Alaska may not be able to afford generous film subsidies

  • Saturday, January 31, 2015 10:43pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Low oil prices could prevent Alaska from being able to afford to dole out generous film subsidies, Gov. Bill Walker said.

“The film-credit issue is one that we might not be able to afford going forward,” he said Friday.

The director of the Alaska Film Office warned in an email to a group of television and film producers that their subsidy applications will probably be rejected in light of the state’s fiscal situation.

“I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but as a courtesy, I want to tell you that you should reconsider applying for the Alaska film credit,” film office director Kelly Mazzei wrote in the email, which was provided by Walker’s office. “Unfortunately, Alaska is experiencing a critical budget deficit with the extremely low cost of oil and Alaska being an ‘oil’ state.”

The correspondence says that even if a production is “good in content and meets most of the criteria,” it’s probable the film commission won’t find it to be in the best of interest of the state. It encourages applicants to reconsider submitting an application with the non-refundable fee.

“I apologize for this bad news and we definitely appreciate your interest in Alaska as a filming destination,” the email said.

It’s not clear how big-budget submarine thriller “Hunter Killer” will be affected, KTUU-TV reported.

Pre-production was expected to begin this month in Whittier. Producers have said the subsidy factored in the decision to film in Alaska.

Walker said no decision has been made to stop the program.

Revenue Commissioner Randy Hoffbeck said subsidy applications will be accepted for review, but film credits will have to be weighed against Alaska’s $3.5 billion spending deficit. He could not comment on whether “Hunter Killer” had been approved or rejected for a subsidy.


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