Economic Development, Film, and Government

State’s film incentives fade to black

Michigan Film Office will still assist digital media industries.

July 17, 2015
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“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” could be the last major film made in Michigan for the foreseeable future.

The state government isn’t interested in investing in Michigan’s film industry any more. On Friday, July 10, Gov. Rick Snyder signed House Bill 4122, which “prohibits (the Michigan Film Office) and the Michigan Strategic Fund from providing funding under a new agreement or increasing funding under an existing agreement for film production expenditures,” officially ending the Michigan Film and Digital Media Incentive Program.

“It’s important that we support creativity and innovation in our state, and we’ll continue to have a Michigan Film Office to assist moviemakers and production staff,” Snyder said. “Michigan has much to offer the movie industry, including top-notch talent and beautiful backdrops that will continue to draw filmmakers to Michigan, even without taxpayer-funded incentives.”

According to the bill, which was sponsored by state Rep. Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway, the film office will continue its operations but will not be able to offer cash rebates to companies to produce movies in the state.

Once all existing agreements have been concluded, the money remaining in the cash rebate program will revert to the state’s general operating fund.

Although the incentive program has ended, the Michigan Film Office will continue to attempt to attract film projects and build the state’s film and digital media industries, said Jenell Leonard, commissioner of the Michigan Film Office.

The office will continue to provide non-incentive services, such as offering guidance on state and local permitting, limited complimentary location scouting, location production directories, customized cast and crew calls and social media promotions.

“We are following a plan to provide services that cannot be provided by the private sector. These services will include creative approaches to broadly promoting film and digital media production, spotlighting educational programs and jobs in the creative services industry and building a communications network to expedite connections on production projects,” Leonard said.

“In the near future, we will unveil specific programs, initiatives and public-private partnerships to build the creative industries without taxpayer-funded incentives. This is a time that calls for unprecedented collaboration and we believe by pulling together we can further elevate Michigan as an international venue for filmmakers.”

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