The Montana film industry experienced its strongest production year in history in 2020. The MEDIA Act, enacted in July of 2019, drove production volumes to new heights in 2020. Before the state has issued a single tax credit, over $100 million dollar has poured into Montana’s economy and local businesses. In its short existence the MEDIA Act has proven to be an effective mechanism to drive production into the state with a net-positive impact to state revenues. Unfortunately, the current limitations of the statute are creating a snowbird economy, in which the majority of the economic value of these productions is briefly imported and then exits when the production wraps. Based on its early success, Montana Film Coalition has introduced House Bill 340 which recommends the following changes to the MEDIA Act:
The existing $10 million annual cap is sufficient for only 3-4 significant productions per year. Removing the current cap altogether will eliminate constraints on production capacity, allowing the industry to grow organically, and an in-state workforce to be established. Additionally, the removal of the cap will be a signal to capital sources that investment in the requisite production infrastructure can be made.
Include non-scripted content and documentaries in defined list of qualified production types
The MEDIA Act currently provides incentives for production only. However, post-production is a critical and highly tech-focused component of the movie/tv making process. By including post-production, Montana would be encouraging the growth of audio & visual technology skills in the state.