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."