Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Newsmaker: Janet Lockwood

By Eric Gallippo | Lansing City Pulse | December 30, 2008

The state’s film commissioner and her staff had a big year after the state approved a highly competitive film-incentive package.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

County officials pump up sites for movie business

By Chad Selweski | Macomb Daily Staff Writer | December 28, 2008

Can you imagine: Hollywood on the shores of Lake St. Clair?

Macomb County officials are making a major push to lure film companies here after Michigan's new tax incentives for movie makers has proven highly successful. Some 65 films are in the works that will be shot in the Great Lakes State.

County Commissioner Carey Torrice, a model and actress, is leading the push to put Macomb County on the map in the land of the silver screen. Torrice, who took office just two years ago, believes her connections in the entertainment industry can make Macomb County a destination for production studios.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Michigan Film Loader Workshop

th a substantial number of films anticipated coming into Michigan in 2009, Fletcher Camera - Detroit and the International Cinematographer Guild, Local 600, will be putting on a Film Loader Workshop on Dec. 30th and Jan. 7th. This workshop will help prepare new assistants for potential job opportunities in the rapidly emerging Michigan Film industry.


Incentives bolster film industry

Friday, December 26, 2008
Year in review: Features

Susan Whitall / The Detroit News

Michigan offers up to 42 percent in rebates on film money spent here, one of the most generous film tax incentives in the nation. While some grumbled that other industries should also get a tax break, clearly it kick-started a Michigan film industry into being. There are many Michigan companies and workers benefiting, including actors and extras, catering services, hotels, restaurants and even dry cleaning services.

Some of the made-in-Michigan film and TV projects already in the pipeline are "Prayers for Bobby" (Sigourney Weaver), "Whip It" (Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page), "Youth in Revolt" (Michael Cera and Ray Liotta), "The Job" (Ron Perlman), "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story" (Cuba Gooding Jr.), "The Prince of Motor City" (Aidan Quinn) and "Miss January" (Kim Cattrall).


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Notice of January 15, 2009 Michigan Film Office Advisory Council Meeting

The Michigan Film Office Advisory Council will meet from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, January, 15, 2009 in Southfield, Michigan, at the Westin Hotel, 1500 Town Center, Southfield, MI 48075. The meeting will be held in the Executive Meeting Center.

The Agenda will be forthcoming at a later date.

If you are an individual who needs special accommodation or arrangements at this meeting, please contact the Michigan Film Office (see below) as soon as possible and before the date of the meeting, to notify us of what special assistance you may need.

Please call or write: Michigan Film Office
Attention: Jackie Wressell
300 N. Washington Square - 4th Floor
Lansing. Michigan 48913
Phone: (517) 335-2693


Granholm's List of Accomplishments 2008

by: wizardkitten | Dec 24, 2008 | BloggingForMichigan.com

Last year when I wrote about this, I was attacked. Sitting here with a head full of Vicodin, an arm in a cast, and battling with my usual full-blown seasonal-affected disorder, I didn't quite know how to respond. Panic set me off on a basic primal instinct fight-or-flight thought pattern: I got dressed, found my coat, and was two seconds away from going to the emergency room to have the cast cut off my arm so I would be free to fight.


1. Diversifying the economy to create a job for every worker.


- Michigan's film and movie-making economic development program, the most aggressive in the nation, increased motion picture production. To date, the state has received 215 proposals and approved 71 projects, which will add more than $430 million to the state's economy.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Michigan Film Financing aims to help state's film productions obtain funding

By Erica Finley | Oakland Business Review | December 23, 2008

A new Michigan company hopes to maximize the film production incentive tax credit and create new jobs in the state.

Michigan Film Finance LLC, which will collaborate with producers and out-of-state lenders in financing firms to the tune of $10 million, is the only Michigan-based company providing this type of financing, according to S3 Entertainment Group in Ferndale. S3EG provides the infrastructure necessary for film production.


Mackinac Island Featured as HGTV - "Top 10 Christmas Towns in America"

If you haven’t had the chance to see the HGTV episode “Top Ten Christmas Towns” featuring Mackinac Island, there are three more airings over the holiday. You may also watch the Mackinac Island segment from a computer at this link: http://www.hgtv.com/top-10-christmas-towns/show/index.html.

Originally the show was to be called Christmas Across America but it’s a better accolade to be among the Top Ten Christmas Towns in America. The camera crew was from Plymouth, Michigan and great to work with as they were very familiar with Mackinac Island.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Clint Eastwood gives metro Detroit a leading role in 'Gran Torino'


Long before Dirty Harry rode into town, Berkley dental receptionist Pam Richardson had him on her screensaver at work. It was Richardson's picture of a gun-toting Clint Eastwood that caught the eye of Janet Pound, the local casting director assigned to "Gran Torino," the movie that acclaimed actor-director Eastwood shot in the Detroit area over the summer.

"She told me that she would find a way to get me in the movie, and she did," says Richardson, who lives in Farmington Hills. Early one morning in late July, she and her husband, Gene, headed for St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe Park, where they were assigned to play mourners in a scene that finds Eastwood's character, a Korean War vet and retired autoworker named Walt Kowalski, scowling his way through the funeral of his beloved wife.


Nancy Cassis takes on Hollywood credits

By Larry Ruehlen • ECCENTRIC STAFF WRITER • December 21, 2008

Michael B. Chait is trying to crack into the movie business.

And he doesn't like his chances if State Sen. Nancy Cassis is successful in capping film industry tax credits to $50 million.

"By the time a lot of Michigan directors, producers and film entrepreneurs would finally be in the position to make their film, it's more likely than not that the tax credits will have been all used up by Hollywood productions swooping in to make sure they save their money first," said Chait, a West Bloomfield director.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2009 Flint Film Festival

By Scott Laforest | December 19, 2008

The Flint Film Festival has again partnered with withoutabox to accept film submissions for the 2009 festival.

The festival will be held October 16th and 17th at the Mott Regional Technology Center.

To help recognize the many talented film makers in our area we have established the Michigan award to given to the best Michigan made film, and sponsored by the Flint Club.


'Marley and Me' film has special meaning with its Michigan roots

I can pretty much predict which post-holiday movie my clan will head out to see.

"Marley and Me."

Not because we are all dog people. I, for one, am a cat person surrounded by dog admirers.

For those unfamiliar with the plot, the story lovingly revolves around Marley, a devoted but crazy canine whose owner dubs as the "World's Worst Dog."

We'll likely go see the film, out on Christmas Day, because of Marley's "Dad" -- or owner, or whatever dog people like to call themselves.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cast & Crew Payroll opens new office in Ferndale

By Jon Zemke | metromode | December 18, 2008

More and more of California is moving to Michigan to take advantage of the state's generous film incentives.

The latest Cali-based business to set up shop is Cast & Crew Payroll, which just opened an office in Ferndale's Zicor Building. The 2,400-square-foot space in the building on Hilton currently has one person in it.

Cast & Crew Payroll is based in Burbank, California, but has offices throughout the U.S. It handled payroll for major film and TV productions.

Source: Jennifer Roosenberg, marketing and communications manager for GVA Detroit, which owns the Zicor Building


'Gran Torino' drinking scene makes actor's day

By Ed Bradley | Contributing writer | December 18, 2008

When he got a call about auditioning for a Clint Eastwood movie, Tom Mahard couldn't have known he'd become the drinking buddy of a screen icon.

But Flint resident Mahard does hoist a brew -- on screen, anyway -- with the legendary director-star in the Detroit-filmed "Gran Torino." The Warner Bros. release is slated to open next week in select Detroit theaters and Jan. 9 elsewhere in Michigan.


S3 Entertainment Group creates $10 million financing fund for film

metromode | 12/18/2008

The credit crunch may be threatening the local auto industry but it's creating opportunity for at least one local film-industry firm. S3 Entertainment Group has created a $10 million financing fund for film productions in Michigan called, surprise, Michigan Film Finance.

The idea is to help filmmakers in need of financing for their projects with the expectation of double-digit returns. So far the Ferndale-based firm is the only company in Michigan providing such financing for filmmakers to take advantage of Michigan's film incentives. S3 is also working with other lenders to originate, process and disburse loans for productions.

The money can be used for a broad range of needs, such as renting film equipment. S3 supplies numerous production services and equipment to filmmakers. It has worked on a number of major films shot locally, such as Gran Torino, The Butterfly Effect 3, Whip It! and Youth in Revolt.

S3's business has taken off since Michigan approved its film incentives. It cuts paychecks to seven people and its subsidiaries employ about 80 more. The plan is to extend its employee base to 200 people by handling 15-20 major films per year.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WMVFA Plans "Red Carpet Ready" Oscar Celebration

West Michigan Film Video Alliance Rolls Out the Red Carpet
for 1920s Themed Gala Celebration at Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

What: Red Carpet Ready Fundraiser - celebrating the 81st Annual Academy Awards®, broadcast on WZZM 13

When: Sunday, February 22, 2009 (8o’clock pm ‘til Midnight)

Where: Amway Grand Plaza Hotel’s Pantlind Ballroom, Downtown Grand Rapids

Who: West Michigan Film Video Alliance (WMFVA)

Why: To raise awareness and funds to celebrate West Michigan’s growing film industry.

How: It will be a roaring good time as we roll out the red carpet for a night on the town with a 1920s theme gala fundraiser. Don your flapper dress, spit shine your spats and join in the costume contest or celebrity look-a-like contest. Get your photo taken with Oscar, bid on silent auction items and of course, view The Academy Awards® on the big screen. Come hob-knob at the party of the year, with the “who’s who” in the local film industry.

MC: Stephanie Webb, WZZM 13 – TAKE 5 Co-Host and member of the Broadcast Association of Film Critics

Reservations: Available beginning January 1, 2009

WMFVA Members: $75 per member / $125 per member couple

Non-Members: $100 per person / $150 per couple

Students: $40 (with valid student ID)

Info: More details coming soon…for now, check out…www.RedCarpetReady.org

Local cast and crew of Clint Eastwood's "Gran Torino" walk the red carpet at Birmingham 8

Ursula Watson | The Detroit News | December 16, 2008

A bright red carpet and flood lights grabbed the attention of passersby of Birmingham's Forté restaurant on Tuesday night.

Inside, cast and crew of the film "Gran Torino" mingled during a pre-party prior to the screening of the Clint Eastwood film at the Uptown Birmingham 8.

Eastwood, 78, directs and stars in the film that was filmed on location in and around Detroit this summer. The Oscar-winning star portrays a cantankerous Korean War veteran, named Walt Kowalski, who decides to make a change in his neighborhood after his prized car, a 1972 Gran Torino, is stolen.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Council may give mayor power to close streets

By Alex Lundberg • OBSERVER STAFF WRITER • December 14, 2008

In the hopes of staying in the good graces of filmmakers shooting footage in Livonia, the City Council has moved closer to giving city administrators the ability to close streets quickly for shooting.

The council will vote Wednesday on whether to give the mayor fast-track authority to close side streets and re-route traffic to help film production companies work in the city.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Films Are for Him. Got That?

BEING introduced to Clint Eastwood is something like seeing a California redwood for the first time. The difference is that this redwood, even at the age of 78, reaches out to shake your hand with a firmness that still intimidates no matter how much time you spent preparing your grip (for the record: three days).


There was one major disappointment for Mr. Schenk: the setting of “Gran Torino” was shifted from Minneapolis to Detroit, the original home of Ford and, not coincidentally, the home of 42 percent tax credits for films made there. (That helped make it easy for Warner Brothers to sign off on bankrolling the movie, something that hasn’t always been a given in the studio’s relationship with the director.)


Friday, December 12, 2008

Michigan Made Prayers for Bobby Premiers January 24 on Lifetime Network

Made: 2009

Genre: True Story Drama

Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Sigourney Weaver stars in this emotional true story about a 1970s religious suburban housewife and mother who struggles to accept her young son Bobby being gay. What happens to Bobby is tragic and causes Mary to question her faith; ultimately this mom changes her views in ways that she never could have imagined. Also starring: Ryan Kelly (Mean Creek), Henry Czerny (The Tudors), Dan Butler (Frasier) and Susan Ruttan (LA Law), Austin Nichols (John From Cincinnati), Carly Schoreder (Mean Creek), Scott Baily (Guiding Light) and newcomers Shannon Eager and Rebecca Louise Miller. Based on the book “Prayers for Bobby” by Leroy Aarons.

Premieres January 24 at 9 pm et/pt

Source: www.mylifetime.com

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Michigan Made Film Wins Kudos


Punctuating its trip from the slush pile at Warner Independent to a splashy release by Fox Searchlight, "Slumdog Millionaire" was named best film of the year Thursday by the National Board of Review.

Other major prizes went to David Fincher, who took the director nod for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"; Clint Eastwood, actor for "Gran Torino"; and Anne Hathaway, actress for "Rachel Getting Married."

Supporting thesp laurels went to Josh Brolin for "Milk" and Penelope Cruz for "Vicki Cristina Barcelona."


Hilary Swank movie to film in Ann Arbor

Associated Press | December 10, 2008

ANN ARBOR -- Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank ("Million Dollar Baby" and "Boys Don't Cry") will star in the latest Hollywood movie to be filmed in Michigan, an independent feature using several locations in Ann Arbor as stand-ins for a Massachusetts town.

Filming is to begin in mid-January on "Betty Ann Waters," based on the true story of a single mother who put herself through law school to exonerate her brother of a murder conviction. The 34-year-old Swank plays the title role.

Producer Andrew Sugerman says the film will feature a local house and likely will include several locations on the University of Michigan campus. He says the producers chose Michigan largely because of the generous tax breaks the state offers to filmmakers.


Film's future bright in state

By Chris Gautz | December 09, 2008 | Jackson Citizen Patriot

The film industry has the potential to create thousands of jobs, rebrand the state and create a new economic foundation in Michigan.

Tony Wenson, chief operating officer of the Michigan Film Office, told about 70 business and community leaders Monday that investment in the state has greatly increased since passage of the film incentive package in April.

``It's a huge opportunity,'' he said at the Economic Club Luncheon at Daryl's Downtown in Jackson.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Film to bring star Swank here

BY JENN MCKEE | The Ann Arbor News | December 9, 2009

Shooting is set to begin in Ann Arbor in mid-January on yet another Hollywood movie, this one starring two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank.

Working in an office on Washington Street, producer Andrew Sugerman and a pre-production staff are putting together a crew and scouting locations for the film's seven-week shoot.

The 34-year-old Swank is best known for her work on "Million Dollar Baby'' and "Boys Don't Cry,'' both films for which she won best actress honors in the Academy Awards.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Lights, camera, action (in Jackson?)

By Chris Gautz | Staff Report | December 08, 2008 | Jackson Citizen Patriot

The film industry has the potential to create thousands of jobs, rebrand the state and create a new economic foundation in Michigan.

Tony Wenson, COO of the Michigan Film Office, told a group of about 70 business and community leaders today that investment in the state has greatly increased since passage of the film incentive package in April.

"It's a huge opportunity," he said at the Economic Club Luncheon at Daryl's Downtown in Jackson.

The legislation allows taxpayers to fund up to 42 percent of a film's production cost in the state. For example, if a $10 million film is shot in Michigan in a core community -- Jackson is one -- the state could cut a check for up to $4.2 million.

For more on this story, visit mlive.com/citpat Tuesday or pick up Tuesday's Jackson Citizen Patriot.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Macomb County cities' goal is to green-light movie money


When Hollywood comes knocking, area municipalities have more to look forward to than celebrity sightings.

Translation? Ka-ching.

So said Anthony Wenson, chief operating officer of the Michigan Film Office, who was one of several speakers at Making Movies in Macomb. The Friday gathering of officials from state film groups and Macomb municipalities was designed to prepare the county for potential Hollywood inquiries.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

REVIEW: Grand Torino

Variety Magazine | December 4, 2008

At 78, perhaps the only actor in the history of American cinema to convincingly kick the butt of a guy 60 years his junior, the hard-headed, snarly mouthed Clint Eastwood of the 1970s comes growling back to life in "Gran Torino." Centered on a cantankerous curmudgeon who can fairly be described as Archie Bunker fully loaded (with beer and guns), the actor-director's second release of the season is his most stripped-down, unadorned picture in many a year, even as it continues his long preoccupation with race in American society. Highlighted by the star's vastly entertaining performance, this funny, broad but ultimately serious-minded drama about an old-timer driven to put things right in his deteriorating neighborhood looks to be a big audience-pleaser with mainstream viewers of all ages.


Movie director scouting Grand Rapids locations, hopes to use local talent to shoot 'Hopeful Notes'

By John Serba | The Grand Rapids Press | December 04, 2008

Movie director Valerio Vanoli is currently scouting Grand Rapids locations, for two reasons.

First, to shoot a feature-length film titled "Hopeful Notes," in March. Second, to find an apartment to live in for the next five or six months, until the movie is finished.

"I arrived in Grand Rapids a few days ago," Vanoli said. "I'm looking forward to shooting the film here. I'm visiting many locations now."

The story takes place in a run-down children's hospital, where a young Russian boy, stricken with leukemia, reveals his genius-level talent at playing violin.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Horror film crew shoots at Troy Museum

By Terry Oparka | C & G Staff Writer | December 3, 2008

TROY — Assistant Director Tara Plizga, a former Sterling Heights resident, yelled “quiet on the set” in the log cabin of the Troy Museum and Historic Village Nov. 24.

Actors Derek Brandon, 10, of Grand Rapids, and Kristen Jarzembowski, 11, of Northville, said their lines and hit their marks as the film crew did its work.

“This is a perfect place for us,” Plizga said. “I like working here.”

Plizga graduated from Warren Mott High School in Warren in ’95 and attended the New York Film School in California. “I love the creative side (of the film industry). People don’t realize how much goes into this.”


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Creo Productions expands studio

By Sarah Navis | Business Review Western Michigan | December 02, 2008

Creo Productions in Grand Rapids may be small in size, but the three-man film studio has big visions.

And it's growing, despite Michigan's economy.

Aaron Carriere and Andrew Tingley, both Ferris State University graduates, founded Creo in August 2006. Carriere said they wanted to start the company because they have an "entrepreneurial spirit" and both enjoy video production. He also stressed that there is "a lot of power in storytelling."


Friday, November 28, 2008

Region awaits movie spotlight

By VANESSA MCCRAY | Traverse City Record Eagle | November 28, 2008

TRAVERSE CITY -- Movie-making mania has hit Michigan.

It's been all lights, cameras and action since April, when the state offered alluring refundable tax credits to entice filmmakers. The Michigan Film Office lists about two dozen recently wrapped or upcoming productions that star the state.

Those titles include the Clint Eastwood-directed "Gran Torino," filmed in and around Detroit; Drew Barrymore's name-dropping cast (Ellen Page, Jimmy Fallon, Marcia Gay Harden) of "Whip It!", a movie about a roller derby team filmed in Ann Arbor and environs; and "The Steam Experiment," a Val Kilmer flick shot in Grand Rapids.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mom's small movie role turns into something extra


Vivian Brock, above, a Troy mother of three teens, got more than she expected when she showed up to be a Michigan movie extra. She answered a casting call for the movie "Demoted," starring actors Michael Vartan and Sean Astin. She was supposed to be a face in a cafeteria crowd. But when she was selected to be a face in the movie's on-screen secretarial office pool, a one-day gig turned into a seven-week stint. Here's how she did it.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Illinois finds permanence in film incentive

By Robert K. Elder | Chicago Tribune | November 22, 2008

It's not the Bat Signal, but it's close.

A new bill aimed at attracting more movies and TV series to Illinois passed both the state House and Senate on Thursday. The measure approves a 30 percent tax incentive, which supporters say directly competes with Michigan's film tax rebate of 42 percent. The new measure does not expire, leaving the door open for TV series to schedule long productions in the state.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Novi residents get shot at stardom

By Kelly Murad • STAFF WRITER • November 20, 2008

With hopes of being a star, about 200 Novi residents in less than one week have submitted their information to be included in the City of Novi's Movie Extras Database.

The Novi Film Office created a database, which will be available to production companies, containing general information of people interested in working as extras in movies or commercials filmed in the community.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dot&Cross looks to carve its niche in multimedia

By Shandra Martinez | The Grand Rapids Press | Wednesday November 19, 2008

GRAND RAPIDS -- Dot&Cross makes films but not the ones seen on the big screen or the big box. Not yet.

The Grand Rapids company is carving out a niche in multimedia.

"While many companies either produce films or design books or develop Web sites, we focus on cohesively uniting all of those elements into a single brand experience," said Brett VanTil, who created Dot&Cross six months ago with partners Corey Petrick, Santino Stoner and David Wenzel.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

`Cherry' wraps up filming in Kalamazoo, leaving more than 30 interns with movie memories

BY LINDA MUNNELLY | Tuesday, November 18, 2008 | Kalamazoo Gazette

KALAMAZOO -- Filming for the movie ``Cherry'' is wrapping up today, leaving more than 30 college students who were interns and extras with valuable experience.

The comedy-drama was shot over the past month on the campuses of Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University and near downtown Kalamazoo. The film is a coming-of-age tale about a college freshman.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sighting turned teen into more than face in the crowd


Rosie O'Donnell spotted Cass Tech senior Philip Johnson in a Detroit restaurant. Now they're costarring in a TV movie.
There's a legend in Hollywood that Lana Turner, the Scarlett Johansson of her day, became a star after being discovered sipping a soda at Schwab's drugstore.

It sounds like something that doesn't happen in real life. Except it does. Just ask Detroit's Philip Johnson.

Last month, the 17-year-old Cass Tech senior was eating lunch downtown at Small Plates when Rosie O'Donnell spotted him and asked if he'd be interested in trying out for a film.


Fiber artist winds her way into film business

By Stephanie Angelyn Casola • O&E STAFF WRITER • November 13, 2008

Cynthia LaMaide has been making and designing clothing since as far back as she can recall. The Rochester-based fiber artist cinched her love of the art by pursuing her degree in clothing design from Arizona State University. But she couldn't have guessed back then that her work would be worn by rock stars like Lenny Kravitz, supermodels including Kate Moss, and that they would weave their way into the plot lines of major motion pictures - like the one currently filming in metro Detroit, New Line Cinema's Intent.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Filming now under way on Parker High movie

By Tom Tolen | The Livingston Community News | November 12, 2008

It's all about "Lights! Camera! Action! this week at Howell's Parker High School as shooting begins for the movie "High School" starring actors Michael Chiklis and Adrien Brody.

The hurry-up production schedule calls for the production team to work continuously from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily to take advantage of as much daylight as possible and to wrap up shooting before Christmas. Producers are paying Howell Public Schools $180,000 for use of mostly vacant Parker campus.

Many area residents will have bit parts in the movie, playing students and teachers as extras.


County part of Mich. film 'gold rush'

By Kristofer Karol • DAILY PRESS & ARGUS • November 12, 2008

The assistant director of the Michigan Film Office told the crowd at a Howell Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast Tuesday that the state is experiencing a "gold rush" of moviemaking.

Mike Grabemeyer said three movies filmed in the state last year and, due to the state's 42 percent tax incentive package for the entertainment industry passed this year, 71 projects have now been approved thus far in 2008.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Keep the cameras rolling

Chicago Tribune | November 11, 2008

Last summer's Batman saga, "The Dark Knight," was a worldwide hit and a boon to Chicago, where it was filmed. The production spent some $40 million locally.

"The Dark Knight" was part of a very good year on screen for Chicago. Vince Vaughn's "Fred Claus," Angela Bassett's "Meet the Browns," and Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman's "Wanted" were also shot here.

All told, the film industry spent a record $155 million in Illinois in 2007, generating about $390 million in economic activity and employing thousands of people.

This year will be nowhere near as good and next year looks bleak.

There are a lot of factors that determine where a film is shot. But there is one that Illinois can significantly influence: the cost of doing business here.

Illinois provides a 20 percent tax incentive for film productions, but some competing states and cities provide more. (Michigan created a 42 percent credit this year and New York provides a 35 percent break.)


Makin' Movies: 'American Virgin' Brings Jobs and Dreams to Local Crews

By: Terry Parris Jr. | Model D | November 11, 2008

man in a black stocking hat is moving a 20-foot pole back and forth along the sidewalk of Monroe Street in the heart of Greektown. "Closer to me," yells someone on the other side of the street. "Bring it in the street if you have to!" There were four poles, all exactly the same. Three other guys walked up, wearing various types of stocking hats and cloth gloves. Each one grabs a pole and jostles it around.

"I need some sands bags over here!" Says one of the four workers. He has a beard. His cheeks are red from the cold. A fifth worker appears, "There aren't sandbags on the cart, let me check the truck." He comes back carrying four small canvas looking bags that, by the look on his face, are holding a bit of weight.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Local co-director's flick opens at Howell Theater

By Alison Bergsieker | DAILY PRESS & ARGUS | November 9, 2008

The Howell Theater rolled out the red carpet Tuesday night for the premiere of "Ghost Town," a Western movie co-directed by a Fowlerville resident.

Dean Teaster, 51, said his movie premiere is the first in Michigan since the inception of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's 40 percent tax rebate for filmmakers.

Actors from Fowlerville were cast in the movie, and Lansing-based production company Collective Development Inc. produced the film.


Focus is on Livingston County as movie shoot approaches

By Christopher Behnan • DAILY PRESS & ARGUS • November 9, 2008

As principal photography begins this week on the independent film "High School," Howell-area business are primed to make some serious bucks with the film's cast and crew in town for the next several weeks.

The movie, being shot at the Howell Public Schools Parker Campus in Marion Township, has a budget of about $9.5 million.

Production company Parallel Media of Studio City, Calif., estimated that about $6 million of that will go to local businesses for a host of merchandise and services.


Howell Chamber Hosts Informational Forum On Film Industry

11/10/08 - As the film industry begins to ramp up production in Michigan, the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce will host an informational program Tuesday morning to make sure Livingston County residents are informed and prepared. Among the visiting speakers will be Mike Grabemeyer, Assistant Director of the Michigan Film Office, who will explain how Michigan is attracting filmmakers to the state. Also speaking is Ryan Lewis, Executive Producer of the movie “High School” that is set to begin filing at Howell's Parker High School campus this week. He's expected to give details about the movie and explain how it will affect the local economy. The Livingston County Convention & Visitor’s Bureau Executive Director Barbara Barden will be the emcee of the presentation and tells WHMI that Livingston County needs to roll out the red carpet for the film industry as it has the potential to bring in an economic infusion at a time when it is needed the most. The program will take place Tuesday at 7:30am at Crystal Gardens in Howell. The cost will be $30 for the public. To R.S.V.P. or for more information, call the chamber at 517-546-3920 or e-mail chamber@howell.org


Saturday, November 8, 2008

States’ Film Production Incentives Cause Jitters

The Gainesville Sun | October 13, 2008

LOS ANGELES — Already on the hook for billions to bail out Wall Street, taxpayers are also finding themselves stuck with a growing tab for state programs intended to increase local film production.


Michigan, its own budget sagging, is in the middle of a hot political fight over a generous 40 percent rebate on expenditures to filmmakers that was carried out, with little opposition, only last April. Producers of films for studios like Warner Brothers and the Weinstein Company rushed to cash in, just as homegrown businesses were squeezed by a new business tax and surcharge. Rebellious legislators from both parties are now looking to put a cap on the state’s annual film spending, which some have estimated could quickly hit $200 million a year.


Michigan Extras: It's All About the Movies

By Garrett Godwin | News Blade | October 6, 2008

Hollywood continues to be developing in the State of Michigan, giving local residents the opportunity to make their mark in movies -- even if they're in the background.

For instance, Raised Alone is the first picture ever approved under the Michigan Film Incentives. The independent short film tells the story an obsessed workaholic whose desire for his family's finances overwhelms the desire to raise his neglected son Adam, who's now a gifted and well-known violinist. Raised Alone was made on a $55,000 budget, as budding Michigan actors were being cast as extras for concert shoots for two days: Wednesday afternoon at the Redford Theatre on Grand River and Lahser in Detroit, and the next will be on Friday morning at the Cherry Hills School of Performing Arts in Inkster.


Forum explores how to cash in on Michigan Film Incentive

By Terry Oparka | C & G Staff Writer | October 5, 2008

TROY — Employee layoffs loomed as a real possibility for Duane Swanson, director of operations for the Somerset Inn in Troy last year. “The budget forecast was down,” he said. “We needed a miracle.”

He got four.

Four feature film production companies have stayed at the hotel since Michigan lawmakers approved the Michigan Film Incentive, which grants up to 40-percent tax incentives for approved film production companies to film in Michigan.

“We got out of the hole by the end of August,” he said. “The production companies also rented office space nearby and spent money and time at the Somerset Collection. If you want the perfect hotel guest, they are it. They are nice people.”


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Film act could launch games

By Lynn Stevens | Business Review Western Michigan | November 06, 2008

Michigan's film incentives offer enticements to more than moviemakers -- they include identical rebates for video game development studios. That could profit Michigan more.

"It's a huge opportunity for the state," said Tony Wenson, COO of the Michigan Film Office. "It is what will, I think, create more of an impact in the long term than film credits will."

Among the reasons is that video game studios operate differently from film production companies. They're permanent businesses. They hire full-time people who work in offices, buy houses and send their children to school where they live, he explained.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Film industry comes to Good Morning Livingston


Hollywood is coming to Howell, and the next Howell Area Chamber of Commerce Good Morning Livingston program will explore all aspects of the movie industry in the state and in the community. This event on the film industry in Michigan and Howell takes place Nov. 11 at 7:30 a.m. at Crystal Gardens, 5768 E. Grand River Ave. in Howell.

Guests will learn what’s in store as the movie “High School” is set to begin filming at Parker High School. Executive producer of the film, Ryan Lewis, will share details about the makings of the movie and its impact on the business community. Lewis will give background on the movie, how the cast and crew are interacting with business and residents, his impressions of Howell and how communities can be successful in working with his industry.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Source: MotorcityFlicks.com | November 3, 2008

The trailer for Clint Eastwood's last on-screen preformance Gran Torino, is now online. This past summer, Gran Torino was the first major motion picture to be shot in metro Detroit after the recent passage of the recent Michigan film incentives.

Look for much Academy Award hype this year as Gran Tarino hit's theaters in time for the this year's holiday movie session.


'Virgin' territory: Shooting for Rob Schneider's new movie lights up Greektown

Adam Graham / The Detroit News / November 3, 2008

Rob Schneider is in a grungy back alley in Greektown dressed like a pimped-out Jonas Brother, with loud red pants, a suit coat rolled up to his elbows and a ridiculous faux-hawk atop his head. He's repeatedly beating a subordinate over the head with a stack of T-shirts outside an RV emblazoned with the words "Chicks Go Crazy."

Has Mr. Schneider fallen on hard times? Not quite. Turns out he's filming a scene for his latest movie, a bawdy romp tentatively titled "American Virgin" that is the latest film production to take advantage of Michigan's generous tax initiative.


Michigan Film Industries Video (YouTube)


Saturday, November 1, 2008

West Branch Movie Buzz

Private Blog | November 1, 2008

The West Branch Area Film Initiative, or Ogemaw County Film Initiative, is currently organizing and will have a website up soon! I am a member of the film committee, unofficially, and will try my best to keep updates on this great experience for West Branch. The goal is not only to get movies made in West Branch, but to bring jobs to the residents of Ogemaw County and to give the youth of the area a reason to come back home after college or during college. There is training available for film work and opportunities throughout Michigan. You can view some info on the Michigan Film Incentive, which is a tax cut for filmmakers shooting in Michigan, at www.mich.gov/filmoffice

I feel very strongly about this initiative in West Branch. Pete Fabbri, the lead organizer of the Initiative and co-owner of The Silver Lining in downtown West Branch, has told us that West Branch is in the lead for organizing for filming right now. No other town is as on the ball as we are, and we hope to keep it that way!
As soon as a site is up and running for the film initiative, I will provide a link.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Michigan Film Discussion Planned for November 5 in Charlevoix

(NORTHERN MICHIGAN | October 27, 2008) – Film producers from all over the United States are looking to Michigan as a prime venue for their upcoming projects, thanks to 40% tax incentives introduced back in April. Securing the projects is just half the battle, however. The success or failure of this program lies within the communities of Michigan who must be able to provide goods and services, with an unparalleled level of expertise, teamwork and communication.

On Wednesday, November 5, a group of concerned individuals with ties to the film industry – known collectively as the Northern Michigan Film & Media Group – is hosting an informational discussion geared toward chambers of commerce, visitor bureaus, economic development organizations, businesses and individuals interested in learning more about the incentives and the potential it provides for Michigan. The session will be held at Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant in Charlevoix. A social hour for networking will start at 5pm, with a formal round-table discussion and Q&A session starting at 7pm.


Movie Starring Rob Schneider Looking For Extras

Click on Detroit

DETROIT -- A romantic comedy starring Rob Schneider and Jenna Dewan is holding a three-day open call for movie extras in Detroit.

Movie extras will not be paid, but prizes, such as plasma screen TVs, Xbox 360 and digital video cameras will be given away to some lucky participants.

Domain Entertainment Productions LLC is filming "Virgin on Bourbon Street" in various locations in Detroit on Oct. 28, 29 and 30.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Northern Michigan Film Industry Update

By Rick Coates | Northern Express | October 26, 2008

Michigan’s new tax incentives to attract major film productions have been working: The Michigan Film Office is reporting over 60 projects in the works and millions being invested into the state’s economy. But to date, only a few projects have been slated for Northern Michigan.

This past summer part of a production was filmed in Frankfort. There have been rumors flying of a major Warner Brothers project slated for next year in Petoskey and Grayling. The director of Hoosiers and Rudy is rumored to be filming Bassmaster this spring in Traverse City. There has been talk of the new Stephen King film being made on the Leelanau Peninsula.

Chambers, convention & visitors bureaus and location scouts have received other inquiries as well. Although downstate communities continue to get the bulk of the projects, community organizers are taking actions in Northern Michigan to change this course of direction.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Take One,Take Two, Take Michigan?

By Eden Cooney | October 24, 2008 | Sealander (Seaholm High School)

Lights. Camera. Action. Over the summer several teenagers were extras in movies filmed in the local area. Michigan is becoming a big hot spot for movie locations, not only because of the beautiful landscapes the state provides but also because of Governor Jennifer Granholm’s recently passed movie tax rebate.

The Michigan movie rebate law basically states that up to 42 percent of the money spent on making the film will be given back to the directors, producers, actors, actresses, etc. However, some say that Governor Granholm was being too generous with the movie tax rebate. After all, with big movie budgets, Michigan can end up losing a large amount of money.


Extras Needed for Rob Schneider Film

Detroit (WWJ) | October 23, 2008

If you want a big break in the movie business, you don't have to move to California. Metro Detroit will look more like Hollywood when the new film "Virgin On Bourbon Street" starts shooting next week, starring Rob Schneider and Jenna Dewan.

The film will be shot entirely on location in Greektown, Indian Village, other downtown Detroit locations and at Orchard Lake St Mary’s Preparatory School in Orchard Lake.

Although there is no financial compensation for participation as a movie extra, major prizes will be given away to many lucky participants.

The prizes will include: Plasma Screen Televisions, Motor Scooters, Microsoft X-box 360, SR and Digital video cameras. Filming will be conducted rain or shine.

If you're interested, please call RealStyle Casting at (248) 220-1034.


Midwest Hollywood

By Derek Smith | LAKE Magazine | November 2008

For Rick Hert, a drive through scenic west Michigan is never as relaxing as it sounds. At the helm of the new film office of the West Michigan Tourist Association, he’s constantly on the lookout for the right barn, the perfect house, an isolated roadside diner – locations where eager filmmakers can set up cameras for their next flick.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Movie mayhem invades K-College

BY CHRIS KILLIAN | October 22, 2008 | Kalamazoo Gazette

KALAMAZOO -- Inside the cramped interior of a 1980s Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser station wagon -- crammed with cords, microphones and other hardware -- the film slate's digital numbers tumbled downward until the assistant director called out the one word that perhaps most personifies moviemaking.

``Action!,'' he said.

Slowly, the Cutlass made its way up Academy Street in the heart of Kalamazoo College's stately campus, trailing a production car where producers of ``Cherry'' -- an independent film being shot here -- watched a monitor that showed the shots being filmed inside the station wagon by means of a wireless feed.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The big picture with Michigan's film incentives

By B. Candace Beeke | Business Review Western Michigan | Thursday October 16, 2008

Several weeks ago, Business Review Western Michigan editorialized against Michigan's film incentives. We questioned the logic in supporting an industry that seemed outside our state's focus on life sciences and advanced manufacturing.

Then the letters began. And the blogging.

We have received dozens of comments online and as letters to the editor weighing in on the incentives, which started in April. We have heard from representatives of the
Amway Grand Hotel how positive the incentives have been for business. We've also heard from Realtors who question the reasoning behind supporting out-of-state companies while increasing the tax burden for Michigan business investors.


Film industry players say better film incentives needed to lure projects

By Scott E. Pacheco | Miami Today | October 16, 2008

If you think sunshine, sandy beaches and brilliant blue waters are enough to attract film projects in a tough economy, think again, film industry leaders say.

While Florida has cut its incentives by 80% for film projects, other states such as Michigan, New Mexico, Louisiana and Georgia are dangling lavish incentives.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Text size: Illinois, Michigan compete for films

By Robert K. Elder | Chicago Tribune | October 14, 2008

Michigan is drinking Illinois' milkshake, to paraphrase Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood."

That state's generous tax incentive—42 percent—to companies that make movies there has challenged Chicago's position as a Midwest filmmaking center. Illinois' incentive amounts to 20 percent of production costs.

"We're hemorrhaging dollars, literally, to Michigan right now," says Lars Ullberg, president of the Illinois Production Alliance, a non-profit advocacy group.

The Alliance plans to propose Tuesday that the state's incentive be increased to 30 percent and be extended to 2013, to be more competitive with Michigan.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Michigan cashing in on movie law

David Eggert • Associated Press • October 13, 2008 • From Lansing State Journal

Six months after Michigan began handing out the nation's most generous moviemaking incentives, results are surpassing lofty expectations.

Studios that had planned to shoot elsewhere turned on a dime and flocked to the state, bringing stars such as Val Kilmer and Drew Barrymore with them. The number of scripts approved by the state film office is up 20-fold over last year. Hotels, caterers and other businesses are cashing in on new economic activity.


Chasing Michigan: Michigan Gets a Reality Check

There's more than just movies filming in Michigan these days. Last week the crew of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" was in Holt, Michigan where they rebuilt Arlene Nickless' 148 year old farm house.

Ty Pennington and crew worked in Holt all week before the big reveal on Friday when they moved that bus and gave the whole town a first look at the Nickless' new home.


Residents, officials meet to discuss Muskegon's place in film industry

By Eric Gaertner | The Muskegon Chronicle | October 13, 2008

NORTON SHORES — A discussion about the prospects for West Michigan, and specifically Muskegon, becoming a major player in the film industry took the place of a blockbuster movie Monday night in theater No. 5 inside the Cinema Carousel.

The audience, which numbered 70 people, seemed to be just as entertained as the economic and social implications of films being shot in West Michigan were highlighted. Michigan's new movie-making incentives have generated a recent surge in movies being made in the state.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Plan in Ogemaw County to go after film industry a smart move

By Dave Vizard | The Bay City Times | October 10, 2008

Hats off to Pete Fabbri and his cohorts from West Branch.

As noted in today's True North feature on this page, they're aiming for the stars.

No, not the ones up in the sky. They've got their sights set on attracting Hollywood stars and film-production crews to Ogemaw County.

Now, some might think the whole idea of bringing a chunk of the multi-million dollar movie industry to Northeast Michigan is pure science fiction - the stuff right out of the "X-Files."


Will movie law boost last?

Traverse City Record Eagle | October 12, 2008

LANSING (AP) -- Six months after Michigan began handing out the nation's most generous moviemaking incentives, results are surpassing lofty expectations.

Studios that had planned to shoot elsewhere turned on a dime and flocked here, bringing stars such as Val Kilmer and Drew Barrymore with them. The number of scripts approved by the state film office is up 20-fold over last year. Hotels, caterers and other businesses are cashing in on new economic activity.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Incentives for Filming Cause Jitters

By Michael Cieply | New York Times | October 12, 2008

LOS ANGELES — Already on the hook for billions to bail out Wall Street, taxpayers are also finding themselves stuck with a growing tab for state programs designed to increase local film production.

One of the most shocking bills has come due in Louisiana, where residents are financing a hefty share of Brad Pitt's next movie — $27,117,737, to be exact, which the producers will receive by cashing or selling off valuable tax credits.


Weighing The Pros and Cons of The Michigan Film Industry

By Garrett Godwin | Toledo News Blade | October 11, 2009

Despite the Great Recession and an increase in unemployment, Michigan is on the verge of going Hollywood. Since Governor Jennifer Granholm signed the Michigan Film Incentives bill as a law in April, forty-two percent in rebates on film money has been spent as one of the most generous film tax incentives in America.

This is paving the way for the state in developing a rising film industry, where upcoming films such as Drew Barrymore's Whip It and the Ben Carson bio pic Gifted Hands starring Oscar winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. are being shot in Michigan. Several residents are getting the opportunity to get cast as extras in a mainstream picture, while most decide to strike out on their own in setting up their own production company or group to make their own films.


‘Steam Experiment’ Updates

By Aaron Lafferty | October 10, 2008 | WOOD TV8

Even more updates since I went to sleep… my email inbox is loaded with updates… like comments from the producer about working in Grand Rapids and a reference to the deadly plot, plus an update from the West Michigan Film Office on a possible release date….


Area's film industry moves into spotlight

By Robert C. Burns | October 11, 2008 | Muskegon Chronicle

Muskegon's prospects as a film capital continue to evolve, frame by frame.

On the heels of a set of state financial incentives for filmmakers, the creation of WaterMark Studios in downtown Muskegon and the filming this summer of "Offspring," a feature-length horror film directed by Andrew van den Houten, the area is starting to attract some starring-role attention.

Tony Wenson, chief operating officer of the Michigan Film Office, will be the guest of state Rep. Mary Valentine, D-Muskegon, for a special town hall meeting set for 7 p.m. Monday at Cinema Carousel, 4289 Grand Haven.


Movie law boosts Mich., lasting success unclear

KATC | October 9, 2008

LANSING, Mich. -- Six months after Michigan began handing out the nation's most generous moviemaking incentives, results are surpassing lofty expectations.

Studios that had planned to shoot elsewhere turned on a dime and flocked here, bringing stars such as Val Kilmer and Drew Barrymore with them. The number of scripts approved by the state film office is up 20-fold over last year. Hotels, caterers and other businesses are cashing in on new economic activity.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Michigan films in focus for services supplier

By Neal Haldane / Special to The Detroit News / October 10, 2008

FERNDALE -- S3 Entertainment Group executives predict filmmakers will spend $60 million to $75 million this year making movies in Michigan.

Next year, Jeffrey Spilman and Larry August expect movie spending in the state could exceed $250 million and they want their firm to capture a share of that revenue.

Michigan's April adoption of lucrative incentives to lure filmmakers to the state has created a "gold rush" among companies that want to service moviemakers, said Spilman, who has worked as an entertainment lawyer. The state offers film producers 40 cents to 42 cents back for every dollar spent filming here.


Movie law boosts Michigan economy

By David Eggert | Associated Press | October 10, 2008

LANSING, Mich.–Six months after Michigan began handing out the nation's most generous moviemaking incentives, results are surpassing lofty expectations.

Studios that had planned to shoot elsewhere turned on a dime and flocked here, bringing stars such as Val Kilmer and Drew Barrymore with them.

The number of scripts approved by the state film office is up 20-fold over last year. And hotels, caterers and other businesses are cashing in.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Summary Box: Michigan gets boost from moviemaking

MLive.com | October 9, 2008

(AP) — MOVIE MECCA: Since Michigan approved hefty tax incentives for moviemakers, it has seen a 20-fold increase in films approved for production in the state.

TRICKLE DOWN: Hotels, rental companies and others report boosts in business because film crews spend weeks or months on set.

CRITICS: Some groups representing Michigan businesses don't like it that out-of-state movie companies will get generous checks from the state for coming to Michigan.

STALLED: Senate Republicans' attempt to cap how much the state can give in tax breaks so far is hitting fierce opposition from Democrats and some Republicans, who say the law needs time to work.


The “Scene” and the Unseen

By Mr. Michael D. LaFaive | The Mackinac Center for Public Policy | October 9, 2008

Tom Long of The Detroit News is a terrific movie reviewer - my favorite - but his Oct. 9 column is too weighted with reasons the state's film incentive program may be a good thing.

Long's piece is titled "Michigan's movie role pays off." If the words "for some" were added to the end it might be true, in the same sense that bank robbery pays off - for the robber. The analogy doesn't quite hold, though, because in this instance those absconding with the loot were invited into the vault by the bank's employees.


Hollywood Comes to Town: Incentives can lure film directors to Michigan, but will it be enough to make them stay?

Michigan Radio

by Jennifer Guerra

(2008-10-09) Movie sets are popping up all over Michigan. Thanks in large part to the state's new film incentives. But incentives come and go. Next year another state could offer even better ones. Michigan Radio's Jennifer Guerra looks at what some people in the state are doing to get the film industry to stay here for good.

The Michigan Film Office has been swamped with scripts since April. That's when state legislators passed what are arguably the best film incentives in the country. Janet Lockwood is the director of the Michigan Film Office: Here she is with a breakdown of the incentives:

"It's a basic 40% across the board refundable tax credit," says Lockwood. "If they shoot in one of the 103 core communities, they are eligible for up to 42% across the board."

Incentives can only do so much to get a movie made here. Without the infrastructure in place to actually support those incentives – things like production houses, sound stages, and crew – it'll be harder to get Hollywood to come back to Michigan to shoot a 2nd time.

That's where Christos Moisides and Michael Sinanis come in. There the guys behind 23rd Street Studios in Detroit. 23rd Street is undergoing some massive renovations right now. That's because -- up until a year ago – it was a working auto factory. That is until General Motors took its business out of state and to Mexico.

Michael Sinanis says the "whole time I'm thinking: how do we bring labor work back to Michigan? The movie industry. The movie industry is a labor intensive industry. You cannot make these movies without labor."

Or, he adds, labor equipment. Sinanis plans to keep a lot of the old auto factory equipment in place...like the 25-ton crane hanging above our heads. Instead of using it to move auto parts around, it'll move movie sets.

Christos Moisides is the other guy behind 23rd Street. He made movies in L.A. for 15 years before he moved back to Detroit.

One of the things he wants to do at 23rd Street is teach people how "to become either electricians or grips or best boys and gaffers. At end of day, state looks at incentive and say: was it beneficial for the state financially and did it help unemployed workers become skilled and employed workers?"

Well frankly, it's too early to answer either of those questions. But we can speculate. The Michigan Film Office predicts it'll rake in $100 million for the state this year because of the incentives. That's up from the $2 million the film industry brought in last year.

In terms of saying how many new jobs the incentives created...there have been a couple smaller film-related businesses that have opened up – like casting agencies and catering companies. And in order to make a film, you need crew, right? So employment numbers should be going up, too. But David Hasham isn't convinced that's happening.

"Unfortunately," says Hasham, "I have a feeling, as do many of my friends, that they are bringing crew from L.A. That's frustrating."

Hasham recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a film degree. He had planned to do the L.A. thing right after graduation. But now he and some of his friends plan to stick around until January to see how the incentives pan out. So far, he says, they're feeling boxed out.

"We want to make movies," says Hasham. "That's basically what it boils down to. And if we're not making movies, we're going to go to someplace that will allow us to do that."

That's the last thing Mark Adler wants. Adler runs a non-profit called the Michigan Production Alliance. It's kind of like a middle man for the film industry. He provides the big, out-of-town production companies with a list of people who can help crew the set. People like David Hasham.

"We want to create a creative economy," says Adler. "For many years, the film schools have been putting these guys out. And if we can keep them here with this creative economy, that would be a wonderful thing."

David Hasham agrees. It would be wonderful to stay in Michigan. But it'd be more wonderful to make movies.

© Copyright 2008, MICHIGAN RADIO

Listen to the Audio Report:

Novi sees firsthand the workings of Michigan Film Incentive

By Kelly Murad • Observer & Eccentric• October 9, 2008

Last week, almost exactly six months after the Michigan film production credit went into effect, the city of Novi served as the stomping grounds of the upcoming feature film Demoted, starring Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings) and David Cross (Arrested Development).

"They're filming on the civic center campus, using the ball fields," Novi City Manager Clay Pearson said last Wednesday, of the city-owned Ella Mae Power Park property. "They're using local rental companies and hotels. It's a positive economic impact."


Alternate ending for Michigan's film incentives?

by Jake LaDuke | Business Review Western Michigan | October 09, 2008

Freshness may be in bloom for Dot&Cross and others in the film industry looking to capitalize on Michigan's aggressive tax breaks aimed to court the film industry, but not everyone's smelling the roses.

Critics of what Gov. Jennifer Granholm called the most-aggressive film-incentive program in the country say the up-to 42 percent refundable tax credit offered to film companies that work in Michigan is too costly.


Michigan Film Incentives Pay Off; But the Debate Continues

Michigan State University | October 9, 2008

Six months after Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed the Michigan Film Incentives bill into law -- offering up to 42 percent in rebates on film money spent here, one of the most generous film tax incentives in the nation -- Michigan now has a burgeoning movie industry. And even though the new industry injects what some see as rays of fiscal and emotional sunshine into Michigan's seemingly unending economic downturn, the debate continues over whether the effort is a boon to the state.

"The problem is that you have certain companies paying high taxes in order to provide benefits to other companies," said Gary Wolfram, a former deputy state treasurer and current professor of economics at Hillsdale College. "Why should giving money to the film industry to come here be any better than giving money to the dental floss industry?"


Michigan's movie role pays off

By Tom Long | The Detroit News | October 9, 2008

Brian Meganck is a big movie fan. Not of watching them, necessarily. Of making them. In Michigan.

A few years ago, as the number of commercials shooting in Michigan began fading, Meganck had to move his business Kind Services, which provides drinks and snacks for film crews, to Oregon. There just wasn't enough work here. Now Meganck is back, and business is booming.

"We went from two full-time employees to now six and a host of part-timers," he said in August on the phone from the set of "Whip It," starring Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page. He's now working on the set of "Demoted," starring David Cross. "We went from the capability of doing one movie at a time to three movies," Meganck said. "We've knocked out six features and I've probably turned down six or eight more."


Michigan now a film mecca

MetroMode.com | October 9, 2008

The film incentives have been a bright spot for Michigan and everyone knows that people notice bright spots. So, with that said, the Los Angeles Times has called Michigan a film mecca, which jumped from just three films last year to over 60, and counting, this year.

Once considered a relative backwater as a film destination, Michigan has lured more than 60 features and made-for-TV movies this year, up from just three last year, according to the Michigan Film Office. The projects include upcoming films as well as recently-wrapped movies such as Clint Eastwood’s "Gran Torino," a drama about at Korean War vet who befriends his young neighbor; "Whip It!," a Drew Barrymore-directed comedy starring Ellen Page of "Juno" fame; and the sci-fi thriller "Butterfly Effect: Revelation" (pictured above). Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures all have films lined up to shoot in Michigan this fall.

Under Michigan's program, producers get 40 cents back for every $1 they spend on filming (double the existing rebate) and qualify for an additional 2% spending rebate if the film is shot in designated "core communities," including Detroit and Flint.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chasing Michigan: Sex and the Midwestern Town

Jaunted.com | October 8, 2008

There have been several Kim Cattrall sightings reported in Michigan where she has been shooting the new HBO pilot, "Miss January" since the beginning of September.

In the show her character, a retired porn star, is tracked down by a young man who is infatuated with her. Filming has taken place around the state in several small communities including West Bloomfield, Livonia, and most recently, Romulus.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Valentine to Host Town Hall on Film Industry

Event to focus on local economic development, job creation
— October 07, 2008

MUSKEGON – On Monday, Oct. 13, 2008, State Representative Mary Valentine (D-Norton Shores) will host an informal town hall meeting about the film industry in Michigan and the new film studios being built in our community. Valentine will be joined by several special guests from the film industry here in Michigan and Hollywood. Valentine encourages any area resident who wants to learn about Michigan's film incentive package and the jobs it is bringing to Michigan to attend the event.

WHO: State Representative Mary Valentine (D-Norton Shores); Tony Wenson, Chief Operating Officer of the Michigan Film Office; Sarah Rooks, WaterMark Studios Project Manager; Delaine Roberts and Dominic Greenman from Entertainment 2 Educated; and Walter Canady, Founder and CEO of UpGrade Entertainment.

WHERE: Cinema Carousel Theatre, 4289 Grandhaven Road, Muskegon

WHEN: Monday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m.


Sound studio grows ahead of film boom

By Maureen McDonald | Detroit News | October 7, 2008

SOUTHFIELD -- Anticipating a major boom in Michigan filmmaking, Ron Rose is expanding his Southfield studio to 20,000 square feet, turning a restaurant that bore a dozen names into high tech suites for audio, Internet and video editing.

"We want to be at the forefront of new media," said Rose, 63, who runs the business with his son and vice president, Chris Rose, 34; Chad Cooper, 35; and a team of 70 employees, some who have been with the company since it opened in the same Southfield strip mall back in 1976.

The expansion will be complete in January.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Former University of Michigan Student James Earl Jones Wins SAG Award

October 3, 2008

The Screen Actors Guild will honor former University of Michigan student James Earl Jones with the Life Achievement Award. The ceremony will take place on January 25... so you've got time to prepare the festivities.


Chasing Michigan: Christina Ricci is a Faire Maiden


Lights, Camera... Michigan? That's right, thanks to a new incentives program from the Michigan Film Office, the state is experiencing a boom in filming with more than 60 movies on the shooting schedule for this year alone, up from just three last year. Looks like Michigan might just be Hollywood Midwest.

Of course big movies mean big stars. Recent celeb sightings have included Drew Barrymore, who was filming her directorial debut, "Whip It!" in Flint and Clint Eastwood who just wrapped "Gran Torino" in Detroit.


Michigan Film Tax Incentive Endangered

By Joey Ostrander | October 3, 2008

Over the past couple days I've drafted a statement opposing a Michigan Senate Bill 1535 that would put a constricting cap on Michigan's current film tax incentive.

The cap would limit the state's support of the film/arts industry, turn away production companies from outside Michigan, and eliminate jobs.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hollywood Comes Home

By Mary Radigan | Rapid Growth Media | October 2, 2008

There were some distinctly Hollywood moments when Grand Rapids’ first major film production of the modern era landed in the city for a month-long shoot.

Although you couldn’t ask the star of "The Steam Experiment," Val Kilmer, for an autograph, you could have potentially shopped for eggs at the neighborhood Meijer store with actor Eric Roberts, made him breakfast in your apartment and helped read lines for his role in the film. The movie’s director, Philippe Martinez, was quick to offer a cigar, while actor Armand Assante wanted some specific listening music. His locally chosen personal assistant, Rebekah Fuller from the Compass Film Academy, found his tunes at Best Buy.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Filming at High School Means Big Things for Community

A Livingston County school is just about ready for its close up. The Howell school board votes on a plan to use its shuttered high school as a movie set. Lights and cameras could mean major action for the district. Parker High School is the former home of the Howell Highlanders and it could be the future home of Hollywood.

Rick Terres, Asst. Superintendent for Business: "This contract may be the first of its kind with a public school system in the state of Michigan."

Parker only played the part of "high school" for one year before the cash-strapped district shut it down. Now a deal to reopen it as the backdrop for a movie could breathe new life and money into the building.


Romulus is site of ‘Miss January’

Journal Newspapers | October 1, 2008

Heavy incentives given to the film industry are working in small communities throughout Michigan, and earlier this week, the stars came out in Romulus.

Los Angeles-based filmmakers converged on downtown Romulus and a select group of small Wayne County cities to shoot Miss January, a coming of age story starring Kim Cattrall of Sex and the City fame, and Brian Dennehy.

In all, about seven out of 27 production days were spent in Romulus by the time filmmakers packed up their cameras Tuesday, said Ernest Belding of Gilbert Films.


Kalamazoo-made comedy film "Love Cancer" close to complete; area screenings set

By John Liberty | Kalamazoo Gazette | October 1, 2008

Local filmmaker Kevin Park said he learned a great deal from making his new comedy "Love Cancer."

Namely, production and audio people are hired for a reason -- it was too much for him to try to handle alone -- and it's important to consider the temperature of the location you do a majority of your filming. Park shot a good portion of the spoof at local musician Matt Helt's apartment this summer. It was hot. Many of the actors were sweating through their clothes.

"It was like 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' gross," Park said.


Michigan's Future in Film

Blogger: Chrystal Gowens | October 1, 2008

Anyone who lives in Michigan and is at all familiar with the economic status should’ve been happy to hear that our state was a possible “place of interest” for Warner Bros, Co.’s new studio development plans.

Since the 4.7 million square foot Ford plant in Wixom, Michigan was closed (May of 2007), it has stood empty just waiting for someone to take an interest in it again. Although Warner Bros, Co. claims it was simply an exploratory visit when they scouted out the location on August 18th, it sparked conversation about the possibility of the company turning the old plant into a film studio.

After all, this wouldn’t be the first time that Warner Bros, Co. has turned a non-feature related building into a place to film their movies. The Harry Potter motion pictures were shot in an old air base in England and all the fans know how well those turned out.


Hollywood Comes Home

By Mary Radigan | Rapid Growth Media | October 2, 2008

There were some distinctly Hollywood moments when Grand Rapids’ first major film production of the modern era landed in the city for a month-long shoot.

Although you couldn’t ask the star of "The Steam Experiment," Val Kilmer, for an autograph, you could have potentially shopped for eggs at the neighborhood Meijer store with actor Eric Roberts, made him breakfast in your apartment and helped read lines for his role in the film. The movie’s director, Philippe Martinez, was quick to offer a cigar, while actor Armand Assante wanted some specific listening music. His locally chosen personal assistant, Rebekah Fuller from the Compass Film Academy, found his tunes at Best Buy.


Hollywood on the Huron: Michigan now a film mecca

By Richard Verrier | LA Times | September 30, 2008

First it was Louisiana. Then it was New Mexico and New York. Now it’s Michigan’s turn as the latest hot spot for film production. Not since Michael Moore’s documentary “Roger and Me” has the Great Lakes state garnered so much attention from Hollywood.

Once considered a relative backwater as a film destination, Michigan has lured more than 60 features and made-for-TV movies this year, up from just three last year, according to the Michigan Film Office. The projects include upcoming films as well as recently-wrapped movies such as Clint Eastwood’s "Gran Torino," a drama about at Korean War vet who befriends his young neighbor; "Whip It!," a Drew Barrymore-directed comedy starring Ellen Page of "Juno" fame; and the sci-fi thriller "Butterfly Effect: Revelation" (pictured above). Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures all have films lined up to shoot in Michigan this fall.


Just checking

By Bill Iddings | September 30, 2008 | Muskegon Chronicle

A newspaper has obligations to its readers.

Foremost among them: Get it right.

We're not talking true facts here, because that's redundant.

A fact by definition is true. There's no such thing as getting the facts wrong.

The issue is correct information.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hollywood on the Huron: Michigan now a film mecca

Los Angeles Times | September 30, 2008

First it was Louisiana. Then it was New Mexico and New York. Now it’s Michigan’s turn as the latest hot spot for film production. Not since Michael Moore’s documentary “Roger and Me” has the Great Lakes state garnered so much attention from Hollywood.

Once considered a relative backwater as a film destination, Michigan has lured more than 60 features and made-for-TV movies this year, up from just three last year, according to the Michigan Film Office. The projects include upcoming films as well as recently-wrapped movies such as Clint Eastwood’s "Gran Torino," a drama about at Korean War vet who befriends his young neighbor; "Whip It!," a Drew Barrymore-directed comedy starring Ellen Page of "Juno" fame; and the sci-fi thriller "Butterfly Effect: Revelation" (pictured above). Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures all have films lined up to shoot in Michigan this fall.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Big Screen Entertainment Strikes Deal With Rochester Financial for Michigan Movies

TradingMarkets.com | September 28, 2008

Big Screen Entertainment Group that it has entered into a financing partnership with Rochester Financial Center to develop film financing packages and funds for a number of films to be produced solely in Michigan.

Big Screen will be opening a permanent production branch in Southeast Michigan to capitalize on the remarkable initiative of 40 percent return on all Michigan film expenditures.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Novi residents debut in Hollywood film

By Kelly Murad • Staff Writer • September 26, 2008

When Drew Barrymore’s upcoming film “Whip It!” debuts, Novi residents might recognize the familiar faces of fellow community members Paul and Sharon Thal on the big screen.

Novi residents of 35 years, the couple recently spent a Saturday afternoon working as extras on the set of Barrymore’s movie, centered around roller derby, which was filmed in Michigan.

Thanks to the Michigan Film Incentive, which went into effect in April, more and more projects are choosing the Great Lakes State for filming their productions.


Friday, September 26, 2008

GOP wants to drop Mich. biz taxes, cap film credit

By DAVID EGGERT | The Associated Press | September 25, 2008

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Republican-controlled Senate committee on Thursday voted to phase out a surcharge on Michigan business taxes over three years and to cap new tax breaks used to attract moviemakers to the state.

Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm immediately opposed any effort to rein in the film incentives.

"Let's give film a chance," spokesman Liz Boyd said.


Ypsilanti could be one giant movie set

By Brian Vosburg | The Ypsi Tattler - Eastern Michigan University | September 26, 2008

The Tatt was able to get a bit part in the latest Ypsilanti movie, “Whip It!“. Watch for the Tatt during one of the bar scenes sitting next to the poker machine. Not enough to get a SAG card, but it will pay for coffee for the next two months.

During a break in filming the Tatt asked if they had decided where they were planning to host the premiere? The producers said they hadn’t decided.

So the Tatt made a pitch to do the premier at Eastern’s Pease Auditorium.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

'Steam Experiment' wraps up Friday; local premiere possible

By John Serba | The Grand Rapids Press | September 25, 2008

GRAND RAPIDS — One day to go.

"The Steam Experiment," the first film to shoot in Grand Rapids since the Michigan state film initiative passed, is scheduled to wrap Friday. The $4.8 million budgeted movie, starring Val Kilmer and Armand Assante, started filming Sept. 3 and is adhering closely to its 16-day shooting schedule, which included six days in various downtown locations before moving to a soundstage at Deano's Studio on the northeast side.


Holland’s TicTock Studios takes film crew training statewide

By: Deborah Johnson Wood | Rapid Growth Media | September 25, 2008

By training Michigan residents to use carpentry, electrical, lighting and other skills for film crew jobs, Holland-based TicTock Studios has created a reason for out-of-state film crews to come to Michigan: a trained, skilled workforce.

Michigan’s burgeoning film industry got a major boost last April with the signing of legislation that offers feature filmmakers the most aggressive tax incentives in the country.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Shut school may get film role

Valerie Olander / The Detroit News / September 24, 2008

HOWELL -- Howell Public School's $70 million Parker High School, which closed after only one year because a lack of funding, could re-open -- but only for 12 weeks -- to be used as a backdrop for a Hollywood film.

The school district was in negotiations on Tuesday with the Michigan Film Office and Parallel Media, which plans to lease the school building for about $100,000, and pump as much as $6.5 million into the local economy. About 100 crew members are expected to stay in local hotels, dine in restaurants and shop in downtown Howell, beginning as soon as next month.


Production laden with Mich. ties

By Christopher Behnan | DAILY PRESS & ARGUS | September 23, 2008

A tangled web of Michigan connections links actors, directors and films tied to “High School,” the movie proposed to be filmed at the Howell Public Schools Parker Campus this year.

A quick search of the Internet Movie Database, imdb.com, revealed the following information:

Warren Zide, a producer for “High School,” is a Southfield native perhaps best known for the “American Pie” movie franchise. The first film is set in Michigan and includes references to the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor.


Residents energized over film project

By Lisa Roose-Church • DAILY PRESS & ARGUS • September 24, 2008

News of a possible feature film being made at the Howell Public Schools Parker Campus — a potential six-figure payoff for the district — has local actors and aspiring film directors excited about possibilities.

Brighton resident Mary Bragg doesn't believe her grandchildren, ages 6 and 12, would fit with the film — "High School," which a producer described as adult content with a humorous look at illegal substances — but Bragg sees the children in future projects that could come to Livingston County.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Film industry boosts training

Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News / September 23, 2008

DEARBORN -- One of Michigan's hottest industries -- the burgeoning film and television business -- is amping up efforts to train Michigan residents for careers in the wide range of production work needed behind the scenes.

Much of the training is aimed at jobless residents but will soon expand to college students and anyone else interested.

Among those currently getting the training is 19-year-old Michael Hinton, a Detroit resident who was hoping to become a truck driver. He is among the 47 people recruited through Michigan Works! -- the agency that deals with state's jobless -- to take a two-week basic film training class taught by a Hollywood veteran.


Places to Shoot a Movie in Michigan

When someone says ”Michigan,” what comes to mind besides cars, snow and college football? How about ”regional filmmaking capital”?

That idea may be new to some movie fans and movie makers, but it shouldn?t be. After all, the Wolverine State has long attracted filmmakers as a shooting location, thanks to its excellent cities, historically strong economy, and?above all?its great geographical diversity. The state’s great strength, for movie directors, is that it offers many kinds of backdrop, and can stand in for nearly any location in the country. Where else can you find rolling plains (perfect for that epic of nineteenth-century Midwestern life), the rugged Porcupine Mountains (ready for that adventure film you\’re planning), the forested beauty of the Upper Peninsula (the right place for the heroes of your romance film to fall in love), diverse cityscapes (a backdrop for your courtroom drama, crime film, corporate saga, or office comedy), and more?and still never be more than eighty-five miles from the beach? No wonder that movies like Grosse Pointe Blank, Anatomy of a Murder, Ferris Bueller\’s Day Off, RoboCop, Somewhere In Time and The Evil Dead were all partly or wholly shot in Michigan. More recently, 8 Mile, Jumper and the upcoming Youth In Revolt feature Michigan locations.


Parker Campus may be location for shooting 'High School' move

Posted by Tom Tolen | The Livingston Community News | September 23, 2008

The mostly unused Parker Campus of Howell High School is on the verge of being transformed into a movie set that could pump as much as $6 million into the local economy.

While contract negotiations continue for use of the building in Marion Township, production work on a movie called, appropriately enough, "High School," appears to be on the fast track. The Howell Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the contract in a special meeting Monday, Sept. 29.


New Video Produced by S3 Entertainment Group Shows Film Industry Positively Impacting Michigan's Economy

Clint Eastwood says, "Michigan will be the new film capital of the world."

DETROIT, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- A new video released today highlights the tremendous positive impact that the film industry incentive is having on the Michigan economy after only a few short months. The video, released by S3 Entertainment Group (S3EG), a Ferndale, Mich.-based direct provider of the infrastructure necessary for successful film production in the state, and Avalon Films, a Royal Oak, Mich.-based commercial production company, features local Detroit hip-hop artist, Stretch Money, emphasizing the positive impact the motion picture industry has had on Michigan and the positive experiences of filmmakers in the state. Jeffery Spilman, managing partner of S3EG, made the announcement.


50 nifty filmmaking states

By Alexandyr Kent, USA TODAY

What's shot where? The following outlines what projects have been shot — partially or mostly — in each state. (Years are date of release, according to imdb.com):


Parker in focus for studio film

By Lisa Roose-Church • DAILY PRESS & ARGUS • September 23, 2008

The Howell Public Schools Parker Campus may be mostly shuttered, but it could open to "students" if a deal to film an upcoming movie is inked.

Producers of the film "High School" hope to begin filming Nov. 3 on the estimated $9.5 million film, which producers hope will star William H. Macy as the principal, but no deal with the actor has been inked.

After initial reservations due to the movie's content — described as adult content with a humorous look at illegal substances — the school district's Board of Education authorized its superintendent and assistant superintendent of business to enter into negotiations with producers.