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ADVOCACY + legislative action
One of the most important aspects of the VPA’s work on behalf of the industry is advocacy. As the statewide representative for those working in or with Virginia’s film and television communities, the VPA is active in promoting the value of film production to lawmakers and the Virginia General Assembly.
It is through the work of VPA members that the state adopted two film incentive programs, The Motion Picture Opportunity Fund, the Virginia Motion Picture Production Tax Credit fund and the Sales and Use Tax for filmmakers.
VPA members take an active role in advocacy efforts by contacting their lawmakers in the state capitol.
THE BUSINESS CASE FOR VIRGINIA
As American manufacturing industries have moved offshore, and middle class jobs have become harder to find, competition to attract the ONE TRILLION DOLLAR content manufacturing industry is fierce. It is now recognized as a business that uniquely touches technology, tourism and traditional economic development, while simultaneously providing high-wage career pathways that are of great interest to our emerging workforce.
Virginia’s Incentive Program
While the current incentive program has remained modest, the Virginia Film Office has maximized its value for the Commonwealth.
Through an innovative strategy of connecting film incentives to specific Virginia Tourism advertising, we have benefited from the jobs created during production, as well as receiving millions of dollars of valuable broadcast commercials. This approach is unique to Virginia and represents the only national television advertising we have had for tourism – a $25 billion dollar industry in the Commonwealth.
Under Virginia’s incentive program, the production does not receive a dime until they have spent an audited dollar.
Great Locations Alone Will Not Land a Project
While Virginia is naturally blessed with versatile locations, other states and countries induce projects through incentives in the form of tax credits and grants.
Currently, 34 states have tax credit or grant programs to recruit film, TV and new media production. Virginia’s incentive program is carefully conceived and innovative, but conservative. We uniquely require connected deliverables such as Virginia Tourism advertising as part of an incentive package. Compared to other states, Virginia’s annual film incentive program is funded at a very nominal level.
Without incentives, Virginia would lose thousands of trained professionals and its talent pipeline of students at the 32 Virginia colleges and universities with media programs.
Virginia Can Lead
At the core of Content Manufacturing is the need for a versatile location palette, a trained workforce, reasonable regulations and a competitive economic landscape.
We are at a time of major disruption in this industry. The creation of content through innovation in technology is changing in lock-step with the platforms for content consumption. Netflix, Amazon and Apple all exemplify this shift to “tech company content.” We are presently at the infancy of a seismic shift in the consumer experience with the evolution of AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality).
Virginia, often referred to as the “Silicon Dominion,” has made a significant investment in innovation and technology over the years. The Commonwealth is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the new integration of tech, content creation and content delivery as a data center destination with transcontinental high-speed fiber lines.
Impacting Film Tourism
In addition to positive job creation effects and specific tourism advertising, projects including Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Loving, and Big Stone Gap, as well as popular television series TURN: Washington’s Spies, Mercy Street, and Homeland, have all offered national exposure to Virginia locales and encouraged film tourism opportunities.
The Virginia Tourism Corporation partners with localities to create tailored experiences (trails) that attract this built-in audience of potential visitors to the Commonwealth. Many localities have experienced 150% growth of visitation to destinations promoted in this manner. More people, staying longer, means more dollars in Virginia.
We Want to Build on Our Strengths
The Virginia Film Office is recognized as one of the best film commissions worldwide as a result of its effective customer service over three decades. These ongoing efforts have inspired many repeat clients, innovative programs and long-standing industry relationships. Virginia offers diverse locations, unique state-owned film sets including 3,000 acres of landscape, the world’s largest period back lot and an Oval Office set.
In order to take advantage of this time of technological disruption, we need to enhance film incentives in Virginia. The Film Office’s approach focuses on:
DID YOU KNOW
Virginia's film and television production has a cascading impact on the state's economy.
in total economic impact
full-time equivalent jobs
total tax revenue
state + local tax revenue
return on investment
Source: Mangum Economics, 2017