An optimistic film industry prepares for the day productions can resume in Hawaii

Updated: Apr. 28, 2020 at 5:29 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the state tries to recover from the financial meltdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Hawaii’s film industry hopes to help jump-start the economy.

The state's film commissioner, Donne Dawson, said there are roughly two dozen productions on hold, including commercials, TV series and feature films.

She believes that once business resumes, Hawaii will be an attractive destination since producers may be inclined to go to places where the outbreak wasn’t severe.

“I’m talking to people right now from the major studios that are wondering and waiting when we’re going to open our door again because they have projects that they want to send here,” said Dawson.

She said the top priority for the industry, and for the studios in particular, is coming up with strategies for safe work environments.

“Just having the proper protocols in place to deal with on-set hygiene and testing, and making sure that there are very specific protocols that are followed,” she said.

The film industry provided more than 4,000 jobs and generated a record $477 million in direct spending in Hawaii in 2018, according to Dawson.

She said in order to successfully restart production in the state, the industry’s tax credit, which has an annual rolling cap of $50 million, must be kept intact even if the state faces budget cutbacks.

Dawson added that the Hawaii Film Office needs to maintain its core team in order to handle permits and tax credits.

“With film production, you can immediately get those dollars pumped into the economy, you can provide those jobs, and you can do it in a very tightly controlled environment,” she said.

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