News & InfoEP StoreAcademySupportCommunityProducts by Country
Blog Home

Building on Oregon’s Cinema Legacy

How improved tax Incentives, job training, and production infrastructure is expanding the filmmaking industry in the Pacific Northwest.
July 19, 2022

Joseph Chianese

Photo of Mt. Hood, blog title

Tim Williams, Executive Director at Oregon Film, is taking the legacy of filmmaking in the Pacific Northwest to new heights. While it may seem that Oregon is a new filmmakers’ destination, Oregon’s rich filmmaking history dates back to the first feature-length film, ‘The Fisherman’s Bride’ in 1908, just as the silent-film era took off. For the next twenty years almost 50 silent feature films were shot in Oregon, including one of the greatest silent films of all time, ‘The General’ (1926) starring the iconic Buster Keaton. Today, Oregon is building on this history with increased tax incentives to capitalize on its growing world-class talent and production resources.

Oregon’s wide-reaching appeal covers the gamut of entertainment: TV, feature films, commercials, visual effects, animation, and beyond. The location also makes it an ideal destination, as Williams explains, "The terrain is second to none. You have oceans, mountains, snow, rivers, deserts. We have the landscape, talent, and resources of Canada, but you don't need a visa and you don't need to go through customs. It's easy to work here and then get back to LA quickly.”

Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Goonies,’ ‘Wild’ starring Reese Witherspoon, and NBCUniversal TV series ‘Grimm’ are just a few of Oregon’s notable projects, but one of the best kept secrets? Oregon is home to several of the top stop-motion production houses in the world.

Academy Award-Winning Director, Guillermo del Toro, in partnership with Netflix, chose to create his upcoming stop-motion film, ‘Pinocchio’ in Oregon. Del Toro worked with stop-motion animation studio Shadow Machine, who recently expanded their studios from LA to Portland and are known for hits like ‘BoJack Horseman’ and ‘Robot Chicken.’ Another leading stop-motion studio just outside of Portland, Laika ('Coraline,' ‘Boxtrolls,’ ‘Kubo,’ ‘Two Strings,’) is soon to release ‘Wildwood,’ based on the young adult fantasy series by Colin Meloy.

pinocchio new.jpg
'Pinocchio' (2022) / Netflix

Storytelling is rooted in Oregon’s history as Williams explains, “If you look at the films that come here to Oregon, you’ll notice they celebrate story, location, character, and a kind of quirkiness. We know what we do well, and we really want to maximize that.”

Oregon’s newly increased tax incentives

During the pandemic, Governor Kate Brown saw the film industry thrive in Oregon as more and more productions came in from out of state; even long-running reality cooking competition ‘Top Chef’ filmed their 18th season there. Brown, recognizing filmmaking as one of the leading pathways to economic recovery, worked with Williams to increase funding and push forward legislation to invest in the future of Oregon’s filmmaking culture.

Like Oregon, many states and jurisdictions across the globe have and will benefit from growth in the entertainment sector, as shown in the Olsberg S.P. I economic report, Global Screen Production – The Impact of Film and Television Production on Economic Recovery from COVID-19. To learn more about this impact study, you can also watch our recent Master Series episode featuring Jonathan Olsberg, Leon Forde, and report contributors producer, Steve Clark-Hall (‘Sherlock Holmes’; ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’), and former AFCI President, Jess Conoplia.

Solidifying the commitment to grow the film business in Oregon, newly increased tax incentives will go into effect this month, through two main programs: 

  • The Oregon Production Investment Fund (OPIF): Productions receive a rebate of 20% for in-state labor and 25% for goods and services bought or rented from Oregon registered companies.
  • Greenlight Oregon Labor Rebate program (GOLR): Productions received a 6.2% rebate on payroll labor costs.

Both programs are available to projects spending more than $1M in the state of Oregon (no minimum number of episodes or shoot days required).

OPIF, combined with the GOLR fund, offers productions non-transferable cash rebates totaling 26.2% on payroll labor, including the 25% cash rebate on goods and services bought or rented from Oregon registered companies.

Within the OPIF program, two additional incentive programs are available for smaller projects: the “local” OPIF (or L-OPIF) and the “regional” OPIF (or R-OPIF).

  • L-OPIF can be utilized by projects spending less than $1M (with a minimum spend of $75k) in the state. To qualify, projects must be produced by a local producer or production company and utilize at least 80% Oregon residents among crew members and actors.  
  • R-OPIF is available to any OPIF or L-OPIF participating project that is shooting some or all its production outside of the Portland Metro Area.

The OPIF program is capped each year at $20M. Williams encourages all interested parties to contact the Oregon Film Office about the application process early, and send a budget estimate so they can get a projection of rebates to weigh against the project’s schedule and the available funds in the OPIF program. Out-of-state productions have access to this funding if they register their company with the secretary of state, and physically shoot the entire production within Oregon.

Film, TV, Interactive games, documentaries, and animation all qualify for OPIF incentives, except for commercials, which only GOLR covers.

Participating projects that film outside of Portland may receive additional financial boosts through the Regional Oregon Investment Fund (R-OPIF) and the Oregon Made Creative Foundation, a grant, incubator, and job placement program.

Building Oregon’s workforce

Packed with production resources, new funding avenues, and adaptability to the changing entertainment industry, Oregon is giving new storytellers the opportunity to enter the Hollywood scene without the pressure to move to bigger production hubs.

“You don't have to hire locally through our programs, but everybody does,” explains Williams, “I would say every project over the last ten years has hired between 85-96% local crews, because not only is it cheaper to hire locally, but their skills are on par with the crew on the coasts.”

Williams, who worked as a producer for 25 years in LA, New York, and London, knows that it takes a team to get things done. He’s a proponent of working in partnership. Much like departments on a film set, he and the small team at Oregon Film partner with other organizations throughout the state to propel ideas forward, including Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA), IATSE 488, Portland Film Office, Oregon Made, and Outside the Frame.

monster in the woods-GRIMM-NBC.jpg
'Grimm' (2011) / NBC

And diversifying and educating a new workforce are leading to unique perspectives that Hollywood is lacking. Oregon Media Pathways aims to train and place future filmmakers from historically underrepresented communities, and Outside the Frame trains and places homeless and at-risk youth from Portland to jumpstart their careers in film, giving them a sense of purpose through the craft of storytelling.

After training through Outside the Frame, “Production companies interview these graduates,” explains Williams. “Once the company hires someone from the program, we [Oregon Film] subsidize that placement so the production doesn’t have to add on to their budget to include them. So, these youth become part of their call sheet, they become part of their payroll, and they become insured by that company.”

These young filmmakers, with a unique worldview, receive paid placement in an entry level position they might never have had access to without the financial support, training, and mentorship to help them get there.

The future of filmmaking in Oregon

One of Oregon’s popular production hubs, Vision Stages, located in Troutdale, opened just before the pandemic started in 2020. It is a locally operated 36,000 square foot space where HBO’s, ‘The Rehearsal’ by Nathan Fielding filmed. Its popularity continued to grow as producers sought larger spaces outside of the usual coastal hubs, ensuring crews and actors could stay healthy. Today, the stage continues to be a go-to space for studios and indie producers alike, and is just another example of how Oregon is expanding filmmaking resources to accommodate industry growth in the state.

Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie in 'Leave No Trace' (2018) / Bleeker Street

When it comes to filming in Oregon, William notes that the productions which tend to do well are, “$8-$15 million feature films and medium-to-small budget episodic features that are character-driven pieces.” Indie projects like ‘Leave No Trace’ by Academy Award-Winning writer/director Deb Granik (‘Winter’s Bone’), and episodic television like ‘Grimm’ (NBC), ‘Portlandia’ (IFC/AMC), and the recent ‘Trinkets’ (Netflix) have also capitalized on the resources and terrain that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

To experience the full impact of Oregon’s film history, guests can tour 32 iconic film locations around the state though the Oregon Film Trail, and see where classics like ‘The Goonies,’ ‘Stand by Me,’ and ‘Animal House’ rolled their cameras.

According to Williams, “The Oregon Film Trail is driving tourism around the state and reminding everyone that storytelling and filmmaking has been part of Oregon culture for a very long time. We're supporting an industry that was born here, and we need to claim that.”

To find out if Oregon is the best location for your next project, and to connect with Tim Williams, visit EP’s Oregon Production Incentives page for a comprehensive overview of all this gorgeous state has to offer.

Topic: Spotlight

Related Content

Los Angeles Times logo-sq

Hollywood production in U.K. soars to record levels as crews complain of burnout

Spending on film and high-end television shoots reach record-breaking amounts as production activity...
EP Blog_SQUARE_filmmaking in new mexico

Forging the Future of Filmmaking in New Mexico

As the film industry expands in the Southwest, New Mexico leads the region as top destination thanks to...
Oklahoma route 66 sign

A New Frontier in Filmmaking

Oklahoma is becoming a production destination, thanks to new incentives and infrastructure programs.

Behind the Boom: Why the UK is a Hotspot for Production

Explore the generous industry incentives, talent, and infrastructure available to productions filming in...

Film Community and Industry Jobs Grow in Washington State

Thanks to new funding and a continuous effort by Amy Lillard, Executive Director of Washington Filmworks,...
Western Canada

Production Tax Incentives in Western Canada Every Producer Should Know About

Alberta and Manitoba offer film and TV productions competitive tax incentive programs and versatile...

Film Industry Booms in Buffalo

Western New York draws top filmmakers with expanded tax incentives, new soundstages, and architectural...
EP Blog_SQUARE_New US Incentives 2022

New US Film Incentives Introduced in Arizona, Indiana, Florida, and West Virginia

As production continues to boom, new tax credits and other programs welcome industry to new locations...
EP Webinar Panelists - US Production Incentives Update

US Production Incentives Update: New and Expanded Programs in 2022

Film commissioners Colleen Bell and Sandy Lighterman, and production executives Jay Roewe and Ashley Rice,...
5 Master Series panelists discussing Atlantic Canada production incentives-square

Production Incentives Update: Atlantic Canada

Learn how productions can benefit from newly expanded incentives in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador,...
Canadian flag flying over Quebec City

5 Reasons to Consider Canada for Your Next Production

Here's why Canada deserves a spot on every producer's shortlist.
Topic: Canada
EP Blog_SQUARE_International Film Financing

The Beginner’s Guide to International Film Financing

What to know before you begin an international financing plan.

UK Production Incentives All Producers Should Know About

Don't miss out on the UK's tax incentives, special programs, and national and regional funding...

Preparing for Year End: Focus, Find, and Fix!

EP's payroll tax experts share best practices to identify and resolve payroll tax errors for a smooth year...

Special Report: Entertainment – A Hollywood Education

It’s the best of times and the worst of times for employment in the entertainment/streaming industry.
EP Blog_SQUARE_Streaming service

Streaming Services Expand to Latin America and New Audiences

SVOD providers look to Latin America as a gateway to global stories and new subscribers
Changes to UK right to work checks

Important Changes to UK Right to Work Checks

On September 30, 2022 the UK rules around right to work checks will change. Here’s what productions need...
Topic: UK
EP Blog_SQUARE_New York

NY Convenience Rule Impacts Remote Production Workers and Film Incentives

How remote employee payroll taxes apply to New York-based productions and if an employee’s physical...
EP Blog_SQUARE_US Expanded Incentives 2022-2

A Record Number of US States Expand Filmmaking Incentives in 2022

Your guide to the latest news in production incentives and film programs to come from the 2022 legislative...
EP Blog_SQUARE-Atlantic Canada Expands Incentives

Atlantic Canada Expands Film Incentives in 2022

Enhanced production incentive programs attract industry to Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, and...
EP Blog_SQUARE_Wes Hagen

Meet the Location Manager

A conversation with award-winning location manager Wes Hagen ('Ozark,' 'Hidden Figures.')
Sian Richards and Queen Latifah-square

A Face Kit for Every Skin Tone

Hollywood makeup artist Siân Richards is transforming the makeup industry for actors of every shade.
Jennifer Liscio

Spotlight: Jennifer Liscio, VP of Tax Incentives and Legal Affairs

Meet EP's Canadian legal affairs and tax incentives domain expert, Jennifer Liscio, and learn how she’s...
EP Blog_Residuals and the streaming model

Residuals and the Streaming Model

How residuals apply to historical content on new media platforms.
EP Blog_SQUARE_Fighting Hollywood Stereotypes-TTEI

Fighting Stereotypes and Rethinking Representation

How TTIE is advancing authentic storytelling in Hollywood by empowering historically excluded writers and...

Contracting in a COVID-19 World  

The pandemic has affected how UK production companies contract crew. Here’s how to reduce the impact of...

Terms to Include in UK Crew Contracts

Common terms which studios and production companies include in their UK crew contracts.
Topic: UK
KJ Lamb and Simon Donovan

Empowering the Next Wave of Production Accountants

The EP Production Portal team was delighted to participate in the biannual Netflix Assistant Production...
cell phone with sticky note stating sign here

Six e-Consent Myths (and Why They’re Not True)

Sheridans Associate, Sarmad Saleh, debunks some common e-consent myths.
Topic: Legal
recycling conversation

Sustainability in Production: Q&A with Nikki Saunders

Nikki Saunders on sustainable filming practices, COVID-19, and why carbon offsetting isn’t a...
EP Blog_SQUARE_meet the cinematographer-dan-laustsen

Meet the Cinematographer

A conversation with Dan Laustsen ('John Wick', 'Nightmare Alley').

Georgia Proposes Capping and Prohibiting Sale of Film Tax Credits

The changes, if signed into law, would cap the amount Georgia hands out in film and TV tax credits at $900...
EP Newsroom-Thumbnail-Portland Business Journal

How Oregon’s updated film incentive law could boost the local economy

A new Oregon film and media incentive law could draw more movie productions to the state.
Bradley Cooper-nightmare alley

Meet the Assistant Director

A conversation with Myron Hoffert ('Nightmare Alley')
EP Blog_SQUARE-Sound Mixer-Lora Hirschberg

Meet the Sound Mixer

A conversation with Oscar-winning re-recording mixer, Lora Hirschberg ('Inception', Skywalker Sound)
Digging Out of a Deficit-featured

Digging Out of a Deficit: What to Expect in the Second Quarter of 2022

Federal and State Unemployment Insurance rates are rising. Learn how these changes will affect 2022 and...

Meet the Script Supervisor

A conversation with Rachel Connors Phillippe (‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,’ ‘Only Murders in the Building’)

The Production Accountant’s Guide to Year-End Payroll

A step-by-step breakdown of how to navigate pitfalls and fix production payroll errors for a smooth year...

Special Report: Entertainment – Soundstage Gold Rush

Hollywood is experiencing an ongoing boom that fills its Los Angeles production hub to overflow levels.
EP Blog_SQUARE_Creating a development budget

The Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Development Budget

Before you start the filmmaking process, learn what basics you need to budget for to get your idea off the...
Changes to UK Pensions Act

Proposed Changes to the UK Pensions Act Could Impact Production Budgets

Reintroduced bill seeks to give UK government the power to extend pensions auto-enrollment to young and...
Topic: UK
UK Gov Growth Plan

Mini Budget; Big Changes: What the UK Government’s Growth Plan Means for Production 

UK Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announces new Growth Plan (aka the “mini budget”) and a big shake up of the...
Topic: UK
Master Series Square Thumbnail-Film Financing-Crowdfunding

Film Financing Explained: Crowdfunding

Emily Best (Seed&Spark), Stacy Bradford (Indiegogo), and producer Zach Fineblum join us to discuss the ins...
EP Blog_SQUARE_1st AC Matt Sanderson

Meet the First Assistant Camera

A conversation with 1st AC Matt Sanderson ('Everything Everywhere All At Once')
EP-Newsroom-Below the Line-Thumbnail-480

Union Roundup: Production Incentives Experts Gather, Hoping Hollywood Can Bring Economic Recovery As We Learn to Live With Covid

Entertainment Partners offered an update on U.S. Production Incentives for 2022. The seminar focused on...
Streaming platform on tablet device

The Evolution of Residuals: How Streaming Changed the Model

Understanding how residuals payments are calculated for new content on streaming platforms.
EP Blog_SQUARE_Penka Kouneva-2

Meet the Composer

A conversation with award-winning orchestrator and composer Penka Kouneva (‘Revenge,’ ‘Pirates of the...
Compliant crew contracting panel-square

Compliant Crew Contracting in the UK

Learn how to ensure your crew contracts are compliant with UK regulations and why the Production Portal is...
Topic: UK
dollar signs representing digital crowdfunding

The Beginner’s Guide to Crowdfunding

How filmmakers can leverage the power of social networks and online platforms to build buzz and secure...
EP Blog_Jesse Wente

Supporting Indigenous Storytellers of Canada

How the Indigenous Screen Office (ISO) offers advocacy and funding for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis...
Topic: Canada

The UK GDPR and how Productions can Reduce their Exposure - Q&A with Sheridans

Sheridans’ Associate Krishan Neelendra answers key UK GDPR questions from production companies and...
Topic: UK

Six Elements for Enforceable UK Crew Contracts

Although parties to a crew contract can largely enter into whatever terms they choose, certain elements...
Topic: UK

Producing with Purpose

Creative Producer, Kimberly Goodman ('Selling Sunset', 'Project Runway') shares insights on creating...
EP Blog_The Race to Net Zero is On for Big Studios

The Race to Net Zero is On for Big Studios

Film and television studios are embracing the green movement in a big way. Here’s what you can expect to...
Master Series Panel-Solving the crew shortage

Solving the Crew Shortage

Learn how EP Academy, the Georgia Film Academy, Reel Works, the New Mexico Film Office, and others, are...
EP Newsroom-Thumbnail-480-the olympian

More Movies Could Soon be Filmed in WA as Inslee OKs Film Incentives Passed by Legislature

The law will provide tax breaks for filmmakers looking to make movies in Washington
EP blog-square-tax day

Tips for Tax Day 2022

Your ultimate tax filing checklist - the deadline this year is Monday, April 18th!
EP Blog_Marge Dean

Opening Career Doors

How WIA President, Marge Dean, is shaping the future of animation and empowering underrepresented genders
Master Series Women in Animation-thumbnail

Women in Animation: A 3D View

Marge Dean, Mandy Tankenson, and other women leaders from across animation come together to celebrate...
EP Blog-proud to support-square

Proud to Support: Celebrating Client Nominations at the 94th Academy Awards

A look at the evolution of the Oscars and the notable films powered by Entertainment Partners technology.
International Film Financing panel-featured

Film Financing Explained: International Financing

International production experts discuss how producers can utilize financing systems outside of the US,...

Russian Invasion Hits Ukrainian Production Industry Just Starting to Go International

"Ukraine was just starting to open up to the world, now everything has closed up again."
Crew contracting in the UK-panel

Quick and Compliant Crew Contracting in the UK

Neisha Glynternick and Sarmad Saleh from UK-based entertainment law firm Sheridans discuss crew...
Topic: Legal
Site Selection Magazine logo-sq

The Stage is Set

Puerto Rico Beckons to Film & TV Production Industry

Meet the Executive Producer

A conversation with Mike Drake ('Just Mercy') on the path to becoming and EP, and the role of social...

Payroll & Finances

PayrollResidualsSmartStartNew SmartTimeProduction PortalEP On LocationSmartAccountingEP LiveSmartPOCASHétPayPaymaster Rate GuideEP Residency

Manage Multiple Productions

AssetHubSmartHubSmartHub Vault
Subscribe now

Be an industry insider with EP's
newsletters and alerts

LegalPrivacy NoticeSecurity
© 2022 Entertainment Partners. All rights reserved.