Santa Barbara County is offering a new media production incentive program that is the first of its kind in California with the goal to encourage production companies to bring their projects to the area. The program is unique because it includes unscripted television, commercial and still photography, in addition to feature films and scripted television. Created by the Santa Barbara County Film Commission, this innovative incentive program provides a cash rebate for eligible productions that book a minimum number of room nights in specified areas of the County.
Film Commissioner Geoff Alexander says, “We’re incredibly excited about launching this program. By including still photography production, commercials, and unscripted television, we have created an incentives program which is entirely unique in the State of California. We believe that word will travel fast that Santa Barbara County wants this business.”
Santa Barbara County has always been a filming mecca, and in 2010 celebrated its 100th year of filmmaking. Before Hollywood, this coastal city was the hub of California’s film industry and home to the state’s first major movie studio, the legendary Flying A Studio (1910), and early pioneers during the silent-film era. Some well- known films to use Santa Barbara County as a backdrop include: The Ten Commandments (1923), The Graduate (1967), Seabiscuit (2003), Sideways (2004), Grindhouse (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean III: At World’s End (2007), There Will Be Blood (2007) and It’s Complicated (2009), which starred Santa Barbara as the setting for the film.
With a strong history of filmmaking, this new incentive program demonstrates the commitment that Santa Barbara County has to bringing production to the region. The program provides a cash rebate up to a maximum amount per project to qualified productions, with funding provided through a partnership between the Santa Barbara County Film Commission and matched by the Santa Ynez Valley Hotel Association. Productions qualify by housing crew at hotels in incentive zones and booking minimum numbers of room nights in these zones over the course of the production. The minimum room nights are determined by type of production as follows: still photography (50 room nights), unscripted television (50 room nights), scripted television (100 room nights), commercial photography shoots (100 room nights) and feature films (200 room nights). Incentive zones include
Santa Barbara County’s South Coast which consists of Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito, Santa Barbara and Goleta, and the Santa Ynez Valley communities of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang.
Projects are qualified on a first come, first serve, basis until all available funds have been utilized for the year. Permit fees qualify to be reimbursed as do fifty percent of California Highway Patrol or Police costs up to the maximum amount allowed per production. Production companies that are interested should contact Film Commissioner Geoff Alexander at 805.966.9222 or Geoff@FilmSantaBarbara.com, and visit the website www.filmsantabarbara.com/incentives-program.