SAG/AFTRA Campaign Helps Garner "Runaway Production" Bill in Illinois

SAG/AFTRA Campaign Helps Garner "Runaway Production" Bill in Illinois

SUNDAY, June 1 -- Working closely with SAG and AFTRA’s Chicago offices, the Illinois legislature last night passed new wage-based incentive legislation designed to encourage more film and television production in the state of Illinois. According to SAG/AFTRA Chicago Executive Director Eileen Willenborg, “This legislation will generate hundreds of new jobs for our members and millions of dollars to the local economy.” SB 785 creates the Film Production Services Tax Credit Act, which allows for a credit of labor expenditures made by an entity for film or television production in Illinois. Effective January 1, 2004, a producer spending $25,000 on wages for actors living in Illinois, for example, would be eligible for a credit of $6250.

“Like similar legislation, the Tax Credit Act encourages producers to produce work in Illinois with resident actors and other crew members. However, it is unique among other bills in that it also covers commercials as well as feature films and television shows,” explained Willenborg. “In Chicago, commercial work creates the foundation for our vibrant acting community. This is often their ‘bread and butter.’

“This would not have happened without the persistence of the Illinois Production Alliance, and the support of Governor Rod Bagojevich, who embraced our efforts early in the campaign,” said Willenborg, who sits on the IPA board. The Film Production Services act was included as the Illinois legislature finalized its budget for the coming fiscal year and adjourned their spring session.

“The Chicago offices of SAG and AFTRA have provided an excellent illustration of the power of everyone working together,” added AFTRA Executive Director Greg Hessinger.

The Illinois Production Alliance was developed in part through the efforts of AFTRA, SAG, the Directors Guild, IATSE and others in Chicago in October 2002 and includes trade associations, labor unions, production companies, post production companies, vendors and support businesses, freelance crew, and educational institutions among its membership. Chicago’s AFTRA/SAG office represents approximately 5,500 members working in all aspects of film, television, Internet, radio and new media production.

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