Independent Filmmaking in New Hampshire
by Matt Newton
Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room:
No, New Hampshire currently does not offer a tax credit for production.
If you’re still reading, then you’re likely to be an independent filmmaker who is interested in learning more about other benefits to filming in The Granite State.
Of course, there’s the obvious; no sales, use, or personal income taxes. There are no general filming permits, and every town and city offers its own unique helping hand.
Portsmouth is the go-to creative hub on the seacoast, with an economic development office that’s ready to aid filmmakers with even the toughest of requests. Manchester is your urban setting that routinely provides indie projects with whatever they need with as little as a phone call. Keene is a quintessential New England city, and the home of a robust film school program, where production assistants are ready to gain real-world experience on projects—all these areas are within a short drive to Boston.
But, filmmakers are not only limited to the southern part of the state.
Take a look at Claremont, New Hampshire. At first glance, you probably wouldn’t think that this old mill city along the Connecticut River is one of our more frequented filming locations. But Claremont is as film-friendly as they come, and a number of smaller independent productions have experienced just how wonderful Claremont can be. Simply put, Claremont gets it. They understand what kind of an impact filmmaking can have on their community and they go to the mat for filmmakers every time—and that’s the key benefit independent filmmakers should have in their back pockets—community buy-in.
New Hampshire State Parks are also very popular for films, TV, commercials, and photo shoots. With 75 state park properties throughout New Hampshire, there are diverse locales for every type of production. Permitting is painless—complete a short online registration form on our website and we’ll start the conversation with our friends at Parks on your behalf. In fact, we have representatives from many of our state agencies and associations on our Film Commission, so whether you’re looking to close a road, hire police details, or work with local businesses, there is always someone within easy reach of the Film Office to help lay the groundwork.
Filmmakers should know about the Team O’Neil Rally School in Dalton. A perfect location for filming vehicles and pyrotechnic effects in a controlled environment, the Rally School offers 6.5 miles of dirt and gravel roads on 600 acres of land for high speed chases located in a beautiful mountain setting in northern New Hampshire. The center is fully operational during winter months for snow and ice driving conditions (and if the weather doesn’t provide, snowmaking is available!) The center is located 10 minutes from I-93 (with close connection to I-91 in Vermont) and full visitor services available in nearby Littleton.
New Hampshire loves independent film. We believe in offering individual attention and a creative atmosphere, and we understand that a little Yankee ingenuity can go a long way in giving indie projects big production value on smaller budgets. Send us an email, give us a call, or even find us on Twitter! We’re looking forward to connecting you in with great locations and supportive people!
Efforts have been ongoing in bringing a production tax credit to the table. The New Hampshire Production Coalition, our industry association, has been working hard on this initiative. If you’re looking for more information, I encourage you to contact the NHPC, learn about what they are up to, and get involved. Visit their website at nhproductioncoalition.org.
Visit the New Hampshire Film & Television Office website at nh.gov/film.
Matt Newton is the director of the State of New Hampshire Film Office & Television Office.
All Photos courtesy of the New Hampshire Film & Television Office.