Economic Development, Film, and Government

State extends film incentives

December 29, 2014
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'Batman vs. Superman' films 'throughout' Michigan
The production of the film “Batman vs. Superman” is expected to spend $131 million shooting in Michigan. Courtesy Warner Bros.

Governor Rick Snyder has put his John Hancock on a piece of legislation that extends the Michigan film credit program for seven years.

The state said Snyder signed Senate Bill 1103, sponsored by state Sen. Randy Richardville, last Friday.

The law now requires one Michigan resident to be hired for every non-resident through Sept. 30, 2017 and 1.5 Michigan residents for every non-resident hired from Oct. 1, 2017 to Sept. 30, 2020.

The law also requires that at least 10 percent of funding be awarded for motion pictures, documentaries or television productions with a budget of under $15 million.

It is now Public Act 396.

Attracting young people

"These changes to the film incentives program will help create new opportunities for our local filmmakers," said Deb Havens, founding chair, West Michigan Film Video Alliance in East Grand Rapids. "As an organization, we're committed to deepening the crew base here in West Michigan.”

Joseph Scott Anthony — president of the Media Arts Coalition of West Michigan in Grand Rapids and a local film producer and actor — said that West Michigan has a growing and robust workforce of hard-working crews, as well as beautiful locations to shoot in.

Anthony said he was especially glad to know the new incentives could be awarded to projects with budgets under $15 million, which is typical of productions filmed in West Michigan.

"The passing of this bill is another key step in securing top, sought-after jobs here in Michigan for our young people,” Anthony said. “In the minds of producers considering filming in Michigan, these changes establish the state of Michigan as being fully open for business. The changes in these film incentives will help attract young people and create a lasting industry full of talented creatives who are starting media-centered businesses.”

Movie stars

Since becoming a destination for Hollywood, West Michigan has had stars like Bruce Willis, Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Segel and Mira Sorvino film projects in West Michigan.

The east side of the state has also had seen several movie stars visit, the most recent being Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill for the filming of Warner Brothers’ “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which received a $35-million incentive and is considered the most-expensive movie ever shot in the state. 

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