Netflix, Showtime to film series in Mass.
New productions come on heels of Castle Rock
A PANEL DISCUSSION exploring the benefits of the state’s film tax credit turned into a press conference of sorts on Tuesday when a couple of the panelists disclosed new series coming to shoot in Massachusetts.
Gary Crossen, the general manager of New England Studios in Devens, said Netflix will be filming a series at his facility starting in July and running through January. He said he was not at liberty to disclose the working title of the series or other details yet.
Dawn Richard, a set dresser from Fitchburg, disclosed that she is about to begin work on the second season of SMILF, a Showtime comedy series developed by Frankie Shaw about a mother from South Boston. Richard said the pilot was filmed primarily in Boston and the first season was shot primarily in Los Angeles, but the show is now going to film in Boston.
Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn criticized SMILF in February, calling for posters promoting the show to be taken down. Flynn called the show a “degrading crude, and inaccurate portrayal” of life in South Boston. “I’m tired of Hollywood making a profit off of these abysmal shows that in no way capture the real lives, character, and contributions of the people of South Boston,” he said at the time. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Series are a huge deal for the state’s film industry because they typically employ a lot of people, spend a lot of money, and stay for an extended period of time. Hulu, for example, shot the 10-episode series Castle Rock in Massachusetts between August 2017 and January 2018. New England Studios was the primary base for filming but scenes were also shot in 16 other Massachusetts communities, including Orange, which served as the fictional Maine town of Castle Rock. Castle Rock, which is based on Stephen King stories, is expected to air this summer.
Alex Berard, an assistant location manager who worked on Castle Rock and was one of the panelists at the State House event on Tuesday, said the series would spend about 12 to 14 days shooting each episode, with three to four days spent in Orange.The state’s film tax credit was approved in 2006 and took its current form in 2007. The credit allows producers of films, TV shows, and commercials to recoup 25 percent of whatever they spend in Massachusetts in the form of cash.
The Department of Revenue, which has analyzed film spending in Massachusetts, has published a number of studies indicating the state gets little economic bang for the bucks taxpayers spend on the tax credit. But Sen. Sal DiDomenico of Everett, who hosted the panel discussion, said he is convinced the film tax credit brings in more revenue to the state than goes out. He said the problem is that it’s difficult to track all the expenditures.