Isle film officials credit tax incentive for boom
HILO » Filmmaker Steven Spielberg was reluctant about returning to Hawaii because the islands already served as backdrop for his "Jurassic Park" series and "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Following a worldwide search, Hawaii was cast again, this time as a South American rain forest in the fourth installment of "Indiana Jones."
"We've had a lot of success shooting in the Hawaiian Islands," said Kathleen Kennedy, executive producer of the still untitled film. "I think once we started looking at the various locations and logistics involved in going other places, it just made sense to come back here."
The state is experiencing a film boom after a three-year dry spell of major motion pictures. Besides "Indiana Jones," which is wrapping up production on the Big Island, Ben Stiller's "Tropic Thunder" is being filmed on Kauai. Earlier this year the romantic comedy "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" filmed in Hawaii.
"It's been the busiest we've had in a long time," state Film Commissioner Donne Dawson said.
She said Hawaii's TV and film industry this year could break the banner year in 2004 when a record $164 million was spent, mostly from the three network TV series. Of the group, only ABC's castaway drama "Lost" has survived.
Industry officials say a major reason for the increase in activity is the state's new tax credit -- known as Act 88 -- which boosted the state's 4 percent production tax credit to 15 percent on Oahu and 20 percent on other islands.
Twenty-seven productions that are expected to spend $127 million have applied for the tax credits since the program began July 1, 2006.