Friday, February 20, 2009

Film Incentives in the News...

Another report on film-related incentives from AP has been picked up by many papers across the country...

States woo Hollywood with tax breaks

By JULIE CARR SMYTH
The Associated Press


Thursday, February 19, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Hungry to prop up their ailing economies, U.S. states are locked in a fierce competition to lure Hollywood filmmakers to their gritty cities and picturesque towns with tax breaks and other incentives.

The movement remains intense despite state budgets facing near crisis, largely because the movie and TV industry has emerged as a tough survivor in hard economic times. California, facing a $42 billion budget deficit, nevertheless approved a film tax credit Thursday.

The film industry's economic health has pushed some states like Ohio to take a second look at tax breaks for filmmakers and TV producers after years of viewing such financial incentives as luxuries the state couldn't afford. The state shuttered its film commission for five years in 2002 because of budget cutbacks.

Ohio lawmakers are poised to approve film industry tax breaks soon, once they work out whether to offer to make the breaks big or bigger.

Gov. Ted Strickland vetoed the bigger tax breaks favored by legislative Republicans in December, saying he wanted to weave the breaks into discussion of his proposed two-year operating budget. Republican lawmakers were eager to continue the recent momentum from "Spider Man 3," parts of which were filmed in Cleveland.

Strickland said Thursday an incentive program capped at $20 million every two years, rather than $100 million each year, is all Ohio can afford.

"I could not and I do not support the larger commitment on the part of the state," he said.

Ohio is one of only a handful of states left that don't already offer a state-level tax break to filmmakers or a giant pot of cash that producers and directors can tap for incentives.

Lawmakers in Indiana overrode a governor's veto of film industry incentives there a year ago.

Vans Stevenson, who oversees state government issues for the Motion Picture Association of America, said the incentives states offer are more than offset by the economic benefits that result from film and TV production.

"The perception that this is a giveaway in inaccurate," he said. "States have recognized that show business is an economic development engine, and they want to get on board."

...

The rush of states to offer movie incentives began about six years ago when U.S. film-making was going increasingly out of the country — to places like Canada, Bosnia, Romania or France that offered low costs and cash rebates or payouts.

For many states, the investment paid off.

A study conducted for New Mexico, where films such as the Oscar-winning "No Country For Old Men," ''The Book of Eli" and "In Plain Sight," showed positive results. The review by Ernst&Young, released earlier this month, found that 30 films produced in 2007 in that state generated about $253 million in spending and directly created 5,989 jobs.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson boasted in his recent State of the State speech that the state had "created a new industry" over the past six years through its film industry incentive program.

An analysis by the nonprofit group Film Wisconsin released in December, for example, found that new breaks and incentives in that state had brought in more than $9.2 million and created at least 850 jobs. That state was home to production of the upcoming film "Public Enemies" starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale.

Despite such positives, Wisconsin and some other states are beginning to rethink their incentives amid the national economic meltdown...

More at: States woo Hollywood with tax breaks

Cerelink to use NM Supercomputer (update)

In an example of how investment in media and tech resources is paying off and moving forward, Governor Richardson announced plans by Cerelink Digital Media Group to use Encanto, New Mexico's Computing Application Center for 3D rendering.

Cerelink DMG has issued a clarification of its relationship with Dreamworks in use of Encanto:

Cerelink® Digital Media Group Clarifying Information
Regarding Partnership With DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.

RIO RANCHO, NM – February 19, 2009 - This information seeks to clarify and outline details regarding the partnership between Cerelink Digital Media Group, the New Mexico Computing Applications Center (NMCAC) and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. Earlier this week Gov. Bill Richardson announced that Cerelink DMG entered into an agreement with the Glendale, California-based company.

While Cerelink Digital Media Group will be using NMCAC’s resources to explore the delivery of on-demand and scalable computing resources as a cloud service, DreamWorks Animation will not be using the NMCAC supercomputer, Encanto, as part of this partnership. While we believe the state’s supercomputer has the potential to be used by digital media companies in the future, Cerelink Digital Media Group will instead be building out compute capacity for this effort using DreamWorks’ standard rendering platform, Intel based c-class HP blades.

The potential for future collaborations involving the use of Encanto remain open, however no part of the agreement announced on February 17, 2009 was intended to associate the collaboration with DreamWorks Animation and the use of this supercomputer.

###
About Cerelink ®
Cerelink, Cerelink Digital Media Group and Cerelink Digital Labs use broadband Internet connections and other advanced technologies to power innovative solutions that deliver economic value for a variety of clients. Cerelink is based in Corrales, NM. http://www.cerelink.com, http://www.cerelinkdmg.com,
http://www.cerelinkdl.com

About NMCAC
The New Mexico Computing Applications Center (NMCAC) was approved by New Mexico’s
Legislature in 2007 and began operations in 2008 as a resource for applications-driven high-speed computer problem solving. Working closely with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Labs and the State’s three research universities, the NMCAC is dedicated to serving the needs of the people of New Mexico as well as tackling some of the nation's most pressing problems like energy and the environment using high-speed computing. http://www.newmexicosupercomputer.com/


More info at the original story from the NM Business Weekly

And in the Press Release from the Governor's Office: Governor Bill Richardson Announces Partnerships & New Mexico’s Supercomputer to Create New High-Tech Jobs

And in the Cerelink release at PR Newswire


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Monday, February 16, 2009

Web App Wednesday makes Google Blog!

Michael Bernstein's Web App Wednesday was recently featured in Google's App Engine Blog -- which, somewhat ironically, I found when I visited Michael's Web App Wednesday site , though it was cool and interesting he was using Google's App Engine and wanted to investigate a little more.

If you see or know of other people in New Mexico's tech world doing good things and getting a little love, please share.

From Google:

Web App Wednesday, Mashup, Backup, and Decay



Michael Bernstein is doing something I find very interesting. Not only is he creating applications on App Engine, he creates a new one every Wednesday. His site, appropriately named Web App Wednesday, is where he is creating a new web application every Wednesday, starting first with the site itself, followed by F/OSS License Info, a single-page site that displays information about the most common Open Source software licenses. Another recent app, LinQR , is a URL shortening service and QR code generator. Good luck to Michael and we look forward to seeing what he comes up with next Wednesday.

If you're doing something cool with App Engine please let us know! We'd love to highlight it here on the blog or even have you write up an article explaining what you've done, like this new article from Omar Abdelwahed on Creating a Facebook App with Google App Engine and Best Buy Remix.

...

And more at: Web App Wednesday, Mashup, Backup, and Decay

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reelz Channel to locate at Albuquerque Studios

From the NM Business Weekly:

ReelzChannel leases space at Albuquerque Studios

ReelzChannel will locate its new corporate headquarters at Albuquerque Studios.

The company, which announced it was moving its headquarters from Minnesota in January, has signed a lease for 30,000 square feet of office and production space. This makes it the largest long-term tenant in the studio facility, which has hosted a number of productions since opening in 2007, including “Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins,” “Game,” “The Spirit,” and the television show “Breaking Bad.”

Build-out work on the space will begin immediately. Architecture firm Dekker/Perich/Sabatini will do the design. Klinger Construction will be the contractor. The company plans to move in by May.

ReelzChannel is locating its programming, production, Web development, creative services, marketing and communications divisions in the Albuquerque headquarters. Advertising sales will remain in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. ReelzChannel also will establish a Los Angeles bureau and its production studios are in Los Angeles...

More at ReelzChannel leases space at Albuquerque Studios


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