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The Commonwealth of Virginia is a US state on the Atlantic Coast. Virginia is nicknamed the ‘Mother of Presidents’ as eight American Presidents were born here and it is sought-after by filmmakers owing to the diversity it offers.

On the cards is Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, which will film scenes in Petersburg and Richmond later in 2011. Apart from that, two sequels of the famed Mission Impossible had scenes from Virginia.

Virginia Beach Boardwalk is one of America’s Best Beach Boardwalks and isn’t actually made out of boards at all. It’s a concrete walkway that is more than 3 miles long. Starting at 3rd Street and continuing along the ocean to around 39th street, the boardwalk offers everything from oceanfront restaurants to picturesque landscapes to 40 hotels with oceanfront rooms.

West Virginia is home to some of the most beautiful places in the country, from the Appalachian Mountains to the Ohio River, which, by volume, is the largest tributary of the Mississippi River. Ohio is a beautiful river providing amazing scenery for 981 miles. The Middle Ohio River Valley has its own charm with many small towns. Many large tributaries enter the Ohio River on the lower section. These include the Wabash River, Cumberland River and Tennessee River.

Five scenic drive locales make for interesting backdrop for shoots, especially during the fall and spring. These are Skyline Drive, Colonial National Parkway, Blue Ridge Parkway, The Crooked Road and the unforgettable journey through Hallowed Ground.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located in the states of North Carolina and Tennessee, encompasses 800 square miles, of which 95 per cent are forested. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a paradise on earth, with over 1,600 kinds of flowering plants found in the park.

Tax Incentives for Filming

Virginia’s motion picture incentive package comprises two separate performance-based incentive funds: The Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund and the Virginia Motion Picture Production Tax Credit. Additional incentives include a sales and use tax exemption and lodging tax exemption.

Virginia Production Incentive

Virginia has instituted an incentive programme designed to support the state’s film production industry, while making the filming experience in Virginia as economical and efficient as possible for production entities. The incentive package includes grants, tax credit, a sales and use exemption and lodging tax exemptions.

In 2010, Virginia’s General Assembly approved $2.5 million in tax-credit funding for the biennial budget of 2011-12. In 2012, the funding increases to $5 million for the biennium.

The amount of money allotted to the Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund varies from year to year. To be eligible for Virginia tax credit, a production company must make a best-faith effort to shoot at least 50 per cent of the principal photography in the state and spend at least $2,50,000 in qualifying expenses in Virginia. There is no minimum spend for the grand programme.

Every project receiving the grand must contain a ‘filmed in Virginia’ credit and ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ logo as part of the final production. All projects must be fully funded and be ready to begin production within 90 days of receiving confirmation of funding.

The Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund

The Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund provides a grant or rebate to qualified projects. Filmmakers must have all their funding in place and apply for this grant before production begins. This fund has a $2-million appropriation for the biennium. Current funding is already committed. However, applications for projects slated to begin production after July 1, 2011 are being accepted.

Virginia Motion Picture Production Tax Credit

The Virginia Motion Picture Production Tax Credit is in effect now. The funding level is $2.5 million. To apply for the fund or the tax-credit programme, complete the incentive application and return it to the Virginia Film Office no later than 30 days before filming is scheduled to begin.

Sales And Use Tax Exemption

Many of the expenses incurred on the purchase of production-related supplies or equipment are exempt from the state’s 4 per cent sales and use tax. This exemption is realised immediately and can be obtained by submitting a form to the merchant at the time of sale.

Some of the major items covered by the Sales and Use Tax Exemption include purchasing and developing film including movie film; materials used to construct costumes, props or scenery; equipment rentals; heating and air conditioning used on the set; scripts, musical scores or storyboards; drafting and design supplies.

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