MOVIE MONEY ($1 Billion in Rebates, Refunds & Credits are…Apply)


In 1997 Canada, specifically Toronto (which doubles for USA cities), opted to compete for Hollywood Money by offering 25% rebates/refunds to any production that was to-be-shot in cities like New York, Chicago, or Boston, or Philadelphia, or Baltimore, etc.

And, if a production company instead of shooting in an East Coast USA city opts to (A) shoot in Toronto, (B) take the 25% rebate ($10M production is a $2,500,000 refund), (C) bring 2 American actors, (D) call it an American movie but (E) shoot 99% of the scenes in Toronto, (F) hire Canadians (no language barrier), (G) rent Canadian equipment, (H) eat Canadian food, etc., and with a 2nd Unit (budget $25,000), (I) shoot the establishing shots in the USA city (New York, Boston, Baltimore, Phillie, etc.) and save $2,475,000 ($2,500,000 less $25,000)…

Voilla! Runway Productions.

(“Eastwood was about to shoot “Gran Torino” in Minnesota but as soon as Michigan implemented a refund program he shot it, budgeted at $33 Million, in Detroit.”)


Once again: A $10,000,000 Feature, that is supposed to take place in Philadelphia, but is shot 99% in Toronto gets a $2,500,000 rebate and needs a 2nd Unit to go to Philadelphia to get 15-20 Establishing Shots (Rocky jogging the steps in victory) that costs maybe $25,000.


Shoot in Philadelphia; the movie costs $10,000,000 to make.

Shoot in Toronto, call it Philadelphia, save $2,475,000 ($2,500,000 less $25,000) and the movie costs $7,525,000 to make.

Hmm? Very interesting.

No Brainer. Hollywood goes to Toronto.

Thus, started runaway productions.



Runaway Productions started with Toronto and expanded to Vancouver (Looks like West Coast USA cities), Calgary/Alberta/Edmonton (Looks like Middle America cities), Halifax (Looks like New England States), etc. and then Australia, Hungary, New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia, etc…. and now, thanks to Wanda in Qingdao (40% rebates)… even China.

Hollywood is still Hollywood, that is the corporations, but the actual shoots have left for the corresponding nation, states or territories that-looks-like-America and offers a 25-40% Rebate, Refund, Grant or Tax Credit.


(40%, at a minimum, of each Hollywood budget is now being funded via a rebate, refund, grant or tax credit from states and nations… Now, imagine shooting Interiors in one nation, Exteriors in another nation,  Post-production in another…and you can see how Hollywood geniuses are getting 75-85% of a movie’s budget covered from a combination of these programs.”)

Voilla! Runaway Productions.

However, around 2005, once runaway productions became norm, the corresponding cities or states in America, that lost these shoots to those nations or territories, started competing with their own 25-40% Rebates, Refunds, Grants & Tax Credits.

Hollywood, the corporations (Warners, Paramount, 20th, HBO, Showtime, etc.), loves this for they now have American states competing with nations, with financial incentives, via Rebates, Refunds, Grants & Tax Credits for their shoots.

Today, rebates, refunds and tax credits have replaced lost DVD Revenues and decreased Cannes Pre-Sells for financing feature films and with respect to China (see below) it is about to be another golden era… and I still am not talking about the new monies coming from FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) that are loaded with cash and desire market share.

(“My “DVD FILM SCHOOL” details Rebate, Refund and Tax Credit programs, how to apply and how to obtain… at“)


It’s literally a golden era in funding for entrepreneurs (aka: Producers) who know how to combine this Canadien Province program (Exteriors), with that American program (Interiors), with this Foreign program (Post-Production, VFX), etc and upon combining they have figured out how to get 60-85% of a movie’s budget from cities, states, provinces and nations.

Now, how about you?



Of the 50 States in America, the 10 Canadien Provinces and approximately 30 Nations the best 8 film funding programs are…

(1) NEW YORK: $420,000,000 per year.

Offers 30% of a movie budget’s costs. 189 films were approved.



(2) CALIFORNIA: $330,000,000 per year

Attracted 11 out-of-state projects and, of course, funded Hollywood in Hollywood.



(3) LOUISIANA: $210,000,000 per year

Offers a great Tax Credit of 30%, plus bonus 10% for resident payroll.



(4) ILLINOIS:  $499,000,000 per year

Offers a 30% Tax Credit, plus 15% bonus if shoot is within a high unemployment area.



(“My “STREAMING FILM SCHOOL”, at $89-149, is the most affordable way to learn about government funding programs….plus Screenwriting, Directing, Shooting, Editing…”)


(5) GEORGIA: $320,000,000 per year

20% Tax Credits plus 10% bonus if a 3-second shot of State’s logo, Georgia Peach, is shown.



(6) NEW MEXICO: $397,000,000 per year

Offers 25% Tax Credit for features and 30% Tax Credit for tv.



(7) TORONTO-ONTARIO: Almost unlimited

Offers 35% and more. Wow!




“Hollywood North” Offers 33% and has 2 million square feet of studio space.




(9) QINGDAO: $750,000,000 per year

The biggest development in international incentives (Australia, Canada, Hungary, Mexico, Brazil, etc.) is about to come from China where in the city of Qingdao, China’s wealthiest real estate baron, Wang Jianlin, has built one of the world’s largest movie studios with 15 massive soundstages and been bankrolled by the regional government to attract shoots with a 40% rebate.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: If Qingdao offers 40%, what do you think Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and China’s other regions (34 Provinces, 4 Municipalities & 5 Autonomous Regions) will offer to compete with Wanda in Qingdao.

The China movie gold rush is about to get bigger.

Coming to a theater near you… “PANDA CHOPSTICK MASSACRE: Part 6”


Happy Filmmaking,

Dov Simens



20-HOUR (Live, DVD or Streaming) FILM SCHOOL 

Please, don’t waste $200-300K at a 4-year theory laden Film School.

My programs are perfect. They’re all facts, void of theory, quick and affordable

Enroll. Graduate… Write-Produce-Direct!

Next “HOLLYWOOD (2-Day) FILM SCHOOL” sessions are August 18-19 and December 8-9, 2018.



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5 comments on “MOVIE MONEY ($1 Billion in Rebates, Refunds & Credits are…Apply)”

  1. John says:

    Dov: when are you coming to NY?

  2. Edward Baldwin says:

    Dov! This Edward Baldwin I’m a long fan of you and your 2 Day Film School DVD and your updated part 1,2 DVD. I just got your book “Reels and Deals” which is all very helpful.

  3. jedidiah manowitz says:

    and there are arrogant idiot libtard places like maryland that said they were not going to compete and saw the high rated ongoing tv production boosting baltimore move away to another city and also stopped getting any new films or tv production.

    these days govt has to compete with lower taxes or people will just go somewhere else.

    maryland also boosted the tax on millionaires and saw a large portion of them just move to a state with lower taxes.

    it does not cost them a penny to lower taxes and fees on film production. any tax revenue is a total net gain even if it is lower than they wished it were. the alternative is to get nothing.

    plus the local jobs and spending on accommodations and food etc are a big boost even if there is no tax revenue.

  4. Donna says:

    GHz k uou for this article. But from experience many states will not apply tax credits without funding in place.

  5. Henry Larry says:

    What an eye opening revelation about the intricate web of incentives shaping the global film industry. It is fascinating to see how various regions compete for Hollywood attention through creative financial strategies.
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