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Giuliani film heads to Canada; N.Y. not happy

November 07, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — With a movie about former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani set to start shooting in Montreal today, a Brooklyn congressman called for tax credits to offset the Canadian film industry's competitive advantage.

"Today, somewhere in Canada, USA Network is making a movie about the mayor of New York," Rep. Anthony Weiner said Wednesday. "I guess they're going to show him watching baseball games at the [Toronto] SkyDome, or eating pommes frites rather than eating at Patsy's."

Members of the Screen Actors Guild and other film industry unions joined Weiner, a Democrat, in front of City Hall to urge federal legislation that would provide producers with a 25% tax credit for wages if they film in the United States.

"What we have to do is level the playing field between ourselves and these other countries," said former SAG President Richard Masur.

Canada offers wage-based incentives that can cover 35% of labor expenses. Entertainment industry executives estimate that those credits have cost the United States 25,000 jobs and $10 billion annually for each of the last three years.

The two-hour Giuliani movie, "Rudy!," is the latest example of the trend. It's based on Wayne Barrett's biography and stars James Woods in the title role.

Weiner, who is co-sponsoring the U.S. Independent Film and Television Production Incentive Act, said New York's film industry has been particularly hard hit since Canada implemented tax credits in 1998. California legislators also have discussed ways to offer filmmakers wage-based tax credits for filming here.

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