State Tax Credit Attracts Major Players to Hawaii

Donne Dawson
Donne Dawson

Honolulu (KHNL) -- Hawaii is a long way from Hollywood, but could the islands one day become a major player in the film industry? It's possible, with events like the Hawaii International Film Festival, currently in progress, and a state tax credit that attracts filmmakers to the islands.

Act 88 has been in effect since July 2006. The state's film commissioner Donne Dawson says it's generated a lot of business for the state. The third installment of the Pirates of the Carribean was partially shot in Hawaii. A couple episodes of NBC's Las Vegas were also shot here. Both were lured by the tax incentive that is Act 88.

"They get 15% back on everything they spend on Oahu, 20% back on everything they spend on Neighbor Islands. That one is specifically to try and build up our infrastructure statewide," says Dawson.

"Pirates" of one of more than 30 productions that have applied for the tax credit so far, from major films, to television shows, to national and international commercials. Dawson remarks, "It puts Hawaii back on the map in terms of our competitiveness with other jurisdictions. We'd gotten to a point where we were losing productions as a result of not having meaningful tax credit."

Dawson says it's a big boost for the state's economy. "Close to $180 million in direct expenditures that is the result of a little more than 30 productions."

Why should this matter to you? "The film industry touches just about every industry in Hawaii." Act 88 sunsets at the end of 2015, but Dawson doesn't anticipate a problem in renewing it.