Inclusion and Economic Growth Take Center Stage at Diversity in Film and Television Production Forum
Jose Lozano, President & Chief Executive Officer for Choose New Jersey, discusses efforts to expand New Jersey's film and TV industry.
NEWARK, N.J. (March 20, 2019) – State and local officials joined a wide array of film and television industry leaders in Newark to discuss diversity and inclusion in New Jersey’s film industry at today’s Diversity in Film and Television Production Forum. Speakers including First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, and Senator Loretta Weinberg addressed attendees on the current state of New Jersey’s film production industry, tax credits and other resources available to productions filming in New Jersey, and additional incentives designed to promote diversity and inclusion in film and television hiring practices.
“New Jersey has one of the most diverse workforces in the country and it is critical that we ensure everyone has access to new opportunities, especially women and minorities who have been shut out in the past,” said Hester Agudosi, Chief Diversity Officer with the New Jersey Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “Today’s forum showed how we can stimulate economic growth and support industries that create new jobs without losing our focus on building a fairer, more inclusive economy.”
The forum featured a range of speakers and panelists, including elected officials, agency leaders, and film industry experts from Paramount Pictures, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, Warner Media, and the Motion Picture Association of America, who discussed the current state of the film and television industry in New Jersey as well as strategies for attracting more productions to the State and encouraging diversity and inclusion on set.
“New Jersey has everything a production company needs: scenery ranging from tranquil beaches, to bucolic farmland, to bustling urban centers; a hardworking and diverse workforce; and robust infrastructure. Companies recognize this, which is why interest in producing films and television programs in New Jersey is at an all-time high,” said New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way, one of the event’s featured speakers. “Today was an important step forward in our efforts to build a robust New Jersey production industry that is stronger, more inclusive, and allows for long-term, sustainable growth.”
One topic that came up frequently throughout the day was the New Jersey Film Tax Credit Program, which is administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). Signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy last summer, the program aims to rejuvenate New Jersey’s film industry by providing a 30 percent tax credit against corporate business tax and gross income tax for qualified film production expenses and a 35 percent credit for goods and services purchased through vendors located in targeted areas of the state. To qualify for the credits, a film must spend at least 60 percent of its total budget in New Jersey or incur more than $1 million qualified production expenses in the state.
The program also includes a bonus tax credit of 2 percent of qualified film production expenses aimed at encouraging companies to develop a diversity plan for the recruitment and hiring of women and minority persons in their productions. The NJEDA will review these diversity plans in collaboration with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Plans approved for the diversity bonus may receive the credit upon completion if the production company can demonstrate a good-faith effort to undertake the strategies and meet the goals of the approved plan.
“Promoting diversity by creating new opportunities for all New Jerseyans is a critical part of Governor Murphy’s plan for a stronger, fairer economy,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The Film Tax Credit Program will contribute to building a stronger film and television production industry in New Jersey by creating new opportunities for our State’s diverse workforce.”
To read Governor Murphy's full economic plan, please visit: https://nj.gov/economicplan
About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.
To learn more about EDA resources for businesses call EDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.gov and follow @NewJerseyEDA on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.