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Film Fest morphs to Film City Center

With DeFrancisco were Owen and Christine Shapiro, festival board members Cleveland Hughes, Gail Cowley, and Bill Haug, and the City's director of public affairs Dennis Brogan. The festival board's new chair, Hughes will also co-chair with Cowley Film City Center's development team, with Bill Haug as continuity director.

Beyond Film City Center's start-up grant, the budget bill triples the percentage of qualified film production costs eligible for the credit from 10% to 30%. Contacted after Saturday's press conference at his Syracuse office, DeFrancisco's chief of staff Deanna Cohen provided details of the Film Tax Credit Expansion, which also extends the tax credit program to 2013 (it was scheduled to expire in 2011) and increases the amount that can be awarded under this credit during a calendar year from $60 million to $110 million over a six-year period. The credit cap will elevate to $65 million in 2008, $75 million in 2009, $85 million in 2010, $90 million in 2011 and 2012 and $110 million in 2013.

On Saturday, DeFrancisco went on to recall, "Five years ago we had some goals, that Syracuse would be a center for film nationally and maybe some from around the world. Look what's happened. Then about a year ago Owen and Christine and Cleveland Hughes and Dennis Brogan came to me with a concept of encouraging people to make film here. I thought that was kind of aggressive, that it was a nice dream. Then I found out some participants in the film fest were interested in coming back to make films here. We needed two components, a non-profit entity and also a way to make it profitable in New York State for filmmakers. Dennis Brogan kept reminding me about tax credits. So, we have tripled the benefit for filmmaking in the state. The main beneficiaries would be New York City but now Syracuse is part of that too. Now Syracuse, Rochester, parts of the Hudson Valley will all benefit."

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