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Virginia's tax incentives once again lure Hollywood

Randall Wallace, who directed "Secretariat" in Virginia, will return to the commonwealth to direct "Point of Order." (Photo: Associated Press)
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ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - Virginia’s tax-friendly terms for the entertainment industry appear to have helped lure another film production to the state.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday that “Point of Honor,” an ABC/Amazon television pilot, will begin shooting next month in central Virginia.

The potential series is about a family divided near the beginning of the Civil War.

“Once again the Commonwealth will serve as the perfect palette to tell the story of this important part of American history,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “We appreciate the opportunity to welcome Randall Wallace home to Virginia."

Wallace, the project's director, is a graduate of E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg. “Point of Honor” was co-written by Carlton Cuse, executive producer for the TV series “Lost.” Wallace directed the 2010 film “Secretariat.”

“Point of Honor” was developed for ABC in 2011 but more or less stalled until Amazon entered the picture. Industry analysts say the company wants to tap into the successful formula that has been used by Netflix.
Another successful formula, at least as far as luring productions such as this to Virginia, is tax breaks.

Said Virginia Film Office Director Andy Edmunds: “We have been working with Randall Wallace since he came to Virginia to research “Secretariat.” A lack of competitive film incentives at the time prevented him from being able to film that legendary Virginia story in Virginia. I couldn’t be happier that we are finally able to bring Randall back to his home state for a ground-breaking new media project such as this one.

“The economic impact for Virginia should it become a series will be significant."

Several years ago, Virginia’s House of Delegates voted to boost the state’s limit on refundable corporate income tax credits for the film industry from $5 million every two years to $25 million.

Too, McAuliffe’s “Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund” gives him a yearly $2 million for enticement.

In the governor’s announcement, it said “the exact amount (of the opportunity fund) will be based on how much money the production spends within the state, and certain deliverables to promote tourism in Virginia. In 2012 the economic impact of the film and television industry in Virginia totaled $328.4 million and provided 3,061 jobs with $50.5 million in tax revenue.”

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