The Oregon Film Incentive Process

The first step to determining if your project qualifies for one of Oregon Film’s incentive programs is to contact the Oregon Film office. More specifically start with the Executive Director, Tim Williams (tim@oregonfilm.org, 971 254 4021).

The second step is to give us some information about your project. Things like –

  • What type of project is it?
  • Why would you like to shoot in Oregon?
  • What’s your budget and what is your in-state spending?
  • What parts of your production will be done in Oregon?

You can also reference What Incentive it Right for Your Project? and access tools like our Project Flow Chart to determine how/if/where your project fits. You can also have a look at all of Oregon’s Film & Media Incentives via this article on our site.

From here we review a budget to give you a more detailed sense of what our requirements are, what qualifications your project may or may not have and, perhaps most importantly, what programs does your project possibly qualify for and what is the estimated rebate(s) for your project. We will do this work for you and, if you are working in a Movie Magic or Showbiz Budgeting format, we will “tag” your budget and add “Apply Credit” line items so that your Oregon rebate can be automatically tracked as you update your budget. In addition we will let you know if funding is currently available in our OPIF program as that program is capped at $20M per year and often runs out. We can generally complete a detailed budget review and give you detailed feedback within a week.

Both the OPIF and Greenlight Oregon programs do not sunset until 2030 and the OPIF program is capped each year at $20M. No single project can receive more than 50% of the OPIF fund in any fiscal year.

It is important to note that Oregon requires a third party payroll company for all of your labor payments. This is required in order for us to verify the proper payment of crew and their associated taxes/fringes/benefits as well as required coverages such as workman’s compensation insurance. It also acts as a third party audit of those costs and expenses. Payments to individuals (as opposed to companies) for regularly working crew (with call times, e.g. so-called “independent contractors” or “1099 payments”) do not always qualify for the Oregon incentive. All regularly called “employees” need to paid via a payroll company in order to qualify for the Oregon incentive and to comply with Oregon Labor Law. You can find out more about the difference between a “contractor” and an “employee” via this article on our site.

If your project qualifies and there are funds available and you are interested in producing your project in Oregon, we will then take you through our applications and start the process of completing these online forms. Your application should be completed in the company name that is both the producing entity of the project and the legal entity that will be receiving the incentive payment after the audit is complete. There’s no reason to complete an application for any of our programs until we have done all of the above steps. We don’t want anyone to complete an application if the project doesn’t qualify or if there are not any funds available in the OPIF program. That said, we will do all that we can to help you find a path to producing your project here in Oregon.

After a completed application and all required supporting documents are received we can then generate contracts for your project and officially hold funding in the qualified programs. Your OPIF contract will have a capped incentive amount listed. This amount is determined by our budget review process and should be enough to cover the spending we have seen projected in your production budget. This process generally takes a day or two as well.

Once all of this is completed we then encourage all productions to arrange a call with us to go over the expectations and accounting tracking we will be looking for in the audit process. This can take place once your accounting team is in place but it should happen as early in your pre-production process as possible.

Then it is on to your production phase. During this time we would like to be added to your callsheets (not to share but so that we can answer any questions that come to our office in an educated manner) and we are available for any questions that will undoubtedly come up. If you find that your project is spending significantly more money in Oregon than we had estimated you can return to us with an updated budget. We will then determine the additional amount of incentives that may be required and weigh that against what funding is available in the OPIF. If additional incentive amounts are both warranted and available then your project’s contracted incentive amount can be updated via a formal contract amendment.

Once all of your spending has been completed in Oregon that’s when we can start organizing your paperwork for our audit process. You can find out more about those formats and requirements in our Oregon Incentive Audit Requirements article. But, in a general sense, we will be looking for a payroll report from a third party payroll company and excel spreadsheets of both your AP and PC cost reports.

Our audit process generally takes 4-6 weeks from the time we receive all of the required documentation and receipts in the proper formats. We can often complete this faster if the documentation is well organized and is limited just to Oregon spending.

Once the audit is complete we will confirm the amount with you and go through the options of payments. It is important to note that the incentive payment will be made to the applicant company listed in the contract.

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