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By Patty Fantasia
Photo credit: Patty Fantasia & Jodi Amoruso

Women In Entertainment Holds Luncheon to Discuss State Film Tax Credits

The Women In Entertainment Group of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce held a Luncheon and panel discussion at the Clarion Hotel on Saturday, October 9th to discuss how to bring state film tax credits to Nevada. Although Las Vegas is a frequent setting for many films and television shows, the number of days shooting actually done here is limited due to the lack of tax incentives for filmmakers and surprisingly this extends to television as well. In fact, one panel member, David G. Brown from the Remington Agency explained that the new CBS show The Defenders came to Las Vegas without any actors to film exteriors for two days, while the original CSI visits for only two days with their cast to film here. Brown related that the last network show set in Vegas that was actually filmed here was when Robert Urich played Dan Tanna back in the 70’s.

The meeting kicked off introducing WIE Board Members including June Beland, who founded the Women’s Chamber of Commerce and was well known for her modeling and talent agency businesses in Los Angeles before relocating to the Las Vegas Area. Diana Eden spent 25 years in Hollywood as a costume designer working on prime time series, pilots and feature films. The stars she’s dressed include George Clooney, Dana Delaney and Angelica Huston and she’s been nominated for multiple Emmys. At the podium Diana commented that when she worked in L.A she used to complain about work being sent out of L.A., but that’s changed. “Now I want it here,” she stated.

WIE Board Member Dee Drenta has been working in sales and marketing since 1975 including doing a stint in Real Estate and is now an accomplished voiceover actress, while Moderator Anita Laruy has a background in Government Affairs including working for the city of North Las Vegas prior to her retirement in 2007. After that she went on to become a Life & Legislative Coach launching her own company Dynamic Life Changes.

Jim “JR” Reid, owner of JR Lighting, Nevada’s largest Production Rental Facility spoke first on the panel. With 25 years of experience working in film and television, JR particularly enjoys lighting film. He talked about how he started out investing in equipment and selling products for photographers and then told us that back in 2005 only four states had film incentives, as opposed to this year when there are only six states that don’t have them. These tax incentive programs have been creating jobs and revenue streams for the states sponsoring them. He made note of successful films shot here like “The Hangover”, which led to Caesar’s Palace creating a suite named after it. He explained that a film set in Las Vegas called “Hostel 3” actually only shot here for two days, while they filmed for 39 days in Detroit because of the tax credits Michigan offers. Another example he used was “The Odds”, which shot in Las Vegas for four days, but spent two months on location in New Mexico, another state with a sizable tax credit program. He commented how years ago Las Vegas had an 80% market share that has now been reduced to 20% leading to people from L.A. coming here and taking the jobs. “It’s become a matter of economics,” he believes. JR went on to say that several points are under consideration in drafting the tax initiative and that he recently consulted with The Incentives Office, a company that specializes in helping producers maximize film tax credits and working with state legislatures and film commissions in developing and improving programs. Considerations such as adding a labor base incentive insuring that the bill will be used to create jobs and choosing between a transferable tax credit or a refund are all being examined. An initial draft of the bill is expected to be completed within the next 30 days and JR told us he’s been getting assistance from both the Lt. Governor’s Office and the Nevada Film Office.

David G. Brown added that Nevada needs to be more attractive to talent agents and that having an incentive program could play an important factor in accomplishing this. He stressed the need for more infrastructure and stopping agencies that act as sub contractors, so that actors are receiving fair payment. The other speaker on the panel was April Mastroluca, a State Assembly woman from District 29, who took the time to explain to the attendees what kind of action voters and constituents will need to take in order to turn a state film tax initiative into law.

According to JR, within the next few weeks a website is going to be launched where Nevada residents will be able to log on and voice their support for the proposed bill.

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Photo Credit by Jodie A. Amoruso of June Beland, Patty Fantasia And Jeff Grinstein 



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David G. Brown, Diana Eden and Jim "JR" Reid

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