EL CENTRO – Imperial County Film Commissioner Charla Teeters asked for and received support from the county board for a bill in the state assembly that offers a tax incentive program in California that makes California competitive with other states offering shooting incentives to the film industry.
Teeters told the board that major films had been regularly shot in the Imperial Valley, but now the industry has found other locations that are more cost friendly.
This bill would even out the field with the other states and entice filmmakers back into California.
According to Teeters, in 2012, only one big budget feature film was shot entirely in California, and in 2013, only 39 out of 147 one-hour television series were filmed in the state.
The Imperial Valley still attracts magazine shoots, car advertising, and music videos Teeters said.
The industry as a whole spent over $1.9 million dollars in the Valley averaging 5.4 projects per month in 2014.
Michael Kelley, District 3, said he had toured the recent major film shoot, American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood, in El Centro. Kelley said, “They took a beat up building and turned it into a better building. And I realized how important Charla Teeters was, everyone on the set knew who she was.”
Teeters said during that shoot, the big hotels in El Centro were filled to capacity and the producers dropped $800,000 during their weeks shooting here.
Hollywood uses and pays for the time of the police and fire departments, Elms Equipment, and many other local businesses according to Teeters.
The push back will be when the bill reaches the senate because there are senators that do not like any tax incentives for any sector of California industry, Teeters told the board.
The board agreed to write a letter of support for the film incentive tax and to help finance Teeters’ lobbying trip to Sacramento.