Runaway productions find tax incentives may be less than stellar

For years, the closest the city of Holland, Mich., got to big time show business was its annual Tulip Time Festival. That all that changed in April 2008 when the state enacted a film and TV incentive package highlighted by a refundable tax credit of up to 42% of in-state production spend and a 25% tax credit for film and digital media infrastructure investments.

Shortly thereafter, TicTock Studios set up shop in a downtrodden neighborhood on the south side of town and started churning out low-budget films, first "Tug," starring Haylie Duff, then "Milk" screenwriter Dustin Lance Black's directorial debut "What's Wrong With Virginia," starring Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris. Today, it occupies 10 structures within a two-block radius, including an old office building that has been turned into production and casting offices and a rundown transmission shop that has been cleaned up, painted bright red, and transformed into prop shop.

"It almost has that feel of an old Hollywood backlot, where everyone is milling around on bikes and golf carts," says TicTock CEO Hopwood DePree, a Holland native who spent a decade and a half in Hollywood as a struggling actor, writer and director before returning in 2007. 

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Film Business, Filmmaking


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