Governor Bob McDonnell today announced a 15.7% increase in employment in the Virginia film industry. The data comes from the release of the Economic Impact of Major Film and Television Productions Shot in Virginia Between 2011 and 2013 report by Magnum Economics. The report details the impact of the state's film incentive program, enhanced in 2010 to attract film and television productions to the Commonwealth. Virginia's program uniquely combines a commonly used film tax credit with the Governor's Motion Picture Opportunity Fund. By combining these tools, the state effort has created jobs, added revenue and delivered international advertising for Virginia.
The report concludes that eleven projects received $11.8 million in incentives and spent $66.4 million in the state - generating a total economic impact of $139.1 million. The projects included Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, the documentary dramas Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy for the National Geographic Channel, Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks for Sony Pictures and television pilots Company Town for CBS and Turn for AMC, among others. The report further concludes the benefit/cost ratio of the incentive investment was 11.8 to 1; meaning for every incentive dollar provided, $11.80 was returned to Virginia's economy.
Governor McDonnell commented, "Our administration has been committed to helping the private sector create new jobs in the Commonwealth, and the film industry is a success story in this effort. Since we increased funding in the Governor's Motion Picture Opportunity Fund and enacted tax credit legislation, employment in the Virginia film industry has increased 15.7 percent, after a previous decline of 9.5 percent. These numbers demonstrate the kind of positive results a targeted film incentive program can have for Virginia."
Film Office Director Andy Edmunds noted, "11.8 to 1 is a superb value for Virginians, but that does not even tell the whole story. Added-value we have uniquely incorporated into our incentive program is buying advertising for Virginia as a tourism destination. Killing Lincoln for example produced and broadcast a commercial promoting the Commonwealth that was seen in over 170 countries."
The study further reports significant collateral contributions made by the film industry in Virginia. The industry significantly benefits small businesses having an average of seven employees. Film jobs provide some of the highest wages in the state with an average weekly salary of $1,277.00, which is 23 percent above the average weekly wage for all other industries. There are currently 32 public and private colleges and universities in Virginia providing film-related education. The growth in the state's film industry provides graduates from these programs with the opportunity to stay in the state and work, rather than relocating to other more active areas. Finally, a healthy and thriving film industry has a strong positive impact on travel and tourism, as has been demonstrated in Virginia with such popular film and television projects as Lincoln, Killing Lincoln and HBO's John Adams.
The film industry in Virginia plays a significant role in the state's economy. In 2011, total economic impact of the film and television industry in Virginia was $394.4 million, a 14.5 percent increase over 2010. In addition, 3,817 jobs were attributed to the film industry in 2011, up from 2,651 jobs in 2010.