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Governor Signs Bill Amending Film Incentives

Michigan's Film Incentives were recently amended, extending them through 2021. The legislature approved $50-million-a year in state incentives for 2015.  Last year, thanks to Michigan's film incentive program, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" spent nearly six months filming in the state. According to MLive reports, most of its work was completed at Michigan Motion Picture Studios in Pontiac. The Michigan Film Office awarded the film, directed by Zack Snyder, an incentive of $35 million for in-state work, a project that the MFO stated created hundreds of jobs for crew members and about 6,000 jobs for extras.

 The film incentives are considered good news for West Michigan as well.

"The passing of this bill is another key step in securing top, sought after jobs here in Michigan for our young people," says film producer, SAG-AFTRA actor, and President of the Media Arts Coalition of West Michigan, Joseph Scott Anthony. "In the minds of producers considering filming in Michigan, these changes establish the State of Michigan as being fully open for business." 

One element of this new program that is exciting for West Michigan filmmakers is that it earmarks 10% of the total film incentives budget for independent productions $15M and under.

"These are the size of productions that typically film in West Michigan," explains Anthony. "West Michigan has talented crews, a strong work ethic, numerous beautiful locations, and a world class art centric culture to draw from." In the past, Bruce Willis, Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Segel, and recently Mira Sorvino have all filmed in West Michigan. 

The West Michigan Film Video Alliance also views these changes as positives. "These changes to the film incentives program will help create new opportunities for our local filmmakers," says Chair Deb Havens. "As an organization, we're committed to deepening the crew base here in West Michigan. Our focus is on creating new opportunities for our members to have increased access to seed grants, funds for traveling to film festivals and film markets, and helping to expand their skills and networks."  

Filmmaking fits into West Michigan's strong entrepreneurial culture. "The changes in these film incentives will help attract young people and create a lasting industry full of talented creatives who are starting media centered businesses," says Joseph Scott Anthony.

According to MLive, "Batman v Superman" was considered the most expensive movie to ever be shot in Michigan (the project budget is $131 million, according to the Michigan Film Office) and came after "Transformers 4: Age of Extinction" agreed to shoot at the Pontiac studio last year. "Beverly Hills Cop" relaunch, starring Eddie Murphy,  is expected to shoot in Metro Detroit this spring. "Beverly Hills Cop" was approved over the summer by the film office for an estimated rebate of $13.5 million based on up to $56,644,792 of projected in-state expenditures. The film office claims the film is expected to employ approximately 352 Michigan workers during the films shoot, with a full-time equivalent of 318 jobs.  West Michigan groups will be working together aggressively in 2015 to promote film projects in the region.

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