Why CT was a hub for seasonal movies

From independent feature films to streaming classics, filmmakers have flocked to Connecticut in recent years to realize their vision. Recent productions to come through the state include Netflix’s Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, The Good Nurse, starring Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain, The Noel Diary, The 12 Days of Christmas Eve directed by Kelsey Grammer, and Candlewood, based on the urban legends surrounding New Milford .

Though the question still remains: What’s keeping filmmakers from returning to Connecticut?

The answer lies in the state’s enticing tax breaks, as well as a central location that reaches most major cities in the Northeast, according to filmmakers who have recently shot in the state.

“We really enjoyed our time there”

It’s no secret among filmmakers that they enjoy their time in Connecticut. In a previous interview with Stephen King’s “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone director John Lee Hancock, the director praised his work in the state, adding that while searching for the Lockwood-Mathews home in Norwalk, he found optimal locations in the area that suited the feel of the film. “We really enjoyed our time there,” Hancock said. “There were many places within a short drive.”

“If I remember going to Lockwood [Mathews Mansion] and as I was walking around, … there was a particular study that was probably a bit too small but had a conservatory with plants behind it, and I was like, ‘This is it. Mr. Harrigan will be sitting here and this will be the setting,'” Hancock said. “If you look at it with the lights on at certain times of the day, it’s a bit scary.”

Actress Jessica Chastain leaves the home used as the set for upcoming Netfix film The Good Nurse on Friday, April 23, 2021 in Stamford, Connecticut.  Chastain uses the umbrella to protect her hair between takes.

Actress Jessica Chastain leaves the home used as the set for upcoming Netfix film The Good Nurse on Friday, April 23, 2021 in Stamford, Connecticut. Chastain uses the umbrella to protect her hair between takes.

File / Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

The ability to turn Connecticut locations into either a winter wonderland or a haunting nightmare is also bringing Hallmark and horror films to the state. Greg Nutcher, a Connecticut actor and former location manager for several Hallmark and Lifetime films, affirmed that Connecticut is a prime place for filmmakers to realize their vision.

“Any Hallmark Christmas movie can be shot in Connecticut and look like it could be filmed pretty much anywhere in the country,” Nutcher said in a previous interview, adding that the diverse landscapes and state tax incentives are reasons why filmmakers keep coming back to Connecticut.

“Connecticut provides a beautiful look for our films and we’ve had amazing experiences in the past,” said Michelle Vicary, Hallmark Channel’s EVP of Programming & Network Program Publicity, in a previous interview with Hearst Connecticut.

The state’s attraction for filmmakers is rounded off by its central location to major metropolises such as New York and Boston.

“We actually share our film crew workforce with New York, and the union crews have three-state jurisdiction: Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey,” said George Norfleet, director of the Connecticut Bureau of Film, Television, and Digital Media previously Interview with Hearst Connecticut. “So there’s no harm in being close to New York, and when you can hop on the train at Grand Central Station and be in Stamford in 40 minutes, it makes photographing in this area of ​​the state extremely appealing.”

Connecticut actor Greg Nutcher.

Connecticut actor Greg Nutcher.

Contributed by Greg Nutcher

Financial benefits of filming in Connecticut

Connecticut offers competitive tax credits for productions taking place in Connecticut. Productions with budgets between $100,000 and $500,000 can expect a potential 10 percent tax credit, while spends between $500,000 and $1,000,000 can expect a 15 percent tax credit, according to the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development . Productions over $1,000,000 can expect a 30 percent tax credit.

Eligibility to receive these tax credits depends on three factors: at least 50 percent of the principal photography days are performed in the state, at least 50 percent of the post-production expenses are spent in the state, or at least $1 million of expenses are spent in the state during post-production.

Animation productions are similarly structured in terms of tax credits. However, to receive the tax credit, animation production must have a studio in the state and “employ at least 200 full-time employees in the state.”

Tents are set up in the parking lot and large trucks line the road "The good nurse" will be filmed on Thursday, April 15, 2021 in Stamford, Connecticut.

Tents are set up in the parking lot and large trucks line the street where The Good Nurse is filmed on Thursday, April 15, 2021 in Stamford, Connecticut.

Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media

Although productions such as films, television series, and video games are all eligible for the tax credit, some forms of media that are not eligible for the credit include informal commercials, live programming, and “any production involving current events, sporting events, or an awards ceremony or other gala”. Event.”

An eligibility application must be completed no later than 90 days after the first eligible expenditures of the production in the state and the application must include information such as a detailed production budget, screenplay, application form, and “Certificate of the Legal Existence of the State from the Secretary of State of Connecticut.”

There are also a number of rules regarding the use of the tax credit voucher, including a stipulation that the studio “must file a final tax credit application within 90 days of the end of the company’s annual tax period or 90 days of the last qualifying production expense.”

“That’s extremely competitive compared to what New York and New Jersey offer in terms of their offerings [tax credit] for film, television and digital media production,” said Norfleet. “But it’s no use having great incentives if you don’t give your production the right look. We offer both and we’re happy to be able to do that.

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