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TIFF: Producer Todd, Saraf Join Tax Experts For Special Web Presentation

From Left to Right: Jennifer Blitz, David Carter, John Hadity, Peter Saraf, Kim Todd, moderator Joe Chianese. Photo credit: Christos Tsirbas/

On September 11, 2014, Variety 411 in partnership with Entertainment Partners, Producers Guild of America and Association of Film Commissioners International kicked off the fall with a special webinar presented at the Toronto International Film Festival.

A standing room only audience came to King Street’s “The Spoke Club” to hear panelist Kim Todd (producer, “Fargo”), Peter Saraf (producer, “The Kings of Summer”), Jennifer Blitz (Ontario Media Development Corporation), David Carter (President, Canada Film Capital) and John Hadity (EVP, EP Financial Solutions) discuss recent changes shaping film and television incentives in many of today’s leading international filming locations.

The panel was expertly led by Joe Chianese, EVP, EP Financial Solutions, who kicked of the event by addressing recent developments leading to increased funding in the California production incentive landscape. By the year 2020, California will have an allotment of $300 million per year to distribute. It will do away with the lottery system that has hindered so many productions to date, and TV content will not be limited to “basic cable” but will be expanded to all TV content. Additionally, the cap on big budget films will be expanded to a $100 million dollar budget. Chianese asked both the producers and tax experts to share some viewpoints on these changes. Carter and Blitz were confident that the changes wouldn’t have a major impact on films coming to Canada, stressing “there’s enough work to go around.”

While Todd felt it wouldn’t affect her decision to continue shooting in Canada, Saraf was in favor of the changes, stating the lottery system was “the most damaging” aspect of the former system. Not knowing if a production would qualify fifty-one weeks into a 52 week fiscal cycle made it extremely risky to consider California for a low budget production. Saraf did express concern regarding the consideration of the yet to be defined “job ratio” clause, which he felt would work to a greater advantage of larger studios who are able to employ more people for their productions.

In addition to discussing changes and developments in the US, the group discussed the healthy incentives in many Canadian provinces. Carter spent some time discussing the growing rate of VFX companies in Canada and extended post production incentives which includes 35% of contracted spend returned for utilizing Canadian based Post Houses.

Todd discussed the three key elements that swayed “Fargo” the series from utilizing Minnesota locations: incentives, greater probability of snow and direct flights to Los Angeles. Hadity discussed some recent changes in New York, along with Ireland and the UK. Joe wrapped up the presentation with an overview of Europe and a highlight of the 20 stage facility that is being erected in China that may have a major impact on production in the near future.

The webinar is now archived and may be viewed at any time. To watch the presentation, please visit: