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August 18, 2003

Governor Signs Bill to Attract Film Industry Back to Illinois
New incentive expected to generate jobs

CHICAGO – On the set of Barbershop 2, now being filmed in Chicago, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed Senate Bill 785, which creates a new tax incentive designed to attract the film industry back to Illinois.


At its peak in 1999, film and television production in Illinois contributed an estimated $124 million to the local economy. Last year, the amount was a mere $27.6 million, a decrease of more than 77 percent.  In fact, since 2001, 18 films that were set in Chicago were actually filmed in Canada.


“From one of the first films ever made – The Tramp and The Dog – to Barbershop2, Illinois has provided the film and television industry a background for its work that mirrors the demographics and the geography of the nation.  From Cairo to Crystal Lake, Illinois has everything a film producer could want, except the ability to make a movie as cheaply here as they can in Canada and 24 other states,” said the Governor.  “The bill that I’m going to sign today will put an end to ‘runaway’ production and rejuvenate film and television production in Illinois.”


The new law provides a tax credit equal to 25% of the wages paid to Illinois residents working on television and film projects shot in Illinois.  In order to qualify, productions of 30 minutes or more will have to spend at least $100,000 on Illinois labor.  Other, shorter film productions may also qualify for the incentive.


The law is also expected to enhance the tourism industry in Illinois. For example, in Iowa more than 800,000 people have visited the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa, since the movie was filmed there in the late 1980s.


Joining the Governor at the bill signing ceremony were George Tillman and Bob Teitel – both graduates of the Columbia College film school – who have made several movies in Illinois, including Scenes for the Soul, Soul Food, Men of Honor, Barbershop and now Barbershop 2.


The bill was sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Dunkin (D-Chicago), Rep. Angelo “Skip” Saviano (R-River Grove) and State Senator Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago).

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