These 5 US States Offering Big Incentives for Filmmaking

Filmmaking can be quite costly, with the average short film requiring a budget of $700 to $1,500 per minute. Naturally, full-length movies are even more expensive. Often, movies receive funding from different sources like bank loans, private financing, and grants. Understanding tax credits can lead to cost savings for productions, making it easier to undertake a large film project.

Each state in the U.S. provides tax benefits to filmmakers to support in-state movie productions, which can positively impact the local economy. Incentive packages differ from state to state, but many offer production rebates that lower the costs of creating movies, TV shows, and commercials in certain states. Independent filmmakers benefit from incentives that attract potential investors. Investors are often attracted to soft money (funds that don’t need to be paid back) because there is a risk of a low return on investment.

States Offering Big Incentives for Filmmaking


Hollywood is widely regarded as the film capital of the U.S. due to its pleasant weather and varied scenery, which are perfect for shooting movies outdoors. One of California’s most significant and profitable industries is filmmaking, which provides employment for over 700,000 individuals and generates nearly $70 billion in wages. Over the last five years, the state has generated nearly $21.9 billion in economic contributions, with an estimated cost of $1.5 billion to taxpayers through California’s Film and Television Tax Credit 2.0 Program.


Georgia is recognized for its prominent international airline hubs, but another industry is also proving to be profitable for the state. In 2020, Georgia successfully produced 234 TV and film productions despite global production shutdowns. Georgia was the first state to create a “best practices” outline for TV and film production during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the efforts of the Georgia Film Office. Georgia has been the filming location for well-known movies like “Avengers: Endgame,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” and “Black Panther.”


Shooting a film in Kentucky is cost-effective due to the state’s attractive film incentives, making it a top choice for filmmakers in the U.S. Kentucky established its film incentive program in 2009, with incentives initially set at 20% of spending. In 2015, lawmakers raised the percentage to 35% for Kentucky residents and 30% for out-of-state workers. Throughout the years, Kentucky has been chosen as the filming location for productions like “Mom and Dad” featuring Selma Blair and Nicholas Cage, and “The Stand-In” starring Drew Barrymore.

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Thanks to Louisiana’s favorable climate and attractive tax breaks, the state’s film sector has been able to generate employment opportunities and foster new enterprises. Louisiana offers a variety of filming locations along with large soundstages and multiple post-production facilities. Louisiana residents can benefit from an extra 5% incentive for payroll, which is advantageous for both workers and the local economy. From Shreveport to New Orleans, Louisiana has been the backdrop for TV shows like “Queen Sugar,” “NCIS: New Orleans,” and movies like “Girls Trip.”

New Mexico

New Mexico has emerged as a popular location for filming, attracting significant investment and boosting the state’s economy through tax incentives. When filmmakers shoot projects in New Mexico, they can receive a 25% tax rebate. New Mexico also achieved a significant victory with Netflix’s decision to enlarge the studio in Albuquerque.

While the details of the infrastructure plans are still being worked out, there have been reports indicating that the studio is expected to be finished by 2023. Netflix’s new action-thriller “Trigger Warning,” featuring Jessica Alba, is among the recent movies filmed in New Mexico. The sixth season of the “Breaking Bad” spin-off “Better Call Saul” was also filmed in the state.

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