UPDATED 7PM: The California Film Commission completed its production tax credits lottery this afternoon and of 322 projects submitted today, 28 were selected to receive credits before this year’s $100 million total allocation runs out. Other qualified applicants go on a waiting list. The number of projects submitted this year approached double last year’s number. On the first day of last year’s application period, 177 projects were submitted and 27 were selected to receive the credits. Ultimately 74 projects received tax credits from last year’s $100 million allocation. The increase came from the large number of smaller independent projects that moved from the waiting list to be awarded credits as larger projects withdrew.
Today’s figures are subject to change as the commission reviews the applications. More information will become available Monday afternoon about the estimated total spend by approved projects, estimated wages, the number of cast and crew members employed and breakdown by production type — feature vs. TV, studio vs. independent.
PREVIOUSLY 3:16PM Now they wait. The California Film Commission’s 3 PM deadline today for applications to receive a portion of the state’s $100 million film and TV tax credits has come and gone. Now it’s all about waiting for the commission to randomly pick the winners in a lottery. That is expected to happen sometime around 3:30 PM today. The Film Commission expects to have information on how many projects were submitted sometime later this evening. Deadline will update with that info. The commission is expected to release detailed information Monday of the breakdown of the winners in terms of studio vs. independent, film vs. television and other.
Producers and filmmakers had between 9 AM-3 PM to drop off applications packets at the commission’s Hollywood Blvd office. Each packet was given a lotto number. Those numbers will be put in a bowl, according to Film Commission executive director Amy Lemisch, and picked out by an on-hand CHP officer. Once the $100 million is used up, remaining projects that didn’t get funding will be put on a waiting list. If already approved projects drop off the winners’ list due to scheduling or production delays, those on the waiting list will take their place and credits.
The low-tech lotto method has been used by the Film Commission annually to allocate the credits since 2009. The idea is that a random process removes any advantage for any one company. The majority of the applications today were dropped off in the morning with a few trickling in this afternoon, Lemisch told Deadline. As of 2:35 PM, Lemisch didn’t know how many projects the Commission had received today but she did say it was busy like last year. In 2011, the Film Commission received 170 applications for the $100 million fund.
Of this year’s allocation, $10 million is reserved for indie films with minimum budgets of $1 million and maximum qualified expenditure budgets of $10 million. Feature films with budgets up to $75 million are eligible for a 20% credit. TV movies and miniseries with a minimum budget of $500,000 are eligible for the 20% credit also. New TV series licensed for cable TV are eligible if they meet minimum budget and other requirements. Existing TV series that formerly filmed all previous episodes outside California, as well as indie films, are eligible for a 25% credit, subject to budget and other restrictions.