Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund
The Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund (GMPOF) is administered by the Virginia Film Office, a division of the Virginia Tourism Authority, and is designed to attract and support the film, television and video industries in Virginia by providing grants for companies that produce projects in the Commonwealth using Virginia workers, resources, goods and services. Grants from GMPOF are sometimes combined with Virginia Motion Picture Production Tax Credits to provide an incentive package on par with Virginia’s competition.Discretionary , VTC
The Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund (GMPOF) is administered by the Virginia Film Office, a division of the Virginia Tourism Authority, and is designed to attract and support the film, television and video industries in Virginia by providing grants for companies that produce projects in the Commonwealth using Virginia workers, resources, goods and services. Grants from GMPOF are sometimes combined with Virginia Motion Picture Production Tax Credits to provide an incentive package on par with Virginia’s competition. Films such as Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and television shows such as the AMC series TURN: Washington’s Spies are typical examples.
More than 40 states provide film incentive funding. The industry is highly coveted due to the economic impact created across all sectors of a local economy, high- wage jobs and the potential for lasting added value economic benefits. Also, these programs do not deliver a dime to a production until they have already spent an audited dollar.
Virginia’s annual incentive pool, $8,900,000 GMPOF and tax credits combined, is very modest compared to other competing states.
Annual available pool of incentives:
GA –$250,000,000 No cap
PA – $60,000,000
LA – $180,000,000
NY – $420,000,000
Unique to Virginia
Virginia has a unique approach to its program. Projects receiving funding are often required to participate in initiatives designed to benefit Virginia tourism. Production companies partner with the Virginia Tourism Authority on promotional ventures that usually involve broadcast ads or promotional footage on DVDs. This results in millions of dollars of financial value added to the basic economic impact of a project. No other state has leveraged this strategy better than Virginia.
From FY 2011 to FY 2015, 21 projects received grants from the Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund with the following results:
- 21 projects received $8.8 million in GMPOF grants.
- These projects generated $101.2 million of qualified spending in Virginia.
- The total economic impact of was more than $245 million, a return of 12:1.
- More than 6,900 Virginia residents were hired for these projects.
The Motion Picture Association of America has reported that, in 2013, the domestic film and TV industry contributed $130 billion to the American economy. Film and television production is a major industry worldwide, and therefore an industry worth cultivating in Virginia. Most industries are located in one particular area of the state, but because of the nature of film and television production, the industry is not tied to a specific location but is spread throughout the Commonwealth and can have a wider benefit statewide.
In Summary, Virginia’s film incentive funding (GMPOF and Motion Picture Production Tax Credits) of approximately $20.5 million from FY 2011 to FY 2015 had a total economic impact of more than $245 million, with a return of 12:1.
In 2011, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln was filmed in the Richmond and Petersburg areas. This biographical film starring Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln was nominated for 161 awards and won 111, including two Academy Awards. Lincoln received $1 million from the Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund and $2.5 million in Virginia Motion Picture Production Tax Credits. The project was a popular and critical success, and its popularity helped to bring travelers to the state, with a significant impact on Virginia tourism. The Virginia Tourism Authority, partnering with the cities of Petersburg and Richmond, created a coordinated marketing program surrounding the film’s release. All saw significant traveler interest directly attributable to the film. Following are the impacts of Lincoln:
- Total direct expenditures for local hires, goods and services were $32.4 million.
- Total economic impact was $68.6 million.
- The project hired more than 1,600 Virginians.
- During production, Lincoln accounted for more than 23,500 hotel and motel room nights and spent $1.85 million on accommodations.
- The value of news articles and stories that mentioned “Lincoln” and “Virginia” was estimated to be $64 million (this is the amount it would have cost to purchase equivalent advertising space).
- The production company also created a promotional video about Virginia which was included on all BluRay versions of the film, and distributed internationally. The advertising value of this promotional video is estimated to be $200 million.
The Virginia Film Office worked on bringing Lincoln to the Commonwealth for nine years.
TURN: Washington’s Spies
The AMC television series TURN: Washington’s Spies is based on the true story of a band of young colonials who worked as spies for George Washington during the Revolutionary War. As of February 2016, three seasons of the series have filmed in the Commonwealth. Season 1 (including the pilot episode) received $1.1 million in GMPOF funding, and $6.1 million in tax credits. Season 1 of this series brought the following economic benefit to Virginia:
- Direct spending in Virginia was more than $25 million.
- Total economic impact was $57.5 million.
- Total Virginians hired exceeded 550.
- The benefit/cost ratio was 8:1.
Because of its historical content, TURN has great potential to bring travelers to Virginia’s historic sites. The Virginia Tourism Authority, in cooperation with AMC, has created a marketing campaign designed to use the popularity of the series to attract visitors. A significant part of this campaign features a broadcast ad promoting Virginia tourism that was created by AMC as part of their incentive agreement. This broadcast ad, promoting Colonial Williamsburg and other Revolutionary sites, aired more than 30 times during Season 1. These ads would have otherwise cost Virginia Tourism Authority more than $700,000.