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June 01, 2017

M. Night Shyamalan leads film rally at Rocky steps this weekend

Film Rally
Stock_Carroll - Rocky Statue Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The "Rocky" statue near the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

This Saturday, members and advocates of the Philadelphia film community will rally against a potential cut to the Pennsylvania film tax credit as legislators assess a new state budget at the end of June.

The rally will take place, appropriately, outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art's front steps, forever known to everyone as the Rocky steps, and will welcome a series of speakers, most notably director and writer M. Night Shyamalan.

“The Philadelphia film industry has been around for 120 years, and because of the Pennsylvania film tax credit established in 2007, we’ve done $4.5 billion of business in film since the office was rejuvenated,” said Sharon Pinkenson, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office.

“We’re dependent on the tax credit, and the state budget deficit is threatening our industry,” Pinkenson said.

Philly’s range of architecture and outdoor spaces makes the city a popular place to shoot, even if that fact is overshadowed by the country’s view of New York’s robust film industry. The film office’s locations database reveals more than 4,000 locations throughout the region, and vendors inside and outside the industry feel the love of having so many things filmed here. 

Most recently, Pinkenson noted, Kevin Hart and Nicole Kidman filmed 2018’s "Untouchable" in Philadelphia earlier this year, and a new show for Comedy Central was filmed in Delaware County also earlier this year.

“Without this tax incentive, we won’t have any of those kinds of projects,” Pinkenson said.

Members outside the film industry will also be attending the event to highlight how filming locally helps boost other industries.

“The tourism industry, the convention industry, the hotel industry, the car rental industry, those would all be impacted by the cutting of the Pennsylvania film tax credit,” Pinkenson said. “We use dry cleaners, we buy food, lumber, hardware, nurses, extras, actors, and all the people who work on the crew. Every imaginable industry is impacted.”