In the wake of the recent elimination of the film and digital media incentive program, the Michigan Film Office has struggled to tackle difficult questions surrounding funding and film promotion. However, after months of consideration, the Michigan Film Office has changed its vision and chosen a new name to reflect that.
The Michigan Film Office will now be known as the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office.
“The new name reflects substantive changes to our vision, and is one of many steps in branding Michigan as a preeminent place for filmmakers, digital media artists and producers along with building a home for the range of talent in the state’s creative industries,” said Jenell Leonard, commissioner of the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office.
The Michigan Film Office was established in 1979 to assist in location scouting and creating a director of the state’s film community. In 2008, the office started an incentive program through tax credits in an attempt to entice production companies to the state.
Now, however, the focus has turned to connecting private investors with film and digital media entrepreneurs, which is a tricky matter. The Michigan Film & Digital Media Office will help facilitate that connection.
“Michigan business built our production business, not Hollywood,” said Bill Ludwig, advisory council chair and former chairman-CEO of Campbell-Ewald, Detroit. “We’re finding startups in digital and social media content creation (or curation) are looking to private investors for support. We need to find ways for those connections to happen more frequently.”
Another renewed area of focus for the office is to attract businesses that create content across all media channels, including mobile, CGI, animation, digital, gaming, and social media.
In the upcoming months, the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office’s advisory board will suggest cost-effective approaches to help the office achieve its new strategic plan, which includes:
Coordinated statewide advocacy and advertising promotion of world-class film talent, network of production professionals and film festivals focusing on the advantage of working and producing creative projects in Michigan.
Public-private partnerships that facilitate financing of production equipment and services, and building coalitions to foster entrepreneurial environment for the creation of digital-based products.
Educational alliances with universities, community colleges and arts schools as a means to elevate awareness of training and employment opportunities in the creative industries.
Regional support among cultural institutions, arts groups and philanthropic community to support endeavors of the state’s creative industries.
The Michigan Film & Digital Media Office is has begun pursuing its broader mission by sponsoring the Digital Summit Detroit on Sept. 22 and 23. The summit will showcase the range of professionals working in digital media. College students around the state will attend the summit as guests of the office.
“The digital media summit is a great opportunity for students to learn first-hand about the emerging opportunities as they connect with some of the most prominent digital media businesses participating in the summit,” said Leonard.
Despite the steps it’s taken to pursue its new mission, the Michigan film and digital media office is just starting its new chapter.
Critical to the next phase in developing Michigan’s creative industries is building a stronger bond among stakeholders and private-sector partners/investors, especially in bringing together entrepreneurs, innovators as a way to diversify and strengthen the Michigan economy.