michigan film credits

Film rolls.
Luca Nonato / Flickr

Michigan's film incentives would be completely phased out under a bill approved this morning by the state Senate.

The vote comes a day after Gov. Rick Snyder signed a new state budget that cut funding for the film credits in half compared to the budget passed last year.

The legislation now goes to the state House, which could send the bill to the governor's desk later today.

*We'll have more on this soon.

Lance Kawas


Michigan filmmakers have their work cut out for them. Millions of dollars in annual state tax incentives are a certain target for cuts. And now, there's a move afoot in the Legislature to shut down the Michigan Film Office altogether.

Critics worry that the film and television industries are going to pass right by Michigan in favor of states with more generous incentives.

But filmmakers like Lance Kawas are still finding ways to make movies even while being based in Michigan.

Lansing Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Budget talks are wrapping up at the state Capitol. As part of the discussion, lawmakers are looking to cut Michigan’s $50 million film incentive program in half.

Many say the savings should go toward fixing Michigan’s roads.

“There is overwhelming public support from Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to reprioritize that spending to fix the roads,” Michigan Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Rich Studley told lawmakers last week during a committee hearing on the road funding issue.

Gov. Rick Snyder
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Governor Rick Snyder says he thinks it would be a mistake to abruptly scrap Michigan’s incentives to attract film and video productions.

The state House is poised to vote this week on a bill to end the film incentives when the new budget year begins Oct. 1.  The governor’s not a fan of industry-specific tax breaks, but he says it would be unfair to simply eliminate the film credits.

Andrew McFarlane / creative commons

There’s a new fight underway at the state Capitol over Michigan’s tax credit for film, TV, and digital video projects. And some advocates for the subsidy say the debate itself is harming efforts to create a thriving Michigan movie and video entertainment business.  

Gov. Rick Snyder has never been a fan of the subsidies and his administration capped them $50 million in the current budget and in his proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. 

Reinis Traidas / Flickr

The state House is expected to take up legislation next month that could decide the future of Michigan’s film credit program.

The credits will go away in 2017 if lawmakers do not act to extend them. The state Senate passed a bill last month that would keep them alive. Senate Bill 1103 got wide bipartisan support.

A New York-based developer has agreed to buy the site of a disastrous movie studio project that pushed Allen Park to the brink of bankruptcy.

The downriver Detroit suburb bought the 104-acre complex specifically for the project known as Unity Studios.

But the developer walked away after a year –after Allen Park had issued $25.5 million in bonds to support Unity Studios.

That debt eventually led to the state taking control of the city’s finances.

Ariel Dovas

The top Republican in the state Senate says he’s not satisfied with the amount of money lawmakers have set aside for film and TV productions.

The Legislature is expected to wrap up a state budget this week. It will include $50 million in film incentives. That’s the same as last year, but half of that money is now slated to continue into future budgets.

Gov. Rick Snyder has sought to cut the film incentives since he took office in 2011. He says the state can make better investments that create more of an economic return.

Doug Kline / Flickr

Attention “Breaking Bad” fans (read: almost everyone): Bryan Cranston’s latest role has a Michigan twist. 

Cranston, the 57-year-old star of “Breaking Bad” and of course, “Malcolm in the Middle,” signed on for the lead role in the new movie, “Holland, Michigan.”

Academy Award-winning director Errol Morris is expected to direct the film, a thriller centered on a family from – you guessed it – Holland.

Incentive OK'd for filming in southwest Michigan

Feb 23, 2014
Middle Distance/FB

NEW BUFFALO – A movie filming in southwestern Michigan has been approved for a state incentive.

The Michigan Film Office says "The Middle Distance" is being awarded $39,000 on $145,000 of projected in-state expenditures.

The movie is set to film this month in New Buffalo, Three Oaks and Grand Beach. It's to feature local diners and landscapes.

"The Middle Distance" director Patrick Underwood says the community support for the film "has been overwhelming."

JD Hancock Photos

The "Caped Crusader" and the "Man of Steel" are getting a handout from Michigan.

Julie Hinds of the Detroit Free Press reports Warner Brothers will get millions in tax incentives to shoot the movie in the state.

The upcoming Superman-Batman movie has been approved for the state’s film incentives, the Michigan Film Office announced today.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Senate votes to keep film incentive money

"Michigan’s film industry wouldn’t lose a dime of the $50 million currently set aside for state incentives under a proposal in the Legislature. The state Senate voted to reject Governor Rick Snyder’s plan to cut the incentives in half," Jake Neher reports.

Proposed bill would give tax credits for student loans

"State tax credits could be given for student loan payments if a new bill in Lansing becomes law. The tax credit would equal half of a student's annual loan payments, if the graduate stays in Michigan," Chris Zollars reports.

Bill would make Michigan online retailers charge sales tax

"Michigan lawmakers are looking at how to get online retailers to collect state sales taxes. Currently, shoppers are supposed to report any sales taxes they owe on online purchases, and pay them with their income tax, but most people don’t. A proposed bill at the state capitol would put the responsibility on the online retailer," Steve Carmody reports.

Judy van der Velden / Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Republican-led state House is looking to do away with tax incentives that lure moviemakers to Michigan so the money instead goes toward road maintenance.

The House on Tuesday stripped $25 million in tax credits it planned to set aside for the film industry.

The funding would go to the state and local governments for road repairs.

The House also cut $25 million from an economic-development fund and allocated it for roads.

The full House is expected to vote on its budget Wednesday, setting the stage for negotiations with the Senate and Gov. Rick Snyder next month.

So far the GOP-controlled Senate and governor are looking to designate at least $25 million in incentives for Hollywood - half the amount in the current budget.


The following is asummary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

Governor Snyder's proposal to cut the state's film tax credits from $50 million to $25 million has left the Michigan filmmaking community wondering if they can keep their heads above water.

The divisive proposal has some lawmakers pledging to fight to maintain the state's current tax credits while others stand by the Governor's and say the incentive takes money away from "must-have" programs such as public safety and education.

Michael Zervos of Northville, a Michigan filmmaker, is the head of Mother and Midwife Pictures,  and is currently in pre-production for his film "Papou," which employs Michigan actors and will be filmed in Michigan.

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Zervos about his concerns with Governor Snyder's proposal.

There are two ways you can podcast "Stateside with Cynthia Canty"

Today on Stateside, Michiganders, you have spoken.

A new report is out today about how you think we can move the economy forward.

We'll find out more on today's show, and we'll speak to a former University President who says universities themselves might be contributing to some of the economic crunch they're facing.

But in the first part of our show, we turn to the question of just how much support the state of Michigan should give to the film industry and filmmakers.

Governor Snyder's recent budget proposal contained $25 million in tax credits for film makers. That's a 50 percent cut from the present  film credit cap of $50 million, and some lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, a fellow Republican, say that is one bad plan that he says will drive the film industry out of Michigan.

The state Senate’s top Republican says he’ll once again try to ward off big cuts to Michigan’s film industry credits.

For the second year in a row, Governor Rick Snyder is proposing a budget that would cap the state’s film incentives at $25 million for the year.

And for the second year in a row, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says he’ll fight to give the industry at least twice that.

“To that particular industry and to the mostly blue collar workers that benefit from that in Michigan, it would be devastating to them,” says Richardville.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan film producers and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville say they will lobby to maintain the state's $50 million film credits cap.

Gov. Snyder is calling for a $25 million dollar cap in film incentives in the budget he has proposed. The amount is the same he proposed last year, but lawmakers raised the cap to $50 million during budget negotiations.

On the Detroit set of Paramount Pictures’ "Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon."
Robert Zuckerman / Michigan Film Office

Stateside continues its look at Michigan's film industry.

Yesterday, we spoke with a Michigan actor who found that film producers, by and large, headed to other states when Michigan's film subsidies were dramatically cut.

Judy van der Velden / Flickr

Not long ago stars like Mila Kunis, Ryan Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman were spotted in Michigan. For a brief moment the streets of Ann Arbor resembled those of New York or Los Angeles.

That was when Michigan offered the nation’s best subsidies for film and television production.

But to Governor Rick Snyder, these generous production tax incentives were not viable for our struggling state.

The incentives program was given a $25-milion dollar cap for the 2012 fiscal year.

Michigan’s tidal wave of film and TV production has slowed to a trickle.

Reinis Traidas / Flickr

The old film incentives were scrapped in the tax overhaul approved by the Michigan legislature and the Governor.

They said the old film incentives, which gave production companies a 42% credit on total expenses in Michigan, was too costly ($115 million was spent last year, according to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy).

In it's place, a $25 million film incentive program for Michigan's next fiscal year (which starts October 1).

Now, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says he wants to improve the film incentives.

MPRN's Rick Plua filed this report:

Richardville says his new proposal would focus financial support in activities that reward spending on Michigan products, services, and workers.

He says investors have put money into expensive production facilities, and workers have learned new skills in the belief that incentives would attract more film business to the state.

 “I think the strength of that workforce, the strength of the investments we have in Michigan will cause us to win contracts in competitive situations versus other states. Once we’re done with that, then let’s analyze it to see what we can afford versus what the industry needs to sustain itself here in Michigan.”

Governor Rick Snyder’s office says he would like to see how Michigan’s new incentive program is working before making changes.

Andres McFarlane / Creative Commons

Movie industry supporters are pulling together a campaign to persuade Governor Rick Snyder to reconsider his plan to slash the state’s film tax incentives. For the past three years Michigan has had the most generous credit in the nation, at 42 percent.

Actor Jeff Daniels and columnist Mitch Albom will headline a meeting tonight in Livonia to talk strategy.

The largest portion of a former General Motors Plant in the Grand Rapids suburb of Walker is back up for sale. The more than quarter-million-square-foot space was to supposed to become a massive movie studio known as Hangar42.