Jason Momoa and his ‘Chief of War’ team throw support behind film tax credit bill

Hawaii-born actor Jason Momoa can now add lobbyist to his titles.
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 5:38 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2023 at 9:05 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii-born actor Jason Momoa can now add lobbyist to his titles.

He’s supporting a bill at the Legislature to raise the tax credit cap for movie and tv productions.

Senate Bill 1495 would would increase the annual cap for the tax credit. Momoa and the producers of his upcoming tv drama are hoping lawmakers ultimately approve it.

In December, Momoa was on the set of his upcoming Apple TV epic series “Chief of War,” reportedly in Kalapana and preparing for a battle scene.

Now the crew is filming in New Zealand, but took time out to testify at the Legislature to support raising the tax credit cap on film and tv productions from $50 million to $75 million annually.

Momoa submitted online testimony showing he supports the bill.

“Just for Jason to support this, this is his film that he’s always dreamed about,” said Brian Keaulana, “Chief of War” producer.

“I think it’s huge. Jason Momoa is a superstar now and he’s a product of our people,” said Archie Kalepa, “Chief of War” canoe consultant.

Keaulana and Kalepa spoke to Hawaii News Now as they were on the road in New Zealand and say bigger tax credits for the film industry mean more productions in Hawaii and more local jobs.

“To survive, we had to go to Aotearoa to survive for this, but by lifting the tax credit, it would give us the opportunity to keep us guys at home,” said Keaulana.

Officials say roughly 600 people were hired for “Chief of War” when it filmed in Hawaii.

“To lift a cap and to raise it, anything any opportunity we have is opportunity,” said Angie LaPrete, “Chief of War” producer.

Senate committee lawmakers passed the bill, but also wanted more assurances that productions are hiring as many local people as possible.

“I think we’ve gotten to a point where we’ve got to figure out how this film industry tax credit benefits local people first and the industry second,” said State Sen. Glenn Wakai (D-Majority Floor Leader).

The bill still has a long way to go in the legislative process.

Meanwhile, producers hope “Chief of War” will air in 2024.