Thursday, February 26, 2009

Arrested Development film to shoot in Ypsilanti?

By Mark Maynard | February 26, 2009

I think it’s an incredible long shot, but, when my friend Arun told me today that Michael Cera, the last remaining holdout for the long-awaited Arrested Development feature film, had signed-on, my first thought was that maybe, somehow, we might be able to lure the production here to Ypsi. I know it’s a reach, seeing as how we have neither the West coast sunshine, nor the marina backdrop that viewers of the ground-breaking sitcom have come to expect, but we do have a local man with a fleet of Segways, which I’m sure he would make available to Gob, and, of course, there are those aggressive incentives for producers bringing projects to Michigan. And, there’s really no reason it couldn’t be a road movie. Maybe it already is… I haven’t seen a script.

Filming of hockey movie 'The Genesis Code' expected to benefit Grand Rapids-area economy

By John Serba | The Grand Rapids Press | February 26, 2009

GRAND RAPIDS -- A new film project hopes to pump up to $4 million into the West Michigan economy.

"The Genesis Code," a feature-length drama from American Saga Productions, was approved Tuesday for state film incentives by the Michigan Film Office in Lansing. Principal photography is scheduled to begin in mid-April.

According to Jerry Zandstra, vice president of American Saga Productions, the film's budget is between $8 million and $9.5 million. It will shoot in Lowell and Grand Rapids with "name actors that folks will recognize," he said.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Moves made for more movies

BY STEFANIE MURRAY | The Ann Arbor News | February 25, 2009

The fledgling Washtenaw County movie industry last year generated about $1 million in local economic impact from the three movies filmed locally, and tourism officials hope that figure will more than double in the coming year.

As many as five films are expected here in the next 12 months, generating an estimated $2.4 million in economic impact, said Mary Kerr, president of the Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

During the group's annual meeting Tuesday, tourism officials said they are focused on making this area a go-to spot for Hollywood producers taking advantage of Michigan's tax breaks for filmmakers.

Ann Arbor Convention Bureau seeing stars, as in Hollywood movies

By Stefanie Murray | The Ann Arbor News | February 25, 2009

As many as five films are expected here this year, generating an estimated $2.4 million in economic impact, Mary Kerr, president of the Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, told the group's annual meeting Tuesday. The bureau is focusing its efforts on making this area a go-to spot for Hollywood producers taking advantage of Michigan's tax breaks for filmmakers.

Additional revenue coming into the bureau from the recently increased hotel room accommodations tax will help fund the new initiatives, which include increased advertising, film scout hosting and becoming a member of the Association of Film Commissioners International.

L.A. scrambling to bring back film crews

By Rick Orlov, Contra Consta Times | February 25, 2009

Facing a sharp decline in the shooting of big-budget productions in Los Angeles, city officials are considering hiring a "film czar" to promote their interests with the multibillion-dollar entertainment industry.

Just three major films - those with budgets more than $75 million - are scheduled to be shot in L.A. this year, city officials said.


Michigan last year approved a lucrative package of incentives that includes cash refunds of 40 percent or more to studios that spend more than $50,000 on production in the state. Since then, the Michigan Film Office has approved incentives for 73 productions, compared to three in 2007.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The new film industry in Michigan | Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mitch Albom from the Detroit Free Press offers great rationale for Michigan's government to offer incentives to movie companies to make movies in Michigan. The famous movie Gran Torino was filmed in Michigan because of these incentives.

This is great analysis and if you care about Michigan's economy or the movie business in general, please watch these short clips.

Freep building eyed for film jobs

Louis Aguilar | The Detroit News | February 24, 2009

The new owners of the former Free Press building are looking to convert the abandoned newspaper offices into a production studio that will tap into the state's burgeoning film industry.

Go to the Web site of Motor City Film Works and the new company lists its address as 321 W. Lafayette Blvd. and displays an image of the old Free Press building, which has been empty for several years.

"We intend to turn the former printing press area into a sound stage. That's 80,000-square-feet of space," said Richard Gerber, 46, of Troy, who owns a technology firm called Intelegen Inc.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Grand Rapids hits big screen in 'The Steam Experiment' on Sunday, but no time set for West Michigan screenings

By John Serba | The Grand Rapids Press | February 23, 2009

GRAND RAPIDS -- "The Steam Experiment" is hitting the big screen soon -- but not necessarily at a theater near you.

The thriller starring Val Kilmer and Armand Assante, shot in Grand Rapids last fall, will make its debut Sunday night at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa, Fla., the neighborhood of the film's Clearwater-based production company, Cinepro Pictures.

As for a local screening of the film, producer Luc Campeau said it's in the works.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tax breaks lure Hollywood to Michigan, but Grand Rapids yet to land big movie star

By John Serba | The Grand Rapids Press | February 22, 2009

GRAND RAPIDS -- Clint Eastwood. George Clooney. Hilary Swank -- all Oscar winners who have shot or will shoot films in the Detroit area.

But what about Grand Rapids? When it comes to Michigan's budding movie business, the state seems sharply divided: Detroit -- where the majority of film projects have landed -- and everywhere else.

Add the recent announcement of three studios to be built in Detroit, Plymouth and Pontiac, and West Michiganders may be wondering, why not us?

Red Carpet Ready Event to Celebrate Academy Awards

WZZM 13 | February 22, 2009

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The 81st Annual Academy Award Show airs tonight on WZZM 13. While you can watch the show from the comfort of your own home, why not consider gettind dressed up and head out to an Oscar night event in Grand Rapids. This evening is the West Michigan Film and Video Alliance's Red Carpet Ready event.

This year's event theme is the Roaring 20's. Guests are encouraged to dress the part. There will be a contest for the best costume. In addition to the contests there will be a cash bar, food, and a special gift bag. Another surprise? The guest emcee is our very own Stephanie Webb.

The Red Carpet Ready event begins at 8 p.m. and lasts until midnight at the Amway Grand Hotel. Tickets are $70 for members, $100 for non-members, and $40 for students.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Welcome to our neighborhoods: Three student teams to present their video documentaries

By Stephanie Esters | Kalamazoo Gazette | February 18, 2009

KALAMAZOO -- The community is invited to see video documentaries Thursday night that were filmed in three Kalamazoo neighborhoods by 15 Kalamazoo high school students.

The students spent six weeks last summer interviewing and filming their parents, neighbors and community leaders as they talked about education, The Kalamazoo Promise scholarship program, their struggles, hopes and dreams. The students were supervised by several Western Michigan University and University of Michigan film students and a graduate student from Western's Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations.

Hollywood in Michigan, Break into the Biz

WXYZ Webcast - February 18, 2009

Michigan is the place to be if you're looking to break into the film industry. New studios are coming to our area, there are casting calls taking place for feature films and the Michigan movie business is only growing bigger day by day.

So, how do you break into the business or land a job working at a movie studio? Get the inside scoop on Michigan's burgeoning movie industry by watching our webcast featuring three of the area's movers and shakers in the Michigan film biz!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Michael Landon Jr. directs 'The Velveteen Rabbit'; considers filming in Michigan | February 17, 2009

Michael Landon Jr. is an actor, director, writer and producer. Fame is something he's used to. He is the son of the late Michael Landon, who became famous on TV's Bonanza. Landon Jr. directed the motion picture The Velveteen Rabbit, which is set to hit theatres on February 27 and be released on DVD on March 17. Landon Jr. is also interested in selecting Michigan to shoot upcoming films.

The Hollywood director started his career as an actor on TV's Little House on the Prarie. He played the character of Jim on a single episode.

Other States Cutting into Hollywood TV, Film Jobs

Daily Breeze | February 17, 2009

It started when Clint Eastwood went to Michigan to film "Gran Torino." Since then, George Clooney, Cuba Gooding Jr., Hilary Swank and other stars have made the pilgrimage to the Wolverine State to make movies. '

Now the phones are ringing off the hook in the "Hollywood of the Midwest," where Los Angeles film and television crews are flocking to take advantage of filming incentives - something the state of California doesn't provide.

"We're not the new Hollywood," said Mark Adler, director of the Michigan Production Alliance, a trade organization that supports film and video production.

MSU college names director of Film and Media Arts Initiative

MSU News | February 17, 2009

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Andrea Meditch, a noted film executive producer whose credits include the Oscar-nominated films “Man on Wire” and “Encounters at the End of the World,” has joined the Michigan State University College of Communication Arts and Sciences as director of the Film and Media Arts Initiative.

The new initiative is designed to work collaboratively with Michigan’s burgeoning film industry. Specifically, she will serve as a liaison between the college and the film industry, with much of her work focusing on the film industry’s needs related to work force, and what kind of training/education people need if they want to work in the film industry.

Monday, February 16, 2009

CNN takes a look at film industry in Michigan, reminds us stop crying in our beer

CNN | February 17, 2009

"Enough crying in your beer," says CNN. Some of this is mildly insulting to anyone with a Midwest zip code, but all in all it's a decent piece from the TV news factory on what's going on with film in Detroit. Bonus points for Jeff Daniels espousing our good old fashioned work ethic here in these parts. Aw shucks, Hollywood.

Watch the clip here.

City welcomes movie industry

By Gordon Wilczynski | Macomb Daily | February 16, 2009

Because a new Michigan law gives filmmakers a 40 percent tax break for working in Michigan, the Sterling Heights City Council is expected to act Tuesday on a new ordinance that would set rules and regulations for production houses, producers, directors and filmmakers.

The city's Communications Director Steve Guitar said the recommended ordinance borrows from such ordinances already established in California while incorporating provisions based on the unique needs and offerings of Sterling Heights.

Wayne County Community College District Sponsors Film Industry Conference

February 16, 2009

DETROIT, Feb 16, 2009 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- As movie production becomes one of Michigan's fastest growing industries, Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) is preparing metro Detroit's workforce for more than 5,000 film-related jobs coming to the region.

WCCCD, in partnership with a consortium of industry professionals, is sponsoring a Continuing Education seminar titled, "The Business of Show Business," which starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 21, 2009. The seminar, which is free to the public, will be held in the Welcome Center of the District's Northwest Campus, located at 8200 West Outer Drive in Detroit.

"This state is on the precipice of a powerful movement in media production," WCCCD's Chancellor, Dr. Curtis L. Ivery said. "We understand the need for training and skill development that will support this emerging industry. This seminar provides an opportunity for local citizens to see how they can successfully enter the field."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

TV, film jobs leave California in a rush

By Troy Anderson | Los Angels Daily News | February 15, 2009

It started when Clint Eastwood went to Michigan to film "Gran Torino."

Since then, George Clooney, Cuba Gooding Jr., Hilary Swank and other movie stars have made the pilgrimage to make movies in The Wolverine State.

Now, the phones are ringing off the hook in the "Hollywood of the Midwest," where Los Angeles film and television crews are flocking to take advantage of filming incentives - something the state of California doesn't do.

"We're not the new Hollywood," said Mark Adler, director of the Michigan Production Alliance, a trade organization that supports film and video production.

Role of movie mecca subsidies is complex


If Michigan wants to know what the movie industry can do for its image, look to New Mexico.

The southwestern state created film incentives in 2002 similar to what Michigan approved last year. And just as Michigan has hosted a surge in movie productions, New Mexico saw a huge boost in movies shot there in recent years, including 2008's Oscar winner "No Country for Old Men."

Jon Hendry, a union official representing movie industry workers in New Mexico, said his state's new identity as a film mecca has done wonders.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tax Incentives are Popular among Film Industry

By Jenni Riehle | February 13, 2009

The tax incentives for the film industry, which were approved last April by Governor Granholm, are in full swing. In an effort to encourage job growth and stimulate Michigan’s economy, competitive incentives were designed to reel in industries in the highly competitive market.

Michigan is now standing at the top with arguably the most generous tax incentives in the country. The Michigan Film Incentives bill gives industries up to a 42 percent rebate on the Michigan Business Tax for all production expenditures. In addition, if companies choose to set up shop in the state they will receive a 25 percent rebate on the Michigan Business Tax for infrastructures at 100,000 dollars or more.

The incentives are not only for the film industry but also apply to television and digital media companies.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Movie Students

TV 20 - Detroit | February 11, 2009

The movie industry is meaning big bucks for Michigan. Millions of dollars have been pumped into the state since the "Film Tax Incentives Program" went into effect last year. We told you about a studio coming to Pontiac last week. That's going to mean thousands of jobs for the area. My TV 20's Dave Leval shows us how you can get ready for one.


That's probably the easiest word we know on a movie set. The rest, well, it's a language all its own. Most of us know "grip" is when you have a firm hold of something. While gaffe refers to a mistake we made. However, both have different meanings on a set. You have the chance to learn that language while possibly starting a new career.

Filmmaking Farmers

February 11, 2009 | WLAJ

With Hollywood coming to Michigan for tax incentives, the state's farming industry is now getting its hands on some of the benefits.

Since April of last year, 71 film productions have been approved in Michigan, with 37 already completed.

Three thousand jobs have been created, impacting Michigan's economy by at least 57 million in wages and benefits.

Hollywood to Michigan film company: Stop using Walk of Fame star in ad


Hollywood to Michigan: Hands off!

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has sent a “cease and desist” letter to a Michigan film production company for using the famous image of a Hollywood Walk of Fame star to tout Michigan’s new film incentives.

Daniel Cobb, president of Axiom Entertainment, a Rochester-based film marketing and production company with about 50 employees, ran his ad recently in the Hollywood Reporter, a film industry publication. The ad shows a typical Walk of Fame star but instead of the name of a movie personality the name reads “Michigan.”

Training programs spring up around state's growing film industry

By Mark Lewis | February 8, 2009 | Crain's Detroit

Six weeks ago, Ferndale resident Julie Goode was making $54,000 a year working as a textiles designer and engineer for supplier Lear Corp. Then, three days before Christmas, she was laid off. Goode, 28, now is preparing to start a new career.

She is one of hundreds of Michigan residents who have enrolled in a film industry training program, at least four of which have sprung up across the state since last April. Most are run by small colleges that have contracts with private film studios to provide instructors, equipment and studio time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Roaring Good Time at Red Carpet Ready

WZZM 13 - Take 5 - February 10, 2009

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 Red Carpet Ready.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

West Michigan Film & Video Alliance hosts "look-a-like" contest

By Jennifer Pascua | WZZM 13 | February 8, 2009

The Academy Awards show is coming up towards the end of this month. Many of you can attend an Oscar Watch party hosted by the West Michigan Film and Video Alliance. If you're thinking about going, you're encouraged to show up as a look-a-like.

This week the WMFVA will hold a contest looking for people who look like stars from the 1920's. The contest will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 11th at Wealthy Street Theater in Grand Rapids. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Finalists will be selected at 7:30 p.m. Those finalists will then get to attend the Red Carpet Ready event for free.

LTU, film school sign agreement

Hometown Life | February 8, 2009

Lawrence Technological University and the Motion Picture Institute in Troy have signed an agreement that makes it easier for MPI students to transfer credits to the bachelor's degree program in media communication at Lawrence Tech.

Under the agreement, MPI students who have successfully completed the film production program at MPI can transfer up to 21 credits toward a bachelor's degree in media communication at Lawrence Tech. These transfer students will take courses in the College of Arts and Sciences to fulfill the general education requirements for a bachelor's degree at Lawrence Tech.

New film studio a boom for local training facilities

By Carol Hopkins | The Oakland Press | February 8, 2009

Jeff Spilman has 300 people on a waiting list to get into film training courses offered through his company and Oakland Community College.

“It’s so exciting for the state and our people who need jobs,” said Spilman, who is the managing partner with Ferndale-based S3 Entertainment Group. “We want to get people to work.”

In the wake of the news last year that Michigan was working to lure the film industry and last week’s announcement that two film studios would be opening in Metro Detroit, there’s a real boomtime around the area for another industry — schools that will train people who want to break into showbiz.

Thought leader in entertainment law

By Olivia Pulsinelli | Business Review Western Michigan | January 29, 2009

"Like most kids, I grew up loving movies. Then in college I had a chance to be in some student films. When I got to law school, I became particularly interested in what I call the intersection of visual arts and law," Butterer says.

Firm: Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, Grand Rapids office

Title: Shareholder

Education: University of Michigan, B.A., 1989; Indiana University, J.D., 1994

Practicing since: 1994

Speciality: Entertainment law and litigation

Karl Butterer chairs the entertainment law industry group at Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge and has been a part of many panel discussions and forums about the film industry. He is a member of the West Michigan Film and Video Alliance and the Michigan Production Alliance.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Movies now, more than ever

Detroit Free Press | February 7, 2009

The Michigan movie tax credit has already paid off in some important ways, attracting more and more filmmakers to the Great Lakes State seeking cheaper production costs.

But the fear had to be that the program's appeal might have an abbreviated shelf life. As soon as another state came up with a better tax break, the Hollywood crowd would flock there instead.

That's why it has been so encouraging to see the tax credits inspire more permanent movie-making infrastructure: the $86-million studio planned for the old MGM site in Detroit, and a $70-million studio slated to rise in Pontiac, at the old General Motors Centerpoint plant.

These fixtures, along with other production houses and studios, will more fundamentally lower the cost of filmmaking in Michigan than the tax credit, giving the state a potential long-term edge.

West Michigan has a bright future in the movies

WZZM 13 | February 7, 2009

Last year was a busy year for the film industry in Michigan and 2009 is slated to be even better.

"I'm hardly able to contain myself. It's been that exciting," said Rick Hert, film commissioner for the West Michigan Film Office.

In April, the state passed what is considered the most aggressive film incentives in the country. Hert says since then there has been an onslaught of projects coming to Michigan.

"On a daily basis I'm talking to people interested in filming in West Michigan," said Hert. "I have about 6 feature films that are showing an interest, three scripts in hand and a project that is looking at the Grand Rapids area and surrounding area. I also have some documentaries, tv shows and commercials."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Opportunities in movies are knocking at our door

By Dave Vizard | The Bay City Times | February 06, 2009

Did anyone else hear that thumping noise amid all the doom and gloom of Governor Granholm's annual report to the people of Michigan the other night?

If I'm not mistaken - and I usually have a very good ear for banging noises, especially when it involves either my friend Rob falling off a bar stool or the state's ailing economy - it was a definite knocking sound. Yes, I'm sure of it. Opportunity beckoned for us all.

In the midst of all the nasty things happening to our great state, the gov's State of the State announced Michigan's latest plunge into the film-making and the creative-arts industries. In other words, great opportunity stands before us in movies, music, graphic design and digital gaming. All we have to do is answer the door.

New movie studios bright spots in dim economic forecast

Daily Tribune | February 6, 2009

Amid all of the promises and predictions we heard Tuesday from Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, there was at least one bit of very good, definite news.

The governor gave her state of the state address and Patterson gave his state of the county speech.

They said tough economic times will last at least into 2010 but moves to increase job opportunities outside of the auto industry is key to ending the recession in the state and particularly in southeastern Michigan.

GRCC adding film classes

The Holland Sentinel | February 05, 2009

Grand Rapids, MI — Grand Rapids Community College is adding a series of classes offering training for those wanting to become involved in the film industry.
Skilled technical crews are in high demand, a statement from the college says.
GRCC is responding to this need by partnering with various film industry professionals.

In partnership with the West Michigan Film Office and Fletcher Camera- Detroit, GRCC will offer a two-hour workshop for film camera loaders March 31. Fletcher Camera will train participants in the use of high-end film cameras used in the production of feature films.

In addition, GRCC, with Tic Tock Studios in Holland is offering basic film set training, introduction to technical labor: Electrician and introduction to technical labor: The film grip in March and April.

To register for courses at Grand Rapids Community College go online to and click on "Film Production"

Thursday, February 5, 2009

We've got stars in our eyes

By Laura Berman | Detroit News | February 5, 2009

Clint Eastwood split but Hilary Swank has been shooting in Ann Arbor. Since Michigan unrolled its red carpet to the film industry in April, every actor from Sigourney Weaver to Oscar the Dog has been here, enticed by an array of tax goodies you just can't get in California or anywhere else.

Movie producers used to go to Bulgaria for what Michigan is now selling: up to 42 percent tax refunds for costs incurred while making movies in Michigan. And, hey, the big discounts are creating more than buzz.

Two new movie studios are being built for about $140 million -- studios with jobs for thousands.

But will the great deals really pay off in the end?

Residents clamor to get Michigan movie jobs rolling


It's a cast of thousands.

Word that Hollywood studios are planning to open shop in metro Detroit has drawn surging interest from layoff-weary Michiganders.

Janet Lockwood, director of the Michigan Film Office, was losing her voice Wednesday from taking so many inquiries.

Hundreds of former autoworkers and others in need of work were calling the Free Press this week after the paper ran stories about the studio projects.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Clooney and Swank set to star in movies to be filmed in Detroit area (not the same film)


George Clooney and Hilary Swank, two of Hollywood’s biggest box office draws, are expected to film movies in the newly starstruck Detroit area in the next two months.

Clooney is set to star in the Paramount film “Up in the Air,” part of which is set to be filmed at the Berry and McNamara Terminals at Detroit Metro Airport likely for a week in late February.

Sterling Heights Ready to Open Film Office

Reported by Dave LewAllen | WXYZ | February 4, 2009

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) - The latest metro Detroit community to jump on the movie bandwagon by establishing a film office is -- the envelope, please -- Sterling Heights.

Filmmakers will be able to look up information about shooting in the city, such as policies and procedures, quickly and easily online. Any applications they need to fill out and any unique locales, such as the Clinton River and Upton House, will also be outlined on the site.

Officials started work on the project about six months ago and borrowed ideas from other cities in the region and state.

A Michigan Film Industry Networking Event February 19 will kick off the establishment of

The announcement follows Pontiac's news that it landed a $54-million film studio and Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan last week saying she would like the film industry to bring jobs and money to her city, which borders Sterling Heights.

New Film Studios Spark More Interest In Movies

WWJ | February 4, 2009

Michigan's Film Office was receiving a number of phone calls and emails Wednesday from people seeking more information about jobs related to the movie industry.

The interest was sparked by announcements Tuesday that three companies plan to open up or expand movie production studios in Michigan. The projects are expected to create six-thousand jobs.

Motown Motion Pictures will set up a film studio and production company at a vacant General Motors facility in Pontiac.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Film companies can put abandoned buildings to work


There was a wonderful, golden nugget of information in the major revelation today that a new Hollywood film studio and talent agency is opening in Pontiac.

Oh, don't get me wrong: The big news, reported in the Free Press and to be announced later tonight by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, is that Motown Motion Picture Studios is opening the $54-million facility in the first place.

And it's great news that the 600,000-square foot company will employ 5,000 people.

But here's the other exciting thing: The new facility, which will be run by Raleigh Studios, will move into the old General Motors Centerpoint truck plant and office complex.


Wonderstruck Studios to open in former MGM Grand casino

By Bill Shea | Crain's Detroit | February 3, 2009

The vacant Detroit building formerly used as MGM Grand’s temporary casino will be transformed this year into an $86 million Hollywood-style digital animation and visual effects studio directly employing more than 400 people.

The Detroit Center Studios is a partnership between Wonderstruck Studios L.L.C. owned by film and video game deal-maker Michelle Richards, a Detroit native, and Los Angeles-based real estate developers SHM Partners.

The state today awarded the project a 12-year, $16.9 million Michigan Economic Growth Authority tax credit and an $11.7 million infrastructure credit under the state’s new film incentive laws.

Patterson: Oakland County will 'ride out' economic storm

Catherine Jun / The Detroit News ? February 3, 2009

TROY -- Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said the county will weather the economic storm afflicting Michigan through long term financial planning and projects slated to bring new jobs, despite the challenges presented by widespread layoffs and a besieged auto industry.In his State of the County address tonight, Patterson highlighted several bright spots on the horizon: a multi-million dollar film studio slated for Pontiac, a growing health care sector, affordable expansion of Cobo Hall and the launching of a new e-mail/text messaging service for county residents to get notice of events, emergencies and programs.

Patterson, in an address delivered at the MSU Management Education Center in Troy, attempted to strike a balanced tone, highlighting pockets of hope while painting a picture of a county that -- despite being the richest in the state -- has not been immune to the subprime mortgage mess and statewide belt-tightening. As many as one in 47 homes in the county is in foreclosure.

Movie studio in Pontiac a boon for Genesee County, officials say

By Carol Azizian | The Flint Journal | February 03, 2009

GENESEE COUNTY, Michigan -- Flint officials say the opening of a $54-million Hollywood film production and facility in Pontiac will translate into a boon for the area.

"It's the next best place to Genesee County," said Jerry Preston, president of the Flint Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We have a lot of craftsmen who work in the (film industry) in this area. They'll be able to keep more of those jobs in southeast Michigan."

A new company called Motown Motion Picture Studios will invest $70 million in a 600,000 square-foot development with nine sound stages. It will be at the site of a former General Motors Corp. truck plant and office complex, Gov. Jennifer Granholm was expected to announce today in her State of the State address.

Studio plans breed movie mania in Allen Park


Allen Park officials either have previewed an exciting new era for their city or pumped up residents for a blockbuster letdown.

They issued a statement Jan. 6 that said the city is "in heavy discussions with a Hollywood studio executive with ties to Michigan who intends to build a $100-million film production studio in Allen Park."

One marquee detail that was mentioned: 3,500 full-time jobs.

The statement was highly unusual. Negotiations for such big projects almost always remain secret until there is a deal to announce. However, officials said they had to move because word was beginning to leak. One line in the statement cautioned: "It may not happen."

2 groups shooting to have 1st movie studio in Detroit

By Daniel Duggan and Bill Shea | Crain's Detroit | February 3, 2009

As momentum for Michigan's film industry grows, two groups are vying to have the state's first studio complex.

In Oakland County, Ferndale-based S3 Entertainment Group has narrowed its search for a studio to a short-list of two sites. In Detroit, 23rd Street Studios expects to start construction on its project by spring.

Both projects have initial budgets of $40 million and both expect to be a go-to place for film-oriented businesses to be located.

Pontiac lands movie studio, 5,000 new jobs expected


Michigan’s bid to become a Midwest center of movie production is to get a huge boost Tuesday with the announcement of a Hollywood film production studio and talent agency opening shop in Pontiac.

Motown Motion Picture Studios, a new company, will open a $54-million, 600,000-square-foot studio and production facility at General Motors Corp.’s former Centerpoint truck plant and office complex in Pontiac, said Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s spokeswoman Liz Boyd.

The project is expected to generate more than 3,500 direct and 1,500 indirect jobs.

The governor plans to announce the deal Tuesday night in her State of the State address.

Granholm to announce $54M film studio

Mark Hicks / The Detroit News / February 3, 2009

PONTIAC -- Gov. Jennifer Granholm is expected to announce today plans for a $54 million film studio project that could bring about 5,000 new jobs to the state, her spokeswoman confirmed Monday.

"This is the direct result of the aggressive film incentive that the governor called for in her State of the State in 2008," Liz Boyd said late Monday. "The film incentives were designed to not just bring new film projects to Michigan ... but also to grow an industry that will provide long-term job growth for the state."

The project is pending approval of incentives during a Michigan Economic Growth Authority board meeting scheduled for this morning, Boyd said.

Film production studios coming to Detroit, Pontiac

Associated Press | February 3, 2009

DETROIT - Michigan's film incentive program has lured two production studios to the state, including one in Detroit that will focus on computer-generated and animation work.

Michigan Economic Development Corp. spokesman Mike Shore says the Detroit Center Studios could create 700 permanent jobs and attract more film projects to the state.

It will be housed in the former MGM Grand temporary casino just west of downtown.

A state tax credit of $16.9 million over 12 years has been approved for the venture.,0,66891.story

New, expanded Metro Detroit movie studios to add thousands of jobs

Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News / February 3, 2009

A former Pontiac auto plant and the defunct MGM Grand Casino will be converted into film production studios that will create 4,000 new direct jobs in Metro Detroit, boosting one of the state's few fast-growing industries.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm will formally announce plans for the news studios during her State of the State address tonight.

An $86 million digital animation and visual effects studio to be called the Detroit Center Studios will set up shop in the former MGM Grand Casino downtown, and is set to open by the end of the year. In Pontiac, a $54 million film production studio called Motown Motion Picture Studios will be built at General Motors Corp.'s former Centerpoint plant, according to Granholm's spokeswoman Liz Boyd. Granholm also will announce a $900,000 expansion of video and computer gaming company called Stardock Systems Inc. in Plymouth.

Sterling Heights close to opening film office


Sterling Heights is the latest metro Detroit community to jump on the movie bandwagon by establishing a film office.

Filmmakers will be able quickly find out information about shooting in the city, such as policies and procedures, any applications they need to fill out and unique locales, such as the Clinton River and Upton House.

Officials have been working on the project about six months and borrowed ideas from other cities in the region and state, said Steve Guitar, community relations director, whose department established the office.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hollywood in Michigan

By ANGELA G. KING | The Oakland Press | February 2, 2009

He has grossed some $2.5 billion bringing one of his favorite boyhood comic book heroes to life on big screens the world over.

Now Sam Raimi, director of the blockbuster “Spider-Man” movies, is on his way to Michigan to once again shoot motion pictures in his home state.

Born and raised in Oakland County, he plans to begin production in the summer locally on a small-budget otherworldly thriller dubbed, for the time being, “Room 205.” And he’s just the latest big Hollywood name attracted to Michigan since the state rolled out the nation’s most generous financial incentives last year to get more movies, TV shows and commercials made here. Others include:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Scene and the Unseen: Act II

Mackinac Center for Public Policy | February 1, 2009

Thanks to the state of Michigan’s film incentive program — the most aggressive in the nation — the silver screen to many is a silver bullet for the state’s foundering economy.

Under the program, filmmakers still pay Michigan business taxes, but to entice filmmakers to shoot movies here and employ Michigan workers, state government provides movie producers...

State needs to explore impact of movie tax credits

Livingston Daily | February 1, 2009

A couple of scenes linger from the filming of the movie "High School" in Howell late last year.

One was the vision of a film crew shoveling all of the snow from a home's front yard. Then there were actors sucking ice cubes so their breath wouldn't show in the cold when they talked.

These steps were necessary because, while filming took place outside in Michigan in November and December, the story for the movie actually takes place in Southern California, where snow doesn't cover front lawns and where it's usually not cold enough to see your breath.

Why, then, didn't the production company film somewhere warm? The answer is easy. Because of a so-called refundable tax credit offered by the state of Michigan, the production could recoup up to 40 percent of its expenses.