Gayle Fee Tuesday, January 26, 2016
"The Finest Hours" stars Chris Pine and Casey Affleck are headed to Boston tomorrow for a premiere of their made-in-Mass. flick and the Mass. Production Coalition said the economic impact of the 190-day movie shoot here is a good example of why the state film tax credit shouldn't be adjusted.
"The film and television production tax credit has been an economic driver for Massachusetts," MPC prez Margie Sullivan said in a statement. "As Beacon Hill leaders enter the budget process, they should consider the impact of this incentive and avoid making changes to a highly successful program that supports thousands of workers and small businesses in almost every community in the state."
Gov. Charlie Baker, who tried to eliminate the tax credit last year, will propose a "modest adjustment" in his budget today. Baker wants to reinstate a $7 million per project cap, which was eliminated in 2007. His budget also would eliminate refundable tax credits, meaning that filmmakers who receive more in credits than they owe in taxes would no longer be able to cash in the excess.
But the MPC, the lobbying arm for the film, television and media production industry in Massachusetts, is opposed to any changes, and House lawmakers, who turned thumbs down on Baker's bid to eliminate the credit last year, also were skeptical.
Seth Gitell, a spokesman for Bob DeLeo, said the House Speaker still supports keeping the credit intact.
"While the administration's budget will go to the House Committee on Ways and Means for review, his position on the film tax credit has not changed," Gitell said.
According to the MPC, "The Finest Hours," which was filmed in Chatham, Cohasset, Duxbury, Marshfield, Norwell and Quincy during the summer and fall of 2014, bought or rented goods and services from more than 1,300 Massachusetts businesses in 155 cities and towns during the time it filmed in the state. The crew spent $1.7 million on hotel rooms and created scores of jobs, and boosted tourism, the group said.
"We had over 175 local men and women working for four or five months just to build and paint the sets for 'The Finest Hours' at the Quincy Shipyard and on Cape Cod," said Adam McClain of Lynn, the film's set construction foreman.
"Nearly 20 of those who worked to construct the steel sections of the ships were skilled but unemployed welders who had worked in other industries in Massachusetts, and many of them have continued to work on films since then. These are good-paying jobs that provide health insurance and retirement for Massachusetts families."
"The Finest Hours" tells the real-life story of a daring Coast Guard rescue off the coast of Chatham in the 1950s after a fierce storm split a tanker in two. In addition to Affleck and Pine, the Disney flick stars Ben Foster, Eric Bana and Holliday Granger. It was one of a number of big-budget flicks that filmed in the Bay State the last two years, taking advantage of the tax credit. Others include "Ghostbusters" and "Central Intelligence," due out this summer, "Manchester by the Sea," which just sold at the Sundance Film Festival, and "Joy," starring Jennifer Lawrence.