Watched the Oscars? Here's some filmmaking news that will have you seething:
Florida lawmakers are considering an incentive package to attract film and entertainment jobs to the state. Productions with "nontraditional family values," however, would be ineligible. State Rep. Stephen Precourt (R-Orlando), who introduced the bill, said that films depicting gay families should not get the tax credit, reports the Palm Beach Post.
Gov. Charlie Crist agreed, defining "traditional" families as those with a married man and woman. (Someone should tell him that according to the 2000 U.S. Census, less than 25% of all families in the U.S. consist of a married, opposite-sex couple living with their own (biological or adopted) children.)
The bill (HB 697) was approved unanimously last week in the House Economic Development Policy Committee, and is apparently a priority for Republicans as part of their promise to create jobs.
Not everyone who wants to limit the tax credit to "family-friendly" films agrees with Precourt about the definition of family values. Some say that limiting the tax credit to "G-rated" films is enough. It is also unclear whether the language about "nontraditional family values" would make it through the state Senate version of the bill. Still, this type of thing sets my teeth on edge.
Below, the relevant section of the legislation. "Nontraditional family values" are lumped in with smoking, sex, nudity, gratuitous violence, and vulgar or profane language. There go my hopes of selling a screenplay that's a sort of Heather Has Two Mommies meets Pulp Fiction.
Family-friendly productions.--A certified production determined by the Commissioner of Film and Entertainment, with the advice of the Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Council, to be family-friendly, based on the review of the script and the review of the final release version, is eligible for an additional tax credit equal to 5 percent of its actual qualified expenditures. Family-friendly productions are those that have cross-generational appeal; would be considered suitable for viewing by children age 5 or older; are appropriate in theme, content, and language for a broad family audience; embody a responsible resolution of issues; and do not exhibit or imply any act of smoking, sex, nudity, nontraditional family values, gratuitous violence, or vulgar or profane language.