By Jared Jacob
Boston University News Service
Matt Damon and Casey Affleck were spotted in Boston this week filming a new project with a dual purpose.
Affleck took over Bova’s Bakery in the North End last week to film, and now this week, the pair was spotted around the city in places such as the City Hall Plaza and Back Bay.
Affleck and Damon’s upbringing in Massachusetts may play into their decision to film in Boston, but another factor that’s been bringing in big budget films is the Massachusetts tax initiative for film productions.
The tax initiatives came in 2006 with an initial end date of January 2023. However, the state legislature in 2021 voted on making the incentive program permanent.
One former voice of dissent, State Senator William Brownsberger, has changed his mind.
“I’m glad we reached a compromise and settled the issue,” Brownsberger said. “Stable tax rules are in everyone’s interest.”
In a statement from 2021, he shared frustration with how he says the system really works.
“The film tax credit is a form of extortion by the U.S. film industry,” Brownsberger said. “The film industry can play locations off against each other, taking their work to the state offering the best incentives and threatening to leave the minute another state makes a better offer.”
Others, like Chuck Slavin, the Massachusetts Film Industry Facebook group creator, disagree. Slavin believes every new film coming to Massachusetts brings more jobs and makes it that much easier for more and more studios to follow suit and film here.
“There’s a lot of infrastructure that goes behind the film,” Slavin said. With all the specialized jobs that go into film production the industry here in Massachusetts will continue to grow. “The more we flex our muscles when it comes to production, the bigger and stronger we get.”
Slavin said, “I 1000% absolutely, unequivocally believe that being able to network and connect with people and utilize social media has had a profound effect on the region… it’s really important when members of the community are able to network and to advocate and to share ideas.”
The prevailing opinion from Massachusetts legislators and industry advocates alike is that with more films shooting in this state, comes with more jobs and more revenue.
“In the past, a lot of people would, you know, go to school in Boston, and then they would go to LA or New York,” Slavin said. “Now I think more people are staying around and that’s helping us build a stronger community.”