A movie veteran and a college film student started grass roots movement SAVE WI FILM INCENTIVES, aimed at generating a firestorm of protest letters to Gov. Jim Doyle and Wisconsin legislators.

After actor and filmmaker Rex Sikes and student filmmaker Matt Ott posted SAVE WI FILM INCENTIVES on the Facebook Cause site, 1,350 sympathetic Facebook friends have joined so far.

A furor arose when Gov. Jim Doyle recently announced he was going to eliminate Wisconsin’s recently enacted 25% tax credit and other incentives from the state’s 2009-011 budget.

“We are working to preserve the incentives by spreading the word,” says Sikes. “We’re spearheading a letter writing campaign ? we supplied a complete list of legislators’ addresses, reporting what’s going on, enlisting members to our cause and more.”

After working as a young actor in Hollywood, Sikes, a SAG/AFTRA member, returned to his native Milwaukee and currently lives in suburban Brookfield. He runs a corporate seminar business and continues to work in movies, “four or five features this past year,” he says.

Further support for incentive retention incentives will come from PSAs being produced Ott and Sikes, and also by Milwaukee director Ross Figley of Dirty Jobs Films and festival organizer Wayne Clingman.

Sikes usually works on low-to-medium budget indies. On one of the shoots he met University of Wisconsin/Madison student Ott and they connected on their shared goal of seeing Wisconsin advance as a film center. Upset by Doyle’s decision, which has negatively affected business, they created the Facebook page to initiate a growing protest.

One movie scheduled to start this month was Susan Moses’ $6 million action fantasy indie, “Nephilim.” Although Moses has invested a considerable amount of preproduction money in Wisconsin, the project will be forced to relocate if the incentives are not reinstated.

Sikes’ phone number is 262/790-1993. See the Facebook Cause posting at