Michigan may say goodbye to the big screen for awhile. A bill was drafted by the Senate Government Operations Committee on Tuesday that threatens the future of big budget feature films shot in Michigan.
The bill, originally part of initiative that wanted to cut back incentives that were granted to movie studios for working in Michigan, is now cutting the Michigan Film Office entirely.
It should be noted that every single state has a Film Office. Some distribute credits for films among other jobs.
In Michigan, it distributes credits and maintains a directory of everything. Things like lists of companies to caterers for out-of-state producers. The office also helps small Michigan towns prepare for film crews and will review scripts for producers to see what Michigan locations might be good places to film.
In fiscal year 2016, it's slated to be a $653,800 line item that funds just six employees.
From fiscal year 2015 to 2016, film incentives went from $50 million to a proposed $6 million. If this bill passes, that amount would dwindle to nothing, and the office would shut its doors in 2017.
The argument is that if we cant compete with big incentives we really wouldn’t be competing at all.
Jenell Leonard, director of the Michigan Film Office, 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."