Giuliani Film's Location Protested
from The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- With a movie about former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani set to start shooting in Montreal on Thursday, a Brooklyn congressman called for tax credits to offset the Canadian film industry's competitive advantage.

“Today, somewhere in Canada, a network called USA Network is making a movie about the mayor of the city of New York,” Rep. Anthony Weiner said Wednesday. “I guess they're going to show him watching baseball games at the SkyDome or eating pommes frites rather than eating at Patsy's.”

Members of the Screen Actors Guild and other film industry unions joined Weiner, a Democrat, in front of City Hall to urge federal legislation that would provide producers with a 25 percent tax credit for wages if they film in the United States.

“What we have to do is level the playing field between ourselves and these other countries,” said former SAG president Richard Masur.

Canada offers wage-based incentives that can cover 35 percent of labor expenses. Entertainment industry executives estimate that those credits have cost the United States 25,000 jobs and $10 billion annually for each of the past three years.

The two-hour Giuliani movie, “Rudy!,” is the latest example of the trend. It's based on Wayne Barrett's biography and stars James Woods in the title role.

A spokeswoman for USA Network had no comment on the protest. Sunny Mindel, a spokeswoman for Giuliani, also declined comment.

Weiner, who is co-sponsoring the U.S. Independent Film and Television Production Incentive Act, said New York's film industry has been particularly hard hit since Canada implemented tax credits in 1998. He said total gross budgets for feature films in New York state dropped from $695 million in 1999 to $167 million in 2001.

California legislators also have discussed ways to offer filmmakers wage-based tax credits for filming in that state.

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