Not only are film incentives that have brought movies to Michigan like Transformers, Batman, and Oz on the chopping block to go away for good, a Michigan Senate committee has recommended the entire film office be eliminated by 2017.
The extreme move, if taken up by the full Michigan Senate, would make Michigan the only state in the country without a film office.
In the name of road funding, Senate Republicans have zeroed-in on the Michigan Film Office which consists of six people and is a line-item cost of $653,800 per year. That’s less than it costs to resurface two lanes of road for one mile (which is $800,000, according an MDOT presentation).
The Michigan Film Office was created in 1979. It does other functions than distribute film credits; it acts as a sort of “glue” between various sorts of vendors and production companies, maintaining relationships, databases, helping towns get ready for crews, etc.
Jenell Leonard, director of the Michigan Film Office, publicly issued the following statement:
“Our goal all along has been to attract film projects and foster growth for Michigan’s creative industries. We’re in transition, life without incentives. Part of the transition has been to reach out to the Michigan film industry and translate feedback into a strategic plan. We’ve done that. The plan promotes the film industry in key public-private partnerships. There has been a film office in Michigan since 1979, and every state has one for a reason.”
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof told MLive that “We heard folks on Proposal 1 say that roads are their top priority, so it’s just really hard to justify the number of people and things that would be doing that, so we’re just going to scale back.”
What do you think? Should they close the curtains on the Michigan Film Office?