Pittsburgh TV & Film Industry Lags Under Weight Of State Budget Impasse
WESA.fm reports that when North Carolina discontinued its film tax credit at the start of 2015, the television series Banshee – set in fictional Banshee, Pa. – moved production from that state to western Pennsylvania for its final season.
“That’s how fickle the film industry is. They will go where the money is,” said Mike Matesic, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 489, which represents 400 audio engineers, construction workers, electricians, grips and other film workers in the Pittsburgh region.
Due to the budget impasse, Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin cannot legally approve any future disbursements of the $60 million film tax credit. Legislators are now nearly six months overdue.
“We have a stack of finished film tax credit applications from potential projects that would like to be shooting in southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office. “The total is more than $200 million in budget for these several projects. Those applications cannot be signed.”
In 2015, with Banshee and the new ABC show Downward Dog filming in Pittsburgh, Matesic said the alliance hired 30 more crew members in order to meet demand for workers.
American Gods, a fantasy series based on the book of the same name by Neil Gaiman, was slated to begin “crewing up” in January, according to Matesic. Now, he said, they’ve moved production to Toronto.