Cafe FX ponders a move to Texas

May 20, 2010

The primary connection between the Central Coast and Hollywood may be severed because of the poor state economy. [Santa Maria Times]

Santa Maria’s award-winning movie special effects company, Cafe FX, could be shipping out for greener pastures in Texas. Jeff Barnes, chief executive officer, admitted that the option was under consideration, primarily because California doesn’t offer sufficient tax incentives.

Barnes said Texas is one possible option. Shifting to Los Angeles is also possible. A final decision is expected sometime in June.

Cafe FX is currently “on hiatus” and no employee is working. Santa Maria is not offering any incentive for the company to stay. That attitude, according to Barnes, is in stark contrast to states like New Mexico, Texas, and Michigan, all of whom offer major tax incentives to Hollywood-related companies. Canada offers a 40 percent tax package.

In fairness, Barnes indicated that there isn’t much the city can do–incentives really have to come at the state level.

The special effects company, founded in 1993, has been involved in the production of more than 80 Hollywood films, including “Shutter Island,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” and the HBO series “John Adams.”