News Release As Published by the California Film Commission
California’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program Adds DiCaprio’s Big-Budget “Akira”
Latest Tax Credit Allocation Includes 18 Film Projects Estimated to Generate $408 Million in
Qualified Spending; More than Half Plan to Film Outside the L.A. 30-Mile Zone
Hollywood, Calif. – April 2, 2019 – The California Film Commission today announced that 18 film
projects, including the big-budget “Akira,” have been selected for the latest round of tax credits under
the state’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program 2.0.
Together, the projects (10 non-independent, eight independent) will generate an estimated $408 million
in qualified expenditures (defined as below-the-line wages and payments to in-state vendors). Overall
in-state production spending will be significantly greater than qualified spending with the addition of
above-the-line wages and other production expenditures that do not qualify for tax credits under
Based on data provided with each tax credit application, the projects announced today will employ an
estimated 2,575 crew, 812 cast, and 29,000 extras/stand-ins (the latter measured in “man-days”) over a
combined 740 shoot days in California.
Set in Tokyo in the year 2060, Warner Bros.’ Leonardo DiCaprio produced “Akira” will generate an
estimated $92 million in qualified spending. This figure includes $43 million in wages to 200 below-theline
crew members and more than 5,000 extras/stand-ins. With a tax credit reservation of $18.5 million,
the project is scheduled to film entirely in California over the course of 71 filming days.
“We are thrilled with the opportunity to shoot ‘Akira’ in California,” said Ravi Mehta, Warner Bros.
Pictures EVP of physical production and finance. “The availability of top-notch crew members, plus the
wide variety of location choices and predictable weather are second to none.”
With the addition of “Akira,” California has attracted a total of 13 big-budget feature films under
Program 2.0. Such large projects were targeted specifically by California’s expanded tax credit program
due to the significant boost they provide to the economy.
“Big-budget film projects bring big employment and big spending, and we’re able to bring them home to
California more cost-effectively than other locales that don’t have all that we have to offer,” said
California Film Commission Executive Director Amy Lemisch.
“Akira” is just the latest in a growing list of big-budget film projects that have found California offers the
best value despite the availability of more aggressive financial incentives in other states and nations (see
“Program 2.0 Big-Budget Films” list below). It’s also one of a growing list of California tax credit films to
bring production jobs and spending to regions across the state.
More than half (10 out of 18) of the projects announced today plan to shoot outside the Los Angeles 30-
Mile Zone. They are on track to spend 279 filming days in counties statewide. Topping the list are Tucker
Tooley Productions’ “Flying Horse” with 50 filming days in Sacramento, and the teen drama based on
Jandy Nelson’s novel “The Sky is Everywhere” with 40 filming days in Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Marin,
and Alameda counties. For the projects announced today, California will double for locales ranging from
post-apocalyptic Tokyo to small-town Texas.
“This latest round of tax credits demonstrates how Program 2.0 enables indie and studio
projects to remain in California and tap our unmatched talent and infrastructure,” Lemisch
added. “The filmmakers represent diverse projects that will shoot in locations across the state
– from Napa Valley and Lake Tahoe to San Diego county.
To date, 37 feature film projects accepted into Program 2.0 have filmed outside the Zone (see “Program
2.0 Out-of-Zone Films” list below).
A total of 55 film projects applied for tax credits during the February 25 – March 1 application period.
The complete list of selected projects is provided in the chart below titled “Program Year 4 – Allocation
#6 Conditionally Approved Projects.”. The list is subject to change, as applicants may withdraw from the
program and their reservation of tax credits is reassigned to one or more other projects currently on the
The next application period for feature film tax credits will be held June 17-21, 2019.
How Projects are Selected and Awarded Tax Credits under Program 2.0
Projects approved for California tax credits are selected based on their jobs ratio score, which ranks
each project by wages to below-the-line workers, qualified spending for vendors, equipment, etc., and
other criteria. The top 200% ranked projects in each round (i.e., those that would qualify if double the
amount of funding was available for the current allocation round) are evaluated, and those with the
highest-ranked jobs ratios receive tax credits. Those not selected are placed on the waiting list. The
program allocates funding in “buckets” for different production categories, including non-independent
films, independent films, TV projects and relocating TV series. This allocation system enables applicants
to compete for credits directly against comparable projects. As has been the case since the state
launched its first-generation tax credit program in 2009, the California Film Commission awards tax
credits only after each selected project: 1) completes post-production, 2) verifies that in-state jobs were
created, and 3) provides all required documentation, including audited cost reports.
About California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program 2.0
In 2014, the legislature passed a bill that more than tripled the size of California’s film and television
production incentive, from $100 million to $330 million annually. Aimed at retaining and attracting
production jobs and economic activity across the state, the California Film and TV Tax Credit Program
2.0 also extends eligibility to include a range of project types (big-budget feature films, TV pilots and 1-
hr. TV series for any distribution outlet) that were excluded from the state’s first-generation tax credit
Other key changes include replacing the prior lottery system with a “jobs ratio” ranking system that
selects projects based on wages paid to below-the-line workers, qualified spending (for vendors,
equipment, etc.) and other criteria. Program 2.0 also offers an additional five percent tax credit for nonindependent
projects that shoot outside the Los Angeles 30-mile zone or have qualified expenditures for
visual effects or music scoring/track recording. The five-year Program went into effect on July 1, 2015
and is currently in its fourth fiscal year (2018/19).
More information about California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program 2.0, including application
procedures, eligibility and guidelines, is at http://www.film.ca.gov/tax-credit/.
About the California Film Commission
The California Film Commission enhances California’s status as the leader in motion picture, television
and commercial production. It supports productions of all sizes/budgets and focuses on activities that
stimulate and preserve production jobs, spending and tax revenues in California. Services include
administration of the state’s Film & Television Tax Credit Program, permits for filming at state-owned
properties, an extensive digital location library, location assistance and a range of other productionrelated
resources and assistance. More information is available at http://www.film.ca.gov.
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Contact: Erik Deutsch, ExcelPR Group (for the California Film Commission)
(323) 851-2455 direct / (310) 597-9245 cell / email@example.com