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American Beauty

The US state of Connecticut reveals historic gems and off-the-beaten-track treasures that can lend a celluloid production a fresh look

The great outdoors is never greater than in the Last Green Valley, tucked into quiet Connecticut. So untouched by light pollution that airline pilots steer by its lack of artificial illumination. The countryside shines, nonetheless, with tranquil farmlands and off-the-beaten-track attractions.

Connecticut is located in the north eastern region of the United States. Built in Renaissance style, the entire state is titivated with massive facades that are either from the recent past or have been preserved for years. In addition, Connecticut has the most multi-million dollar homes in the country, after California. And all these act as the perfect backdrop for any kind of film shoot.

Squeezed between glamorous New York City and the northerly England region, the state is mainly considered an industrial area, though a closer look reveals a whole new story. Travel to New Haven, a flamboyant city celebrated for its culture and happening lifestyle. Move to Mystic, a small village famous for its maritime museum and Mystic Pizza. And it is the Litchfield Hills in the northwest of the state that help travellers to relax and enjoy the sun.

Almost 400-years old, Hartford, the capital of the state, is among the oldest cities in thecountry. Also known as the Insurance Capital of the world, it houses many of the world’s insurance company headquarters. Hartford’s neighbourhood is wide-ranging – from museums, to the state buildings and homes of various famous personalities (Mark Twain) – the place is historic, with many points of interest.

Ideal for any genre, many big-budget films have been shot here and effortlessly transformed its look for the silver screen. To make this serene locale more attractive, The Office of Film, Television & Digital Media (CT Film Office) offers umpteen tax credits to the producers.

TAX CREDIT

In the 2006 session, the Connecticut General Assembly established a tax credit programme to encourage the production of digital media and motion pictures in Connecticut. The legislation makes it possible for eligible production companies to receive tax credit of up to 30 per cent of qualified digital media and motion picture production, pre-production and post-production expenses incurred in the state.

Who Can Apply

The applicant must be a corporation, partnership, limited liability company or other entity that is principally engaged in producing the qualified production and that controls the project during pre-production, production, and post-production. The applicant is the entity that, upon final certification, will receive the production tax credit certificate. The applicant is the entity that incurs and pays expenses relating to the qualified production.

The applicant must own the copyright for the qualified production or have contracted directly with the owner of the copyright of the qualified production or contracted with a person acting on behalf of the owner, to provide services for the production, where the owner of the copyright is not an eligible production company.

Eligible Expenses

Beginning January 1, 2010, an eligible production company producing a qualified production in Connecticut may qualify for tax credit equal to 10 per cent of pre-production, production and post-production expenses incurred in the state, as long as qualified costs exceed $ 100,000 but not more than $ 500,000. Productions spending between $ 500,001 and $ 1 million may qualify for a tax credit of 15 per cent. Productions spending over $ 1 million may qualify for a tax credit of 30 per cent. Additionally, in order to qualify, at least 50 per cent of a production’s principal photography, or 50 per cent of its post-production expenses, must occur in Connecticut.

How To Apply

To obtain tax credits, eligible production companies must engage in a two-step process.

First, an Eligibility Application must be submitted to the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to determine if a production company is eligible for the Tax Credit Program

Second, the eligible production company must submit a Production Tax Credit Voucher Application and a record of its eligible production expenses

OTHER TAX EXEMPTIONS

Hotel Tax Exemption: 12 per cent hotel occupancy tax only applies to the first period not exceeding thirty consecutive days. Accordingly occupancy beyond thirty days is not subject to the tax.

Property Tax Exemption: Any person or organisation may claim property exemption for machinery and equipment whose predominant use is for manufacturing, processing or fabricating, including machinery or equipment used in the production of motion pictures.

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