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California Dreaming

Countless films have been shot in California. The key reason being the climate, which is conducive to shoot any time of the year. Located in the west coast of the United States, California is nicknamed as ‘The Golden State’.

Film shooting is a major industry owing to the city’s climate, its beaches, and innumerable tourist attractions such as San Francisco, Balboa Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Universal Studios.

Apart from the main cities, California is best known for Hollywood and a host of varied film locations that encompass oceans, snow, forests and almost every conceivable terrain. What makes California top the location list is its non-polluted atmosphere, moderate and high altitude terrain, low humidity and sunshine throughout the year. Summers are pleasant and winters are snowy. California is known for its skiing slopes in winter and wildlife spotting in summer.

Filming in Hollywood isn’t limited to the inside of the movie studios; much of what you see on the silver screen is shot outside right on the streets of Los Angeles and surrounding neighbourhood. In fact, it’s hard to roam about in the town without stumbling into a film site where a movie or TV series was shot. Movies have been shot extensively in Los Angeles and Orange County in California.

Take a look at any major motion picture and you’re likely to recognise the downtown L.A. skyline, the Sunset Strip, Hollywood Boulevard, Marina Del Rey, Malibu, or Rodeo Drive.
Sprawling over 4,000 acres, Griffith Park is home to a number of wonderful attractions. With its variety of scenes and proximity to Hollywood and Burbank,many production crews experimented new ways and angles to film the same locations and make them look different. One would be hard pressed to find a spot in Griffith Park, which has not been shot by the producers.

Close to 15 million people visit Disneyland every year, with 5 million of those also taking in Disney’s California Adventure next door. The Santa Monica Pier and beach is preferred by tourists as their preferred LA coastal experience. Six Flags Magic Mountain is super coaster central in the Los Angeles area.

The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is another attraction in California. Its distinctive wave-shaped roof of the Aquarium has been a landmark on Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach since 1998. The Aquarium of the Pacific focuses on the marine life of the Pacific Ocean with over 12,500 specimens from 550 species in 156,000 square feet of exhibit space.
There are couple of filming locations in Joshua Tree national park – Cap rock, hidden valley, Live Oak area which offers a variety of backgrounds. These locations offer plethora of panoramic views with rock inserts, boulders, trees, and majestic appearance.
The California Film Commission (CFC) will begin accepting applications for the new fiscal year on June 1, 2011.

The following is a brief description of the program parameters:

How the Tax Credit Works
Qualified taxpayers are allowed a credit against income and/or sales and use taxes, based on qualified expenditures, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2011. Credits applied to income tax liability are not refundable. Only tax credits issued to an “independent film” may be transferred or sold to an unrelated party. Other qualified taxpayers may carryover tax credits for 5 years and transfer tax credits to an affiliate.

What Types of Productions Qualify for the Program?
To apply for the California Film and Television Incentive Program, a “qualified motion picture” must be one of the following:
(Eligible for 20 per cent Tax Credit):
• Feature Films ($1 million minimum – $75 million maximum production budget)
• Movies of the Week or Miniseries ($500,000 minimum production budget)
• New television series licensed for original distribution on basic cable ($1 million minimum budget; one-half hour shows and other exclusions apply)
(Eligible for 25 per cent Tax Credit):
• A television series, without regard to episode length, that filmed all of its prior seasons outside of California.
• An “independent film” ($1 million – $10 million qualified expenditure budget that is produced by a company that is not publicly traded and that publicly traded companies do not own more that 25 per cent of the producing company.)

A “qualified motion picture” must also meet the following conditions
• 75 per cent test (production days or total production budget) in California
• Application must be submitted at least 30 days prior to commencement of principal photography
• Once an application is approved, principal photography must begin within 180 days

How much was allocated to the program?
• $100 million annually beginning fiscal year 2009/2010 through fiscal year 2013/2014
• A minimum of $10 million of the annual funding is available for independent films each year.

Types of Productions Qualify for the Program?
To apply for the California Film and Television Incentive Program, a “qualified motion picture” must be one of the following:
(Eligible for 20% Tax Credit):
• Feature Films ($1 million minimum – $75 million maximum production budget)
• Movies of the Week or Miniseries ($500,000 minimum production budget)
• New television series licensed for original distribution on basic cable ($1 million minimum budget; one-half hour shows and other exclusions apply)
(Eligible for 25% Tax Credit):
• A television series, without regard to episode length, that filmed all of its prior seasons outside of California.
• An “independent film” ($1 million – $10 million qualified expenditure budget that is produced by a company that is not publicly traded and that publicly traded companies do not own more that 25% of the producing company.)

A “qualified motion picture” must also meet the following conditions:
• 75% test (production days or total production budget) in California
• Application must be submitted at least 30 days prior to commencement of principal photography
• Once an application is approved, principal photography must begin within 180 days

How much was allocated to the program?
• $100 million annually beginning fiscal year 2009/2010 through fiscal year 2013/2014
• A minimum of $10 million of the annual funding is available for independent films each year

Films shot in California

• Avatar
• The Godfather II
• The Guardian
• The Hangover II
• Hollow man
• Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
• Twilight (2008 film)
• The prestige
• Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
• Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
• Dirty Girl
• Inception
• Burlesque

Did you know – There are more than 300,000 tons of grapes grown in California annually. California produces more than 17 million gallons of wine each year.
Population 37,253,956
Money: United States Dollars – 1 USD =  44.55 INR

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