Monday, March 30, 2009

Roll credits on film tax rebate?

Monday, March 30, 2009 - MiBiz

WEST MICHIGAN - Lured to Michigan last year by promises of lucrative tax incentives, film production companies now worry they might not see the tax rebate they were promised.

The Department of Treasury says "not to worry," but that hasn’t stopped the companies from questioning whether they’ll get their refund checks or not, according to Karl Butterer, who heads the entertainment law division at Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge.

The way legislation works, a film production company has to first be qualified by the state. Once qualified, they must record the money spent on direct production expenditures in a given year and obtain a post-production certificate from Treasury, then file a tax return and wait for the refund. Treasury has three to four weeks to send the rebate.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Helpers sought for Kalamazoo animation festival

With more than 70 events planned so far for the fifth Kalamazoo Animation Festival International, Kalamazoo Valley Community College is looking for a cadre of faculty, staff, students and residents to serve as volunteers and help make the four-day event in downtown Kalamazoo a success.

Slated for May 14-17, the festival has attracted 555 submissions of animation from 42 countries in the competition for $15,000 in prize money. The finalists will be viewable in a series of screenings during the festival, while professional animators from the major production studios and networks will be leading workshops and seminars.

*This is a great opportunity for any person interested in animation, film or any aspect of creative work,* says Anna Barnhart, the festival*s volunteer coordinator. *Volunteers will witness a major industry event taking shape as well as meet many big players in the expanding field of animation.*

Those who volunteer will act as greeters, runners, ticket takers, workshop monitors, gallery guides, and special-event helpers, Barnhart said. They will receive a free ticket to attend a seminar, screening or panel discussion for each four hours that they work.

Students must be at least 16 to become a volunteer. The four-hour time slots on that Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are 8 a.m. to noon, noon to 4 p.m., 4 to 8 p.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight.

Orientation sessions in the college's Anna Whitten Hall are scheduled for Tuesday, April 28, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and Monday, May 4, at the same time. The deadline to sign up as volunteer is April 20.

For more information and an application form, visit:, or contact Barnhart or Nikki Unterkircher at, or by phone at (269) 373-7934.

Regional Executive Director of Screen Actors Guild (SAG) to Speak in Grand Rapids on April 6

Monday, April 6, 2009, 7 - 9pm
Doors open at 6:30pm

If you have wondered how to become a SAG member, negotiate with SAG to produce a film, or why you should even wonder about SAG at all, put this night on your calendar to get the answers!

Marcia Fishman, SAG Executive Director of Detroit and Philadelphia Branches (covering Michigan, Pennsylvania, Delaware and south Jersey) wants to meet you and build SAG in West Michigan!

She will be speaking on the following topics:

· Positive reasons for a relationship between film community of West Michigan and Screen Actors Guild

· The implications of west Michigan actors becoming SAG members

· What SAG contracts are available to west Michigan producers, i.e. low budget, new media, short, student (most of which include little to deferred payment options)?

· Concerns of Hollywood and New York productions in an area with little or no SAG membership, and how concerns can be handled.

Followed by general Q & A.

Location: Applied Technology Center, Rooms 118/120, Ferris Grand Rapids Campus, 151 Fountain NE, corner of Fountain and Ransom Streets, Downtown Grand Rapids

FREE to Members of West Michigan Film Video Alliance (WMFVA) or $10 for non-members (students $5 w/ valid ID)

Don't Cap Movie Tax Breaks Unless You Want to Kill the New Industry Before It Takes Hold


If you can name one other Michigan business that grew from $2 million to around $125 million last year -- in the worst economy since the Depression -- I'll shut up.

If you can name one other Michigan business that, in its baby stages, elicited plans for $140 million in new studio investments, I'll keep quiet.

If you can name one other Michigan business that created this much excitement and this many people scurrying to learn new skills, I'll stand down.

But if you can't, then maybe you should be the one to cool your jets.

I'm talking about Michigan's movie business.

And I'm talking to state Sen. Nancy Cassis.

Friday, March 27, 2009

An odd couple? Detroit Hip Hop and Michigan Film

The Examiner | March 27, 2009

Abnormal. Strange. Weird. Those are terms that come to mind when someone compares oddities. Contrasting the Detroit Hip Hop scene with the Michigan Film industry, and those terms seem extreme. Without deep analysis, the two essentially are like peanut butter and jelly. Music and film are definitely separate entities within their own right, but when was the last time you watched a film without a musical soundtrack? To separate music and film is, as Oran "Juice" Jones put it, “like cornflake without da milk!” Okay, so that is extreme but we know all too well how music video revolutionized the way we look at our favorite stars—good or bad.

Today’s music is fueled by imagery depending on which side is exposed: flossy, struggling, conscious, party, grimy…the list goes on. Now that many are mobilized— whether it is with the equipment or with the knowledge and know-how, artists are engaging in visual art forms that showcase their musical talent. This phenomenon has penetrated the musical landscape beyond the Detroit classics, “The Scene ”, or “The New Dance Show ”. Nowadays you can catch hot shows such as the Kori's Corner, Al Nuke's Nuke at Night, or the highly anticipated newcomer, “The Mr. CliffNote Show ”.

State Senate debates reduction in film industry tax credits

By Chris Killian 3/27/09 3:14 PM
Michigan is the most generous state in the nation when it comes to providing tax incentives to movie production companies looking for places to shoot films.

But the state’s 42 percent tax break, established in 2008, could be reduced under two bills being debated in the state Senate.

According to the Capital News Service, under the measures, the tax break would be reduced to 35 percent. Also, tax credits would be capped at $50 million per year for all films produced in Michigan.

“The money we give out for film tax credit is money that could’ve gone to universities, parks, the Great Lakes, prisoner maintenance or other publicly funded things,” Sen. Tom George, R-Kalamazoo, a co-sponsor of the measures, told the news service.

Where is Michael Moore? Not at the Michigan Film Office meeting

By Sue White | The Saginaw News | March 27, 2009

Michael Moore didn't show up.

I had many reasons to look forward to the Michigan Film Office's meeting with its advisory council, held March 19 at Saginaw's Temple Theatre, and catching up with Moore, a council member, was one of them.

Years ago, before he started making films, we worked together on a few projects. The night I remember best was spent at a Chinese restaurant with Amanda McBroom, who wrote the song "The Rose," and Tom Chapin, the late Harry Chapin's brother.

Moore invited me to the "Roger and Me" premiere, and to both of talk-show host Phil Donahue's visits to Flint -- didn't I tell you it was a long time ago? Through it all, Moore was always just a call or two away.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Women in Film & Television Membership Drive

Michigan Film Production Opportunities
Tuesday, March 31, 2009, 6:00pm - 8:30pm
Tango’s Restaurant -Westin Hotel

Ladies, this is your opportunity to join Detroit WIFTV (Michigan’s Chapter) and learn about the organization, its benefits and join up. It’s not about the numbers it’s about creating and maintaining a presence in this industry.

Michigan is finally back on the map with the great incentives and Hollywood knocking down our door, don’t miss your chance to be a part of this growing industry. Learn about education, resources, events and why you should be a member.

This event is free. Appetizers 6-7p *Bring your coupon WIFTV flyer and take 15% off Membership Fees. You MUST RSVP- (Name & Email)

Tango’s Restaurant is located in the Westin Hotel, 1500 Town Center Drive, Southfield, MI.

Want to be in a movie? Now's your chance

By: Joe Borlik | CM Life (Central Michigan University) | March 25, 2009

Mount Pleasant resident Jim McBryde will never forget his role in two Star Wars movies.

McBryde sat in Dex's Diner in "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones" and played Ulfor Bombaasa, a patron in the Galaxies Opera House in "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith."

"It was a really great experience," he said. "I had an opportunity not a lot of people will get."

It was something McBryde did for fun - he even kept his paychecks as souvenirs.

Some in Mich. Senate want to cap film incentives

By KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN | Associated Press Writer | March 25, 2009

LANSING, Mich. - Some state senators want to cap the tax incentives Michigan offers to moviemakers and require that more workers hired by them be from Michigan.

Legislation introduced Wednesday would reduce Michigan's refundable movie tax credit, now 40 percent to 42 percent, down to 35 percent of the amount of a production company's qualified expenditures that are incurred in producing a motion picture or other media entertainment project in Michigan.

The measures would limit the amount of credits to $50 million a year and expand a credit for building permanent facilities, such as sound stages, to 30 percent rather than 25 percent. They also would add a credit that would be given for producing national advertisements in Michigan that cost at least $250,000.,0,7596526.story

Proposed Cap on Film Incentives

The Associated Press | March 25, 2009

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Some state senators want to cap the tax
incentives Michigan offers to moviemakers.

Legislation introduced Wednesday would reduce Michigan’s
refundable movie tax credit from 42 percent to 35 percent, limit
the amount of credits to $50 million a year and increase another

Some Republicans proposed similar measures last year but didn’t
get far. A Democratic senator is concerned the state can’t afford
the incentives while facing budget problems.

The Senate’s GOP majority leader says he isn’t interested in
limiting tax credits if they’re stimulating the economy.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm and others also say the tax breaks are
working very well.

Filming expenditures went from $2 million to more than $100
million a year after the law was signed.

Filmmaker may be coming back

WOOD TV8 | March 25, 2009

Its been almost a year since Governor Granholm signed the state’s film incentives into law. A panel discussion today in Grand Rapids focused on the benefits of those tax incentives for Michigan’s film industry.

Four industry officials discussed the history and the future of the state’s tax breaks that brought 35 projects, 28-hundred jobs and 25-million dollars to the state last year.

Nearly a year into the incentives, Ken Droz from the Michigan Film Office says ”ideally, we’d like to think the program can run its course and be allowed to have time to breathe and to mature and for the entire industry to gets its legs before any major changes are being done to it.”

The panelists agreed that while the state is staying ahead of other states like New Mexico and Louisiana, more work has to be done to build infrastructure and train workers.

Dori DePree, Head of Education Outreach for TicTock Studios says that Michigan’s blue collar work force can be trained to fill the jobs “so its not that we’re training people to do new things, its just saying this is what you’ve already done, this is what you know how to do, and hopefully you love to do, you can do this on a film as well.”

Ken Droz from the Michigan Film Office says a “major filmmaker who came last year is thinking about coming again next year”.

Clint Eastwood?? Drew Barrymore?? No further comments or details were offered.

That news today out of a panel discussion on tax incentives and the Michigan Film Industry.

Will The Stars Still Come Out In Michigan?

WLNS TV | March 25, 2009

State Senator Nancy Cassis, R - Novi: "It's all about jobs. And we want to see permanent jobs here."

Some state senators want to cut the tax incentives for movie makers coming to Michigan.

The incentives have been in place for nearly a year, and they're credited with bringing dozens of film makers and millions of dollars into the state.

But some lawmakers say those tax credits are too costly and don't create permanent jobs.

Ann Emmerich tells us what they're proposing.

Some state senators want to limit tax incentives for moviemakers

By KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN • Associated Press • March 25, 2009

Some state senators want to cap the tax incentives Michigan offers to moviemakers and require that more workers hired by them be from Michigan.

Legislation introduced today would reduce Michigan’s refundable movie tax credit, now 40% to 42%, down to 35% of the amount of a production company’s qualified expenditures that are incurred in producing a motion picture or other media entertainment project in Michigan.

The measures would limit the amount of credits to $50 million a year and expand a credit for building permanent facilities, such as sound stages, to 30% rather than 25%. They also would add a credit that would be given for producing national advertisements in Michigan that cost at least $250,000.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Editorial: See ya in the movies

By Paula J. Holmes-Greeley | March 22, 2009

West Michigan is well cast as a site for Michigan's budding film industry.

The lakes, farmland and beaches offer the beauty of a leading lady while the urban centers are perfect action figures.

The USS Silversides, already a movie star; LST-393, Lake Express ferry, Michigan's Adventure, Muskegon County Airport and Frauenthal Theater all have potential for cameo appearances along with our numerous historic lighthouses and grand lumber baron homes.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Different organizations disagree

By Terry Camp

No doubt about it, big-time movie stars are coming to Michigan.

Within recent months, Clint Eastwood, Drew Barrymore and George Clooney have come to the state.

But are the tax credits given to movie makers to entice them to our state really helping the economy, or just a neat special effect?

The Michigan Film Office Advisory Council held its bi-monthly meeting in Saginaw, and while they were here, they had to fend off some criticism from a conservative research institute.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Film festival to showcase region's talent

By JESSE DUNSMORE | Times Herald |

Richard DeShon Jr., co-owner of local talent agency The Thespis Group, believes there are plenty of filmmakers in Michigan, and he wants them to come to Port Huron.

The Thespis Group is organizing the first Blue Water Film Festival, a showcase of movies put together by Michigan and Sarnia residents -- and no one else.

"We want to promote Michigan (and) give the individuals a chance who otherwise wouldn't think they'd have a chance of winning," DeShon said. "Otherwise, you'd have people from New York or California submitting films and this is what they do for a living, as opposed to individuals coming out of college, coming out of high school, even."

MSU study finds film industry big hit in Michigan

EAST LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan State University study has found that the state of Michigan’s law providing tax credits for film production companies that shoot their movies in Michigan is a big-time hit.

The study, conducted by MSU’s Center for Economic Analysis, found that in 2008, 32 film productions were completed, generating more than $65 million in spending and creating more than 2,700 jobs. And this was just in the eight months since the law was enacted in April of 2008.

“It’s amazing how much activity we had in such a short period of time,” said Steven Miller, CEA director and director of the study. “Many of these projects had already established they were going somewhere else, but quickly changed gears and moved to Michigan when they learned of the tax incentives.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Detroit news briefs: Panel to feature filmmaker, actors

Compiled by Joe Rossiter and other Free Press staff • March 18, 2009

Panel to feature filmmaker, actors

Filmmaker-actor Lonette McKee and Philip Johnson, star of the Lifetime film "America," parts of which were shot in Detroit, are to participate in a panel discussion Thursday at the Detroit Film Office's first educational symposium on Michigan's growing film industry.

The event is to be from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Northwest Activities Center, 18100 Meyers Road.

The symposium is cosponsored by the film office and the city's Small Business Detroit Microloan Program. The symposium is designed to educate residents and small-business owners in the city on how to prepare for opportunities in the Michigan film industry.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

“Fahrenheit 9/11” & "Bowling for Columbine” Co-Producer Jeff Gibbs to Speak March 19 in Grand Rapids

West Michigan Film Video Alliance (WMFVA) presents producer Jeff Gibbs, co-producer and composer for “Fahrenheit 9/11” for a 2-hour seminar on Thursday, March 19 at the Applied Technology Center Auditorium, Ferris Campus (151 Fountain NE, corner of Fountain and Ransom Streets, Downtown Grand Rapids).

Jeff will discuss elements that every filmmaker should consider, by showing clips from some of the films he has worked on, including: “Fahrenheit 9/11” “Bowling for Columbine” “Sharkwater” “Shut Up and Sing” (Dixie Chicks) “Trouble the Water” (Current Oscar nominee by “Fahrenheit” producers)

Doors open at 6:30pm. Seminar time is 7-9pm. Open to the public. FREE for WMFVA members ($10 for non-members, $5 for students with valid ID). Details

Detroit Filmmakers Symposium

Hollywood is calling to Michigan

By Sue White | The Saginaw News | March 15, 2009

"I really have nothing to say about that film," Janet Lockwood said of "Terror at Baxter U," laughing at the memory of the roundly panned 2003 horror film.

"I was only in it because a friend wrote it, and the whole experience convinced me to go back to what I loved, acting on stage."

Fortunately for Michigan, though, it didn't sour Lockwood on what she's done best for the past 17 years, pitching the state to potential filmmakers. And since April 2008, when Michigan began offering tax incentives up to 42 percent to those shooting their films here, she hasn't had much time to do anything else.

Local investment firm considers Hollywood films

By Jay M. Grossman • ECCENTRIC STAFF WRITER • March 15, 2009

Joel Eisenstein wants to make a hit movie in Michigan.

The Hollywood deal maker is with the All Cities Media Group, a Los Angeles film networking organization that helped finance The Hulk and other summer blockbusters. He's meeting next month with O'Keefe Investment Banking in Bloomfield Hills to consider forming a local partnership.

Eisenstein said it will be the first time ACMG set foot outside of Southern California. If the deal works, it could end up paving the way for hundreds of millions of potential investment dollars for the Michigan film industry.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bringing Hollywood To Mid-Michigan?

WNEM | March 13, 2009

SAGINAW, Mich. -- Mid-Michigan communities are hoping they can survive the slump by attracting Hollywood to their towns.

But is it a pipe dream trying to compete with Detroit and larger communities in the state? One key question on the minds of citizens is the possibility that the state will benefit from an influx of filmmaking.

Talk about a Michigan slice of life -- a film about ice fishing, "Frozen Stupid," starring Ernest Borgnine was filmed in Houghton Lake. That was back in 2006, just before Michigan started touting itself as a moviemaker destination point.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Filmmaking studios expected to thrive in West Michigan

By Eric Gaertner | The Muskegon Chronicle | March 12, 2009

The growing film industry in West Michigan is taking advice from "The Field of Dreams" movie.

"If you build it, he will come." In this case, the "it" are movie studios and the "he" are million-dollar movies.

Area supporters of movie-making are touting plans for major film studio facilities in West Michigan as being among the key components to attracting more film productions. Two of those facilities, WaterMark Studios in Muskegon and 10 West Studios in Manistee, along with similar infrastructure projects in Grand Rapids and Holland, could become the backbone for the industry in West Michigan.

West Michigan colleges training students for careers in filmmaking

By Eric Gaertner | The Muskegon Chronicle | March 12, 2009

The adult students in the Film Production Training Program are getting the most real-life, hands-on experience possible.

They will be getting credit on an actual movie for their work.

The 30 trainees, some who are unemployed and looking for a new career, are constructing a movie set depicting a restaurant basement that will be used for an upcoming children's comedy adventure film. The movie is scheduled to be shot in Manistee this year.

Michigan Based Director Premiers Film

By Woody Miller | March 12, 2009

Where would a person with a degree in mechanical engineering and assorted theatrical experience go to become a successful film maker? Sam Kadi never left Michigan. After garnering fifteen years of experience as a theatrical actor, writer, and director he graduated as a film director from Motion Picture Institute of Michigan in 2007. His first musical short film ” Your Choice” was made in 2006 and screened at a dinner to raise funds for education. The film helped to raise 3.8 million dollars that night. “Your Choice” was also aired on Public Television in Farmington and Novi. Kadi’s first narrative film “Schizophrenia” was completed in September 2007 and was screened on October 2nd by Emagine Entertainment in Novi during the Motion Picture Institute of Michigan (MPI) Film Festival. It was nominated for Best Director.

Director Sam Kadi is following up his film, “Schizophrenia” with “Raised Alone”, a new film that represents Michigan’s film industry in a dramatic way. Kadi’s short film is the first to be approved for the state film tax incentives by a Michigan-based director.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Michigan Film Incentives update: Michigan Film Office publishes annual report

Posted by John Serba | The Grand Rapids Press March 11, 2009

The Michigan Film Office in Lansing recently published its annual report for 2008, listing the 35 projects shot in the state last year, and it includes some compelling numbers:

$125,000,000: Total Michigan expenditures on the 35 productions

2,800: Estimated jobs created

$47,992,000: Film industry refundable tax credits

Film incentives expected to grow jobs in region, state

By Eric Gaertner | The Muskegon Chronicle | March 11, 2009

Michigan's film incentive package, widely considered the most aggressive in the country, is producing Oscar-worthy results.

Nearly a year old, the film production tax credit is generating excitement among the state's movie fans, economic activity in places where the films are shot and job opportunities at a time when unemployment is a dire concern. Despite the state's budget concerns and some calls for a cap from critics, the film tax incentive seems to be one of the bright spots for the state's immediate future, based on a recent study of its impact by Michigan State University.

"It's been really cool," said Ken Droz, manager of creative and communications at Michigan Film Office. "There's a lot of hope and enthusiasm."

West Michigan stepping into the movie-making spotlight

By Eric Gaertner | The Muskegon Chronicle | March 11, 2009

When Mitchell Nyberg returned to West Michigan in 2000 after spending 17 years working in the San Francisco film industry, he saw the area in a whole new light.

Nyberg, 49, of Hart Township, now sees the variety of locations and the area's unique qualities as providing a gold mine for movie settings.

Filmmakers are beginning to see those traits here, as well.

The area's ability to provide various backdrops for movies, coupled with the state's aggressive film incentives, is sparking a high level of interest in making movies in West Michigan.

Mott Community College in Flint offers classes to put unemployed to work in film business

By Sally York | The Flint Journal | March 09, 2009

FLINT, Michigan -- Looking for a job? How about behind the scenes in Michigan's suddenly booming film industry. Mott Community College is offering four new classes that could get you started.

Students who complete one or more of the courses -- ranging from how to rig lights to how to behave on a film set -- qualify for such entry-level crew positions as grip (equipment handler) or production assistant.

From there, the sky is the limit.

Hire Michigan first law?

By CHARLES CRUMM | The Oakland Press | March 10, 2009

A proposed movie studio in Pontiac is projected to create some 3,500 jobs and state House Democrats want those jobs to go to Michigan residents.

Democratic lawmakers on Monday used GM’s shuttered Truck Product Central Center in Pontiac as the backdrop for proposed Hire Michigan First legislation.

The Democratic-controlled state House wants to pass the measure this week that would give companies state economic incentives to hire 100 percent Michigan workers.

They said the Republican-controlled Senate should move quickly to pass it, too.

“Pontiac is one of the communities that have been devastated by job losses,” said state Rep. Tim Melton, D-Auburn Hills, whose district includes Pontiac. “We want to make sure Michigan workers get hired first.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The work force: Film work takes unique skill set

By Doug Stites • CEO, Capital Area Michigan Works • March 9, 2009

Last week, Hollywood was the word on the street in Greater Lansing, as a result of a new training partnership between Capital Area Michigan Works, Lansing Community College and Michigan State University to train people to become production assistants, an entry-level position on a film set.

Film jobs are unlike anything we've ever seen in the work force development system. To be successful in this industry, you need a unique personality and skill set. For those who have what it takes, however, film can be a lucrative and exciting career path.

So what does it take?

'The Genesis Code' looking for local crew members

By John Serba | The Grand Rapids Press | March 09, 2009

"The Genesis Code," the latest film to be shot in West Michigan under the Michigan film incentives, is hosting an open call for crew members.

Jerry Zandstra, vice president of American Saga Productions, e-mailed me this information:

"'The Genesis Code' movie is crewing up for an April 20 principal photography start date with pre-production starting March 30 in Grand Rapids. Please send electronic submissions to You MUST include in the subject line the position you are applying for."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Filmmaker gives Michigan's incentives 4 stars


He isn't paying much attention to the debate smoldering behind the scenes of the state's nearly year-old film incentives, but Sam Kadi can tell you they have helped him immensely.

Kadi's been making movies in Michigan the past few years -- his newest short film "Raised Alone" is to make its debut at the Maple Theatre in Birmingham on March 24.

The effort, the latest from his company, Samer K Productions Inc., is one of the first to take advantage of Michigan's film incentives intended to provide a more attractive business climate for moviemakers with a goal of more jobs for a state in desperate need of nonautomotive business.

Job seekers aim to get ready for 'Action!'

By Bill Shea | Crain's Detroit | March 8, 2009

The glitz, glamour and greenbacks of the burgeoning Michigan movie industry are an attractive oasis in a state economy otherwise hemorrhaging jobs.

Whether that oasis is an actual career sanctuary or an exasperating mirage is dependent on the willingness, patience and dedication of prospective film industry job seekers, but also on factors beyond their control.

That's the view of longtime movie industry veterans as they witness film “boot camps” popping up seemingly every week and more and more Hollywood productions filming in Michigan to take advantage of the new tax incentives that rebate as much as 42 cents of every production dollar spent here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

And action: Film crews for movie turn camera on Dexter, Chelsea

By Terry Jacoby and Sean Dalton | March 5, 2009

Tuesday was a hectic day at Dexter High School as staff and students planned their busy day around the filming of the upcoming, unnamed Hillary Swank film based on the Betty Anne Waters story.

Parents were told via e-mail on Friday to make different arrangements if they needed to get into the high school after 9 a.m. - the scheduled start time for the filming

The main office and entrance to the school were supposed be closed for filming during the day, but the filming was running behind schedule and the start of filming was pushed back to 3 p.m. as of mid day Tuesday.

School to get workers ready for Hollywood

By Maureen McDonald / Special to The Detroit News ? March 5, 2008

HUNTINGTON WOODS -- Almost 150 students have signed up for premier classes offered by the Center for Film Studies at locations in Ferndale, Farmington Hills, Warren and Troy starting next week. The klieg lights are shining on the possibility of paychecks in the Michigan film industry.

"A lot of talented people are looking for new kinds of work and we have the kind of programs that will make them employable," said Mort Meisner, the Huntington Woods-based executive director and president of the film school, who has worked in television recruiting for 32 years. He joins Jack Grushko, COO, and Kim Haveraneck, director of education, a couple that also run a culinary business in Bloomfield Township. Together they expect to train more than 500 students in the first year.

Residents clamor to get Michigan movie jobs rolling


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, March 4, 2009

Officials not sold on film tax incentive

By Christopher Behnan • DAILY PRESS & ARGUS • March 4, 2009

Some Michigan officials contend the state's film tax incentive caused far more than $50 million to leave the state and created far fewer than 2,800 jobs in 2008, despite findings of the Michigan Film Office.

On Monday, the Film Office submitted a three-page report that states the program — which rebates up to 42 percent of a production's expenditures in Michigan — will issue nearly $50 million in film incentive tax rebates for 35 films completed during 2008.

Those 35 film productions spent $125 million in Michigan and created 2,800 jobs, the report states.

Film Studios In Michigan

WILX | March 4, 2009

The Michigan Film Office says filmmakers qualified for $48 million in payments from the state during the first 10 months of an incentive program enacted last year.
A report obtained by the Detroit Free Press says about $125 million was spent on the projects. However, an economic analysis commissioned by the film office and submitted to the Legislature this week said project spending totaled only $65.4 million.

The report says the 35 projects, including 22 feature films, provided about 2,800 jobs.

The report doesn't mention how the film incentives are affecting the state budget. State economists have cautioned that new economic activity generated by the incentives likely won't offset the high cost of the program.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Michigan provides $48 million in film incentives

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Film Office says filmmakers qualified for $48 million in payments from the state during the first 10 months of an incentive program enacted last year.

The report obtained by the Detroit Free Press says about $125 million was spent on the projects, although an economic analysis commissioned by the film office and submitted to the Legislature this week said project spending totaled only $65.4 million.

The report says the 35 projects, including 22 feature films, provided jobs for about 2,800 people.

The report doesn't mention how the film incentives are affecting the state budget. State economists have cautioned that new economic activity generated by the incentives likely won't offset the high cost of the program.

State to give out nearly $50M in film tax rebates

By Christopher Behnan • DAILY PRESS & ARGUS • March 3, 2009

The state will issue nearly $50 million in film incentive tax rebates for 35 films completed during 2008 — a list that includes “High School,” primarily filmed in Livingston County — according to a three-page Michigan Film Office report issued Monday.

Those 35 film productions spent $125 million in Michigan and created 2,800 jobs, the report states.

The report only provides these totals, rather than a break down per film, because film companies by law can request confidentiality regarding their budgets, the report states.

State puts out casting call for people to learn film jobs

By Barbara Wieland | March 3, 2009 | Lansing State Journal

Sixty people in mid-Michigan will get a start on a career in film production thanks to a grant from the state of Michigan.

The No Worker Left Behind program, a part of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth, will release $195,000 to pay for the training of the workers.

Those selected into the program will receive training through a partnership between Lansing Community College, Michigan State University and Capital Area Michigan Works.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lansing's Rally of Writers conference celebrates 22 years

By Mark Wolfgang • Reader Submitted • March 2, 2009

The 22nd year of A Rally of Writers, a freelance writing conference, will take place on Saturday, April 4, 2009, at the Lansing Community College West Campus Conference Center. This day-long event begins at 8:30 a.m. and features 10 Michigan writers, poets, artists and screenwriters hosting 16 educational sessions on all aspects of writing and publishing, from basic submission and editing tips to in depth advice on fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoir, photography, children's books, and comic books.

The keynote speaker for 2009 is Gerry LaFemina, poet, fiction writer and essayist. LaFemina's 9 a.m. opening session, “Strange Duality: the Social and Anti-Social Behaviors of Writers and Pleaders,” is free and open to the public courtesy of the Michigan Humanities Council and Gibson's Books and Beans.

The public is also invited to attend a free pre-Rally event at Schuler Books and Music in the Eastwood Towne Center, Friday evening, April 3, at 7 p.m., to learn about “Movies Made in Michigan.” Guest speakers, including Ken Droz of the Michigan Film Office, will discuss the growing Michigan movie industry. One special guest will be Ahney Her, the local high school student who starred opposite Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino.”

'Steam Experiment' movie shot in Grand Rapids debuts at Florida film festival

By John Serba | The Grand Rapids Press | March 02, 2009

TAMPA, Fla. -- Jimmy Pettis tilts his head back, and carousel horses go round and round, round and round.

Normally, families ride those horses at the Van Andel Museum Center. But in "The Steam Experiment," they symbolize the psychosis of a disturbed ex-professor played by Val Kilmer -- and are one of many Grand Rapids landmarks in the film shot last fall.

"Steam" debuted Sunday night at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in downtown Tampa, Fla., to a sold-out crowd.