and restaurants, he noted. Tom Keene, who lives across the street at 110 Main St., opined that the production would likely be good for future home sales as well.
Tom Cruise isn’t an attorney, but he’s played one on the big screen and the other day the Hollywood heavy was in Cambridge auditing a class at Harvard Law School!
According to the state Department of Revenue, productions of film, and also television, have tangible financial benefits. Since 2006, that production has generated $676 million in revenue, with another $200 million generated in spin-offs, such as the purchase of state goods and services by film crews. The report found that the state collected $3.6 million more in taxes than it paid out in tax credits to the industry, with that money paying immediate dividends because filmmakers must spend the money first before they can receive credits. Film production also generates publicity for a locale, a benefit that is difficult to measure in dollars and cents but is real nonetheless.
Senate President Therese Murray has been a strong supporter of the industry and the program remains a popular one, with a recent poll showing that about two-thirds of Massachusetts residents support it.
The Board of Directors of the Berkshire Film and Media Commission announced that they have appointed Diane Pearlman as its new executive director.
Massachusetts effects company shares a SURROGATES secret. “They look human on the outside, but are mechanical underneath,” says Synthespian Visual Effects Supervisor Jeff Kleiser. “Our goal was to get the audience to believe that these surrogates are actually robots and not just actors pretending to be robots.”
Rob Lowe, one of the stars of “The Invention of Lying,’’ which opens Friday, couldn’t say enough in favor of Gervais during the filming in Lowell. “Ricky has a distinct philosophy on how he wants to shoot. It’s quick, it’s short. He’s got some of the best people in the world who just knock the ball out of the park. No one’s out there finding their character or struggling.’’
64 percent of Bay Staters think tax breaks for movie producers are good for the economy. But state Rep. Matthew Patrick isn’t a huge fan. “If this was a sampling of the public,” Patrick sniped. “it is based on opinions of uninformed people.”