Honolulu Council Proposes Bill to Attract Film Companies

The Honolulu City Council proposed a bill to attract film companies (Bill 59, proposed by City Councilman Ogi Tulba). The goal is to revitalize the economy by attracting the film industry.

Attracting a production company will soon lead to jobs for workers in Hawaii’s media-related industries and college graduates.

Between 2017 and 2022, Hawaii’s film industry generated approximately $400 million annually and more than 4,200 jobs, Star-Advertiser reported.

The Blangeard administration has recommended several amendments to Bill 59 to express its goal of ‘attracting film production more clearly.’

For example, it involves installing a film production facility on a site of at least 10 acres over a period of five years, and the system for issuing a certificate of completion from the city’s Planning and Permitting Department.

It also includes establishing a 20-year building value exemption for production companies if they promote the economic expansion of the film and digital media industries on Oahu.

Andrew Kawano, director of the city’s Office of Budget and Finance, expressed hope that Proposition 59 would bring meaningful development to film studios on Oahu.

He then pointed out that Oahu’s current film studios are underdeveloped compared to other states or foreign countries, and raised the alarm that there is a risk that the film industry itself will disappear if appropriate measures are not taken.

Director Kawano added that even during the 20-year property tax exemption period, land tax will continue to be levied.

Zorya Skinner, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), said that based on the results of a 2016 survey, a study was completed to verify that Hawaii was a necessary location for film production.

He went on to explain that, despite this, it was difficult to realize due to the high cost and advised that government-level measures such as Bill 59 would be needed to ease the financial burden on film companies.

Meanwhile, Director Skinner informed that the University of Hawaii has officially proposed the development of a private film production facility to the University of West Oahu.

According to the university’s website, the site is surrounded by Farrington Highway, Kual Kai Parkway, UH West Oahu, and Hawaii Tokai International University and is approximately 34 acres in size.

State University recruited developers until October 13th and plans to announce the successful bidder on December 15th.