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September 15, 2013

N.H. lawmakers to consider tax credit for filmmakers

State still reaps rewards from 'On Golden Pond'

Two movies made in New Hampshire are among the “603 Reasons” people say the Granite State is special.

The Academy Award winning “On Golden Pond,” filmed at Squam Lake and starring the Fondas — Henry and Jane — as well as Katharine Hepburn, ranked No. 68.

“Jumanji,” the fantasy adventure filmed in Keene and starring Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst, came in at No. 238.

“I can send you a list of 10 states with tax incentives that can list 100 movies,” said Tim Egan, New Hampshire Production Coalition president.

Egan and the coalition are now advocating New Hampshire join 46 other states in offering tax incentives to lure filmmakers to the Granite State.

The proposal has the support of the New Hampshire Film and Television Office.

The House Ways and Means Committee is studying the issue, which is expected to go before the full Legislature next session.

“Film is about economic development and it’s about jobs,” Film and Television Office director Matt Newton told the panel in testimony last winter. “We’ve lost a lot of them.”

He pointed to “Labor Day,” a film starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, coming out this holiday season.

Primarily made in Massachusetts, “Labor Day” included a single day of filming at Canobie Lake Park, Newton said.

He gave lawmakers an accounting of what the production company estimated it spent on filming and related services such as hotel rooms, as well as a count of local hires.

“So there’s $13 million and 300 jobs that went south on a film that is about New Hampshire, written by a New Hampshire author, Joyce Maynard,” he told lawmakers. “That was our film, that was our baby.”

Egan reflected on the lost opportunity last week.

“When the movie ‘Labor Day’ comes out, it could be someone’s memorable movie — one about New Hampshire, from a book by a New Hampshire author — but unfortunately all but one day was shot right over the border in Massachusetts,” Egan said. “Even a small incentive could have given New Hampshire some memorable locations and the revenue.”

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