OKC weighs incentives to attract film and TV projects

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Oklahoma City Council is considering a performance incentive to encourage film and television programming projects within city limits. (Photo by Jakob Owens via Unsplash)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Plans for an incentive program to attract more film and television production projects to Oklahoma City were discussed at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

The proposed pay-for-performance incentive would come from the proceeds of the limited general duty tax liability for employment and economic development.

The aim is to develop the film industry locally, create new jobs, offer contract opportunities with local businesses, increase sales from local suppliers and increase sales tax collection. said Jeff Seymour, vice president of economic development for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.

“The real big deal that we’re looking at here is to build a greater local industrial base for filmmaking and also provide a mechanism for us to retain film talent here in the market that has unfortunately had to leave Oklahoma City to do so. projects in other places. “Seymour said.

Statewide film production and post-production is a new industry that continues to diversify the global economy.

The Oklahoma Film and Music Office estimates the creation of 10,218 local hires in fiscal year 2021 with a direct tax impact of $ 161.7 million from 33 film and television productions using the Incentive Program. State. This impact does not include the more than 150 other non-program productions.

“A lot of the economic growth that we would like to continue to push would be around things that are innovative, have digital arts, and are creative arts, and it’s definitely a push in that direction,” Seymour said.

He said a number of major film projects have considered Oklahoma City over the past two years. This raised the question, “What would it be like to build something long-standing structural and something that would really look at concrete and quick tax benefits for the city in addition to the overall appeal of having a film project?” here. “

The incentive program presented to city council would give a discount to feature films that spend at least $ 500,000 in eligible expenses. For a scripted television series, pilot and reality show, the minimum would be $ 100,000.

Eligible expenses include the purchase of items subject to Oklahoma City sales tax, wages and salaries for crew members, construction costs within city limits, and photography, sound, etc. lighting and mounting.

Eligibility requirements include primary production office must be in Oklahoma City, at least 50% of filming days must be within city limits, and film credits must identify Oklahoma City as the filming location.

Feature films with eligible expenses between $ 500,000 and $ 5 million would be eligible for an incentive equal to 5%. Those with eligible expenses over $ 5 million could receive up to 10%.

For television series and other projects other than feature films, the incentives would be 5% for eligible expenses totaling $ 100,000 to $ 500,000 and up to 10% for expenses over $ 500,000.

The city council voted to postpone action on the proposal until the January 18 meeting at the request of city councilor Nikki Nice, who said the resolution must include clear support for minority businesses in the sector.

Nice called for adding wording “defining how we work with these minority companies or filmmakers to ensure that as a city we protect their interests and want to promote what they do in our city.” … I want no one to be left behind.


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