Bills To Help Attract TV, Film Productions Advance

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Feb 27 2012 04:57:47 AM HST
Updated On: Feb 27 2012 06:20:22 AM HST
HONOLULU -

A day after an Oscar win for the film "The Descendants," state lawmakers consider ways to grow the film industry in the islands.

The Senate's money committee today advanced a bill to give tax breaks to productions based on the number of local hires.

"We believe this would entice many people to come home and this would grow the production work in Hawaii and really growing the size of the industry," said Sen. Carol Fukunaga.

Another idea would tie the film office to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

"HTA obviously not only has experience marketing, they also have access to money. There is no question the industries also align themselves, so that when someone films a movie here, people are still coming looking for the set for 'Lost.' They are looking for 'Jurassic Park' at Kualoa Ranch," said Chris Lee, of the Creative Media Department at the University of Hawaii.

A bill heard in the Senate includes an infrastructure credit which could breathe new life into plans for a $50 million film studio in Kapolei, and possibly allow for other facilities on the neighbor islands.

"We have been working on this project with SHM partners out of Los Angeles. which builds studios all over the world. We have 22 acres set aside in Kapolei. We have had a master plan for the last five years. The real challenge with film studios is financing," said Ricardo Galindez, of Island Film Group.

Some lawmakers seem to support the idea of disclosing just how much of a break taxpayers are giving each production, which is something some consider proprietary and want to keep secret.

"Clearly I think transparency is good, it is just working through the mechanics of how that is achieved," said Sen. David Ige, Ways & Means Chairman.

The House Finance Committee heard two bills Monday, one would raise the tax credits from $8 million dollars to $10 million, and to extend the credits to 2025.

Another measure would lease state land for creative media facilities.

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