The Beaufort Chamber, Carolina Film Alliance (CFA) and other interested stakeholders in South Carolina’s film and television industry breathed a collective sigh of relief after SC Gov. Nikki Haley signed the Film Rebate Bill (S.163).
The bill’s future had been in doubt more than once, as it stalled in the state senate and the Governor had indicated ambivalence towards signing it into law even if the legislature approved it.
What finally tipped the scales in favor of its fast-track passage through the legislature and quick signing by the Governor was “Reckless” – a CBS television show about lawyers that is in the works.
The pilot for the legal drama was filmed at Studio Charleston in Charleston, SC, but the producers said they might shift the filming of future episodes to Savannah, Georgia, and were planning to decide on the location by mid-May.
The show needs a historical southern background which can easily be found in both Charleston and Savannah. Filming of the show will generate spending worth $60-$70 million per year.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Phyllis Henderson in the House and State Senator Paul Campbell in the SC Senate, hikes rebates on supplies purchased from vendors in South Carolina to 30 percent, which is double the earlier 15 percent.
Payroll tax refunds offered to the film companies have similarly been hiked up to 25 percent for South Carolina works, and 20 percent for out of state workers. These incentives are available only to production companies that spend at least a million dollars in the state.
CFA President Richard Futch said that the passage of the bill sends a message to film makers around the world that South Carolina values the millions spent by film companies on local businesses, the jobs they create and their showcasing of the state’s geographic beauty on the big screen for the whole world to see.
He added that the world has already seen the beauty of South Carolina in films such as Forrest Gump and the Patriot, and South Carolinians should now gear up to be excited by more such iconic movies with a Palmetto backdrop.