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Santa Monica Senator Appointed to State Film Commission

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

By Jorge Casuso

March 19, 2019 -- Santa Monica State Senator Ben Allen has been named to the California Film Commission, a 21-member appointed board that runs a $1.6 billion tax incentive program to lure film and television production to California.

The Commission -- which is part of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development -- made headlines this month when it lured Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” from Dublin with $24.7 million in tax credits.
State Senator Ben Allen

“This is such an exciting opportunity to support one of California’s most important industries, with historic roots in my district," said Allen, whose 26th District includes Hollywood.

"Entertainment, in all its forms, has contributed so much to California’s growth and I look forward to ensuring that growth continues for years to come,” he said in a statement.

Founded in 1985 by then California Governor George Deukmejian, the Commission supports productions of all sizes with location assistance, Allen's staff said.

It also offers an extensive digital location library, free online permitting, low cost use of state properties as shooting locations and production assistance.

But its main lure is the Film & Television Tax Credit Program, which provides annual funding for Television projects and film features based on qualified expenditures for eligible productions produced in California.

The $1.6 billion program was renewed in July for five years beyond its 2020 expiration date by former California Gov. Jerry Brown.

“Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” became the 16th television series to relocate to California, according to an article in Variety.

The production will employ more than 350 cast members, 150 crew and 10,000 extras and spend an estimated $99 million "on below-the-line wages and other qualified expenditures during the upcoming season," according to the publication.

Below-the-line-workers are crew members that do not include actors, directors, producers and writers.

“With its established track record and top of the line production value, a relocating series like ‘Penny Dreadful’ brings long-term jobs and significant in-state spending,” California Film Commission executive director Amy Lemisch said in a statement announcing the deal.

“Global competition and increasing reliance on VFX make it possible for projects set almost anywhere to film wherever they get the best value," Lemisch said.

"We’re delighted that California crews and service providers will benefit directly from this project, which is set in our own backyard.”

According to the Commission, the expanded program has attracted relocating TV series from seven U.S. states, as well as from Canada and Ireland.

The projects are expected to generate nearly $1 billion in in-state spending, including $553 million in wages to below-the-line workers, the Commission said.

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