HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Actors from Australia shot scenes at the state capitol on Tuesday as lawmakers advanced a bill to boost Hawaii's film industry. The stars of the TV drama "Home and Away" will be filming episodes in the islands all week.
A different storyline unfolded upstairs. The Senate Ways and Means committee advanced a revised version of a bill designed to attract more TV and film projects. It's now part of a measure related to business development in Hawaii.
"What does this come down to? Jobs, for everybody because when productions come down here, they spend a lot of money employing our people," said actor Branscombe Richmond.
The bill would enhance film production income tax credits, provide tax incentives for new infrastructure and offer rebates for crew training programs.
"I think that everybody believes that film production and creative industries are an important mission for the state. It's just how we get there, and we have to make sure that fiscal impacts are in line because we have a tough year ahead," said Georja Skinner, Creative Industries Division administrator.
Hollywood-based Relativity Media flew in celebrities last month like Cuba Gooding Jr., Zach Braff and Adrian Brody to voice their support. The company also offered to build two production facilities in Hawaii if the new tax incentives become law.
"Right now they're coming strictly for the palm trees, the blue skies, and the blue waters, but they're leaving to do all the other stuff everywhere else. You know, you can do it right here," said Richmond.
The revised measure heads to the full Senate next week. The House Finance committee is scheduled to hear a companion measure tomorrow.