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Smoking volcanoes, endless beaches and dense rainforests… The island of O’ahu in Hawaii is a stunning tropical destination for film shoots

O’ahu is the third-largest of the Hawaiian Islands and the most populated island in the state of Hawai‘i. The state capital, Honolulu, referred to as the most-in-style city, is located in the southern part. The entire area is swamped by tourists all round the year, thanks to its vast shoreline and beautiful beaches. The place, which is popularly known as The Gathering Place, encloses the history of Pearl Harbour within its boundaries.

The picturesque attractions mostly include beaches and more beaches. Other attractions are the Aloha Tower, standing tall since 1926; Valley of the Temples near the island’s eastern shore; and a memorial park and Pearl Harbour, the United States Navy naval base known for its attack by the Japanese during World War II.

Honolulu is the urban area of the state embracing the financial and government centres of the state. Waikikiī is a world-famous destination in Honolulu. Its neighbourhood is best recognised for shopping escapades, luxurious hotels and nightlife extending till the wee hours of the morning.

The panorama of Honolulu’s waterfront perfectly fits in any frame for film shooting. Other residential places and various volcanic cones can be easily transformed to blend in any scene of the film.

The countless locales are definitely not media-shy as they have been featured in many well-known films and television shows. This place offers a colossal catalogue of destinations for producers. The tax incentives offered by the government is another notable attraction.

Why O’ahu?

Broadly knowledgeable crews, top gear, LA-style soundstage and extraordinary airline connections combine to make Honolulu, O‘ahu, the most accessible film-ready venue in the tropics. Hundreds of square miles can duplicate the looks of Africa, Central and South America and Southeast Asia.

Honolulu also provides support services that include direct shipping, transportation, rolling stock, aerial capabilities, catering and all the amenities of a major American city.

The Honolulu Film Office deals with projects of all sizes and provides free service and expertise. Beyond the photographic materials, the commission also helps the producers in getting valuable deals.

Incentives And Tax Credits

Apart from the spectacular locations and welcoming climate, the state of Hawaii offers amazing tax incentives that may be applied by film production houses.

15-20 per cent motion picture, digital media & film production income tax credit

This is a refundable tax credit based on a production company’s Hawaii expenditures while producing a qualified film. The credit equals 15 per cent of qualified production costs incurred on O’ahu, and 20 per cent on neighbouring islands (Big Island, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai).

What is the tax credit?

The credit is calculated as a percentage of qualified production costs incurred in Hawaii.

The credit shall be claimed against the Hawaii taxpayer’s net income tax liability for the taxable year in which the credit is properly claimed. If the credit exceeds net income tax liability, the excess of credits over liability shall be refunded.

The credit was established by Act 88 in 2006 and is effective July 1, 2006, through December 31, 2015.

The credit is administered by the Hawaii Film Office and the Hawaii Department of Taxation.

How much is the tax credit?

15 per cent of total qualified production costs incurred while filming on O’ahu.

20 per cent of total qualified production costs incurred while filming on a neighbouring island.

There is an $ 8 million cap per qualified production.

Who is eligible for the tax credit?

A company that produces a qualified production that spends a minimum of $ 200,000 in qualified production costs in Hawaii, and can be categorised as feature film (narrative, documentary, experimental, student), short film (narrative, documentary, experimental, student)

Which qualified production costs are used in calculating the credit amount?

Qualified production costs must meet all of the following requirements:

a. Costs that are incurred in Hawaii

b. Costs that are subject to Hawaii’s general excise tax or income tax.

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