Federal film tax credits help sweeten bailout

It wouldn’t quite be accurate to say that the film industry benefited from the Congressional economic bailout approved last week.

After all, extension of the film and television tax credit was already part of another bill that had been approved by both the House and the Senate, but had not yet gone to committee.

But the inclusion of tax credits that were about to expire into the $700 billion bailout plan did help lawmakers vote for the deal.

The Federal Film Tax Credit was enacted in 2004. It originally gave a credit to films whose total production cost was under $15 million.

The new version gives a credit to the first $15 million a production spends?which vastly opens up the credit to more filmmakers. In addition, that $15 million goes up to $20 million if the production is done in certain economically depressed areas.

“Given the very tough economic climate affecting every sector of this economy, we are extremely grateful that this legislation will help save so many jobs that would have otherwise been sent abroad as a result of runaway production,” said Michael Apted, president of the Directors Guild of America, in a statement on the DGA website.

The incentive will be retroactive to January 2008, and will expire in December 2009.