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Our Mission: To promote a thriving film and video production community in West Michigan. Starmap

The Alliance: an e-publication of the West Michigan Film & Video Alliance - semi-monthly edition

February 28, 2011

The WMFVA strives to provide comprehensive information on the Michigan film industry. The Michigan Film Production Tax Credits were eliminated in the budget proposal submitted to Michigan legislators by Governor Rick Snyder on February 17, 2011. This newsletter is published as a special edition to report on the battle to keep the Michigan Film Tax Credit alive and well. We welcome our members and other West Michigan film professionals to contribute to regular status updates. Game on!

  • Sample Letters to Legislators

    Sample letters for members of the community interested in contacting legislators about the Michigan Film Tax Credit are available at the Michigan Production Allliance website and below. Letters have been prepared by WMFVA members who have requested we post for you to personalize. Click for more information.

    [document] [website]

  • Michigan Film Office Releases 2010 Annual Report

    To read the report, click on the link below:

    It is the first document to provide details on each film under new transparency laws. The 36 page report includes numbers of hires, amounts paid for rentals, equipment, housing, below the line expenditures and so on.

    [website]

  • Mitch Albom speaks at Michigan Film Industry Town Hall 2/24/2011

  • Read the latest!

    Campaign to Save Film Incentives Planned
    By Gina Joseph
Daily, Tribune Staff Writer
, Saturday, February 26, 2011

    Its official. Michigan 6 for 1 RALLY, a lobbying campaign by Michigans movie industry, is in the works and scheduled for release March 22 on the steps of Capitol Hill.  Link to the article

    Fight Over Incentives for Films Goes Online
    Opponents of Govs budget plan builds support via social media
    By Melissa Burden, 
The Detroit News

    Film industry supporters are using social media to raise their numbers and their voices in a mounting battle against state legislators and the governor to protect Michigan's film tax incentives.  Link to the article

    There's No Business Like Show Business
    By Bill Richardson,  governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011. New York Times Op-Ed, February 27, 2011

    In recent years more than 40 states have offered incentives for movie and television production, recapturing runaway film projects that had left America for places like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Eastern Europe. This has not only brought significant economic benefits back to our shores, but also has secured Americas most important cultural export. After all, it is through film and television that many people from other countries come to know us our values, our expressions and our freedom.  Link to the article

    Motor City Fade Ou
    Governor's tax break cap could "Cut!" the whole film industry
    By Bill Bradley

    Michigan can't afford to lose any more business. But newly elected Gov. Rick Snyder's proposed  cuts to the film incentive could deliver a blow to one of its only economic bright spots: its burgeoning film industry.
    Link to the article

    Why Cuts Don't Bring Prosperity
    By David Leonhardt, New York Times
    Link to the article

    West Michigan Leaders Reflect on Governor's Proposal
    Link to the article

  • The "6 for 1" Rally for Lansing Delayed for Now

    A rally organized to support  the film industry at the Capitol Building in Lansing on March 22, 2011 has been put on hold.

    For more information or to volunteer call 248 - 877 - 6110, email francesca@convenellt.com. 

    To sign a petition of support for film incentives check out the website below.

    You've heard it before! Keep sending your thoughts via hard copy and phone calls. Why?

    The Detroit News quoted Cliff Lampe, an assistant professor of telecommunication information studies and the media at Michigan State University about how to impact the legislature most effectively: " Social media is usually valuable for the process of political mobilization, but not as the outcome," he said. In other words, social media can effectively share information about events or protests or share legislators' contact information, Lampe said. But to really make a difference with your local legislator, here's his advice:

    "Legislators are moved by more traditional forms of communications, kinds of protests, mass letter-writing campaigns or phone calls," he said, adding groups repeatedly contacting legislators can work to influence political processes.

    [website]

  • West Michigan Town Hall Follow up 6:30 PM, Thursday, March 3

    Every speaker at the joint Film Town Hall Meetings made one critical point: The Michigan Film Incentives will only be saved in the legislature.

    The Grand Rapids crowd spent the last portion of the Town Hall meeting in lively discussion about best actions to take. The first decision was a majority agreement to a follow up meeting in Grand Rapids for Thursday, March 3. The Grand Rapids location will be at the Hager Auditorium, Room 119, Cook-DeVos Center for Health and Sciences,  301 Michigan St. NE -- same place as last time!

    The actions that were considered most important by all speakers were: 

    1. Letter writing (emails and hard copy) to legislators - bring paper, stamps, and envelopes! we will provide examples of content but YOU have to write it. Form letters are not as effective as your personal story. Or bring your laptop, create the letter in email and send PLUS PRINT. Addresses will be provided four senator and representative. 
    2. Video testimonials of people who support the film incentives. Website distribution. 
    3. Petition of support (or signing people up online to petitions already collecting signatures)
    4. Legislative Day to invite west Michigan legislators to a forum where filmmakers and their representatives can discuss solutions to the budget crunch that may involve some changes to the incentives that do not cripple or kill them.  

    The meeting will start at 6:30pmPM and end at 9PM. End results promised: letters sent, web testimonials uploaded, petitions signed, Legislative Day committees assigned.

    Video may be streamed from a meeting on the east side held at the Troy Marriott Hotel, 200 W Big Beaver Road, 7PM - 10 PM on the same date. 

  • Recommendations from First Film Town Hall Meeting

    Around 200 members of the West Michigan film and digital production community gathered in Grand Rapids to join over a thousand colleagues from the east side of the state in a united effort to save Michigan's Film Tax Credit from the budget ax. The joint Film Town Hall was the first of what looks to become a series of joint meetings to coordinate long and short range actions. The following is a partial list of recommendations from speakers Mitch Albom, Free Press Columnist and author; Mike Binder, filmmaker and Michigan native; Andy Meisner, Oakland County Treasurer, and former State Representative:

    Mitch Albom

    1) Say "NO" to making the Michigan Film Tax Credit a budget appropriation. 

    Appropriations have to be approved annually by the legislature. Do you really want to go through this budget process again? Stick with the tax credit.

    2) Lock the incentives in for 5 years and leave them alone! 

    Without predictability, the Michigan Film Tax Credit never gets a chance to put down roots. No investor will take a chance ever again on building permanent infrastructure if the tax credits are killed. Who needs a sound stage if movies stop coming to Michigan?

    3) Forget about being angry or partisan - focus your energy on getting results.

    Republicans led the charge for the Michigan Film Tax Credit in 2008, supported by a Democratic Governor and a unanimous vote of the House and Senate, minus one. This is not about politics, it's about jobs.

    4) The Michigan Film Tax Credit doesn't add an extra penny to the pockets of Hollywood celebs like Clint Eastwood, Drew Barrymore, etc. 

    Hollywood celebs gets paid no matter where they shoot a film. Shooting in Michigan means Michigan crew, actors, and businesses collect the money.

    5)The Michigan Film Tax Credit is not a government "handout" program.

    Every promise made by this program has come true: created thousands of jobs, saved businesses on the verge of bankruptcy, kept young and creative people in-state, and encouraged permanent bricks & mortar infrastructure that leads to more local development.

    [read more]

    In the meantime, write your legislators!

    Find your representative at the link below:

    http://www.house.michigan.gov/find_a_rep.asp

    Find your senator at the link below:

    http://www.senate.michigan.gov/fysenator/fysenator.htm

    Stories about the recent rallies, press coverage, etc.