New future for Indiana film industry emerges as old film office is closed

The 23-year-old Indiana Film Office was closed May 6, just 24 hours after its two employees, director Jane Rulon and project manager Chris Pohl, were told their jobs had ended.

The film office will continue, however, although in a different guise, said Michael “Mickey” Maurer, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IDEC), a quasi-state organization that replaced the Indiana Dept. of Commerce only last January.

It was felt the IEDC could handle the state’s film needs “more efficiently” than in the past, said Maurer. One way will be through the formation of a new volunteer task force?”an enthusiastic group of Indiana film folks”?along with economic development professionals.

IEDC staffers, known as project managers or special coordinators, will assume the former film office duties. The new structure also provides for the continuation of the production guide and web site.

Greg Malone of Road Productions, a commercial house in Indianapolis, and president of the Indiana Media Industry Network (IMIN), said he is optimistic, although “a little nervous,” that the new structure will work well in place of the former established film office.

The elimination of the film office, whose estimated expense was estimated at under $100,000, was not an unexpected result of recent legislation that fell short of providing incentives that would have made Indiana a financially attractive location.

What did not pass were a 30% tax credit aimed at production, and certain sales tax exemptions. Lesser provisions that did pass were a 10% Hoosier Business Investment tax credit for infrastructure investments, and no fees for filming on state property and universities.

Maurer is a well known, highly regarded and wealthy Indianapolis business leader and philanthropist who, Moore said “recognizes film production as an economic benefit.” An attorney, he is the founder of the National Bank of Indianapolis, owner of a business journal, a former owner of radio stations and pioneer in cable television systems.

Jane Rulon, a PR and marketing expert, joined the film office in November, 1993, in the middle of the Indiana filming of the feature “Rudy.” She was the fourth director and held the longest tenure.

Her future plans are filled with “a lot of different possibilities,” she said, “and it’s likely I’ll be doing some consulting.”

Some of the notable features that filmed in Indiana during her tenure, she noted, included “Hard Rain,” with Christian Slater and Morgan Freeman; “Going All the Way,” with Ben Affleck and Jeremy Davis and “Blue Chips,” with Nick Nolte.

Since 1995, according to IMIN, feature production generated more than $12 million in local spending, more than $10 million in additional economic impact and nearly $7 million in earnings.