End of Tax Incentives Would Threaten Mass. Film Industry, Opponents Say

The film and television industry has been growing for years in Massachusetts, but advocates fear Hollywood may shift projects elsewhere

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With stars from Leonardo DiCaprio to Jennifer Lawrence to George Clooney working on productions there, Hollywood has found a home in Massachusetts.

"It's like nonstop," said hometown actor Andrea Lyman, who has consistently landed jobs in the state. "Work, work, work."

The local film and television industry has been growing for years.

"We're competing with a lot of other states, and right now, we're doing well with the competition," said Lyman. "We're getting a lot of stuff in."

But now, the Massachusetts film and television industry fears Hollywood may shift projects elsewhere.

The tax incentives that attract studios could be tinkered with by the state senate which could scare off production.

"The Senate passed language which has three to four items that the movie industry are telling us would kill their effort here in Massachusetts, and you'd probably end up seeing them leaving," said State Sen. Mike Moore, D-Millbury.

Moore says he's working to convince his colleagues to keep the tax plans in place, and to have it approved by the end of the month so Hollywood has a firm commitment.

Lyman does not want to leave the state to chase jobs.

"The way that films work is that they plan things way in advance, like if it's a series, they want to know they have 10 years, not that it might end, like we started shooting and we might have to move," said Lyman.

John Rule's Newton business rents motion picture cameras, lights and sound gear to movie and TV productions.

He says there would be a ripple effect across the industry — he alone could lose 25% of his business — if changes are made to the package of financial incentives the state offers.

"Hollywood has a list of features that they're looking for and locations to shoot. If you take a couple of things off that list, they'll go find somewhere else to shoot," said Rule, owner of Rule Boston Camera. "More and more people are moving from places like LA and New York to come live here to participate in the industry."

The film industry in Massachusetts says thousands of jobs could be at stake if the financial incentives are altered.

Industry leaders are holding a news conference Wednesday morning to try and send a message to Beacon Hill.

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