NBC/Universal’s lobbying to include to TV talk shows delays passage of incentives till April

THE GOOD NEWS is that the Illinois Filmmakers Tax Credit has actually, finally, honestly passed the state Senate!! Now it’s due to go back to the House for final passage, long past the times this year when enactment was expected.

The bill goes back to the House for final approval — but House is taking a two-week Easter hiatus, which pushes the final enactment into April, the second quarter of the year.

Passage had been stalled by NBC/Universal, producers of the Jerry Springer show, which heavily lobbied Sen. Ricky Hendon to include talk shows in the tax credit. Hendon is the Senate-side tax incentive sponsor.

Universal’s implied threat was that Springer would move the show to Florida, although the show’s director was heard to say no way would he move.

Illinois’ bill, however, is only valid only until Dec. 31, 2008. Which means in two months the legislature will have to start pushing the bill for 2009 and, please, for five years beyond. As they say, write your representatives in Springfield.

In case you believe that what we go through is SOP for state legislatures with filmmakers’ incentives, read on.

MICHIGAN’S NEW FILM INCENTIVES, some of the most generous of any state, won unanimous approval in the Michigan legislature is headed toward a rapid vote in both chambers.

Sen. Jason Allen (R-Traverse City), chair of the Commerce and Tourism Committee, said it is important to act quickly so the state can begin to take advantage on plans being made by film production companies.

Business, sales and income tax rebates are provided, and for the first time, filmmaking would be eligible for tax breaks provided by the Michigan Economic Development Authority.

And this is the best part: The credits generally are valid through Sept. 30, 2015.

“THE UNBORN” supernatural thriller has started a 40-day shooting schedule, while “Baby on Board” is bye-bye and “Humboldt Park” wraps March 21.

“The Unborn” stars Gary Oldman and Odeette Yustman (“Cloverfield”) as a young woman who becomes possessed. David Goyer directs. Locations include Barat College in Lake Forest.

GETTING AROUND. Spank!Music & Sound Design added head of music supervision Ramsey Dean, with 20 years experience in the music recording business, and account director Nicole Burke, from Pittsburgh, responsible for sales and marketing.

Filmworkers Club’s Adam Marton is one of seven speakers at the TV Academy’s March 15 Career Day, and the only non-broadcaster on the panel. He’ll speak about careers in post ? Brian Plante, for years a fixture at Midwest Media Group, has joined Answers Media.

Nikki Weiss & Co. signed distinguished director Anouk Besson for exclusive Midwest representation. Liz Laine continues to rep Besson’s roost, Celsius Films… Elbio Barilari is the programming coordinator on the Latino Film Festival, April 4-17. He is a former editor-in-chief of LaRaza newspaper.

CHICAGO FILMMAKERS IS EXCITED about the March 21 screening of the season (5) finale of Showtime’s “The L Word” as part of its Reeling: Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

The locally produced sitcom pilot, “Human Potential” by Tellofilms, also will screen. Reception follows, and Showtime is providing plenty of “L Word” giveways.

THE CHICAGO/ILLINOIS SCREENWRITERS CONTEST will no longer be co-sponsored by the Chicago Film Office, which cited too full a plate of film projects. It had joined hosted the bi-annual contest for 20 years. The ultra-busy IFO hasn’t decided if it will continue the contest on its own.

A local screenwriting contest will continue, however, as a private group plans to launch The Great Chicago Script Contest.

Unlike the Chicago/Illinois contest, which restricted entries to state residents, Great Chicago will be open to all. Stay tuned for details.

THE GOOD NEWS is that the Illinois Filmmakers Tax Credit has actually, finally, honestly passed the state Senate!! Now it’s due to go back to the House for final passage, long past the expected Dec. 31, 2007 enactment date.

That was the yin. The yang is that the House is taking a two-week hiatus, which pushes the final enactment into April, the second quarter of the year

A TASTE OF SUMMER. Come the first of May, RDS will break out the barbeque grills and fire up for its Thursday night get-togethers on the roof, featuring grilled steaks, salad and cocktails ? Next month, the CFO starts making selections for the Annual Outdoor Film Festival, held mid-July to the end of August.

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