The one filmmaker to be ever-loyal to Philadelphia has been forced to relocate his latest film production to Canada, reports the Inquirer.
With Harrisburg dragging its feet on the state budget, M. Night Shyamalan has no guarantee that film tax credits will be approved.
Shyamalan’s newest venture, Devil, was set to film in the Philadelphia region up until last week, when the production withdrew its application for the uncertain tax credits. Shyamalan has filmed eight of his nine feature films in the Philadelphia area, the last one—The Last Airbender—wrapping only a few months ago.
Say what you will about Shyamalan’s luke-warm success since his highly acclaimed The Sixth Sense, the man has brought jobs and about $375 million to the local economy.
Motivated by the incredible state tax incentive programs that began in 2004, more filmmakers followed Shyamalan’s lead. This brought jobs, money, and the likes of Jack Nicholson, Zooey Deschanel, Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, Shia LeBeouf, Jeff Daniels, Jennifer Aniston, Megan Fox, Mark Wahlberg, Reece Witherspoon, Luke Wilson and Owen Wilson to our city streets.
The tax incentive program that began in 2004 awards a 20 percent tax credit to film productions that spend 60 percent or more of their budget in the state, says newpa.com. That was followed by a second initiative in 2006, which provides grants of up to $2 million or 20 percent of production expenses.
Why be so generous to the film community? The industry has a rare characteristic: It only spends where it is, it never takes, Sharon Pinkenson, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, told newpa.com.
When a production comes to Pennsylvania, it hires local workers, rents local trucks and equipment, pays local and state taxes, stays in local hotels, eats at local restaurants and drinks at local bars. When a film is wrapped, it takes nothing away from the area, and leaves millions of dollars in the local economy in its wake.
If the state doesn’t get its act together, we’re going to lose more than our celebrity-sighting bragging rights.