Heavyweights, bit players organize in support of film credits

Feb 25, 2011

Over a thousand people packed a metro-Detroit banquet center last night to try and rescue Michigan’s budding film industry.

They’re mounting a campaign to persuade Michigan’s governor and lawmakers to preserve tax incentives for filming in the state. For the past three years Michigan has had the most generous credit in the nation, at 42 percent. Governor Rick Snyder wants to eliminate the tax break.

The message people need to deliver to Lansing, said Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom, is that the credits have created a rare bright spot in Michigan’s economy:

"This is not about saving Tom Cruise. This is about saving Tom Farmington Hills, and Tom Novi and Tom Detroit."

Grips, writers, producers, and people whose businesses depend on Michigan’s generous 42-percent film tax credit turned out to find out how to help salvage the incentive program.

Maxsar Studios in Livonia has hired 50 people since it opened last year. But CEO Phillipe Martinez says plans to hire 50 more were put on hold after Governor Rick Snyder announced plans to scrap the tax credit:

"Within an hour. What’s happening here is that the whole film industry is shut down."

Last year the state awarded about $60 million in credits. Governor Snyder wants to replace it with a program worth $25 million a year.