Tuesday Nov 29, 2022

How RI wined and dined, and changed its tax program to bring ‘The Gilded Age’ to Newport – The Providence Journal

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NEWPORT — That September Sunday could not have been much more hectic — or consequential — for Trudy Coxe.

The Preservation Society of Newport County, of which she is executive director, was in the middle of its annual Wine & Food Festival, and the lawn of the society’s Marble House mansion was the site of a wine tasting that afternoon.

Then she had to hurry downtown to catch a 4 p.m. showing of the new “Downton Abbey” movie.

And then race back to Marble House for a dinner that could have multimillion-dollar consequences. Plus, she would be dining with one of her idols.

That left precious little time to get ready for the dinner, so Coxe found herself in a bathroom at Marble House slipping into her favorite teal dress just in time to receive her guests — Julian Fellowes, creator of the British drama series “Downton Abbey,” and his colleagues.

Dinner was part of a plot

The dinner on Sept. 22, 2019, had been set up by Steven Feinberg, executive director of the Rhode Island Film & TV Office.

Feinberg had known for more than a decade that Fellowes was planning a “Downton Abbey” follow-up that would be set in America’s Gilded Age. Feinberg wanted “The Gilded Age” to be filmed in Newport, a city that was synonymous with the era of ostentatious wealth.

And he thought he had an inside track to lure Fellowes to bring his project to the City-By-The-Sea.

Fellowes had made it no secret that he was enthralled with the ornate, gilded Gold Room in Marble House. So Feinberg and Coxe conspired to invite the producer to an upscale dinner there.

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A weekend of Newport mansion tours

Feinberg and Coxe said Fellowes and his executives toured several of the mansion properties in Newport throughout the weekend they were here.

That included a visit to The Breakers that was crowded with tourists, many of them making comparisons to “Downton Abbey,” not suspecting they were within earshot of that show’s creator.

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“After the first day or two, they were sold,” said Feinberg, who added that one of Fellowes’ team told him, “You definitely don’t have to sell us anymore.”

But that’s when Feinberg was just starting to work.

Tax credits are key

At the time, Rhode Island’s film tax credit — a 30% credit for what production companies spend filming in Rhode …….

Source: https://www.providencejournal.com/story/news/good-news/2022/01/28/hbo-the-gilded-age-filmed-in-newport-rhode-island-movie-industry-tax-credit/9212126002/

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