PSAs on value of Michigan incentives now airing

Mark Adler of the MPA, which produced the PSA

Two months after it was completed, a PSA promoting the economic reasons why Michigan’s film incentives should be continued is now airing on TV stations and theatre screens.

The 30- and 60-second spot, “Keep it Rolling,” runs on Detroit’s ABC/7 and WADL/38, and in West Michigan’s Goodrich Theatres’ auditorium screens and lobby monitors.  

More TV stations and theatre chains are expected to join the movement now that the ball has finally started to roll.  

In the PSA, some 350 business owners, crew members, vendors, facilities owners, talent and others who have worked on some 140 movies and TV shows since the incentives began in 2008, talk about how film revenues benefit the community.

Finding volunteers to appear in the PSA was the easiest part, says Mark Adler, founder/director of the Michigan Production Alliance, the PSA producer. 

“You had to beat them off with a stick, so many people were tuned in now that the fuse was lit and everyone wanted to make it happen.”

A 38-person Michigan crew contributed time, goods and services totaling just $100,000 in pro bono value, shooting at Stage 3 Productions in Warren.

The production started on on March 26, close to when the Michigan Film Office began administering incentives under the unlegislated $25 million cap.  

The PSA was completed in early April and the holdup in airways placement was due to time needed to iron out some National SAG PSA procedures.

Directing the spot was Michael Chait, a Michigan native who attended Columbia College from 2002-2006.  “I’m trying to bring several features back home to Michigan from Hollywood,” he says. 

“I directed this PSA to try and help all the Michigan filmmakers and companies who have helped me get to this point, and because I’m extremely passionate about this issue and keeping the film industry alive and growing in Michigan and the Midwest.

Producer was Teresa Leming, adminstrator manager of Mid America Cine Support; DP, Steven Witham of Rare, MEDIUM Well Done Pictures, Inc.; gaffer was freelancer Frank Dorset; Mark Adler provided video assist and on-camera spokesman was SAG member Peter Carey.

Among the sponsors were Stage 3 Productions, Jeff Moon Productions, Stratton Camera, Carlson Catering, Grace & Wild Studios, Mid America Cine Support and Kodak.

Michigan Production Alliance lobbys on behalf of the industry

The MPA is a 8-year old, 501c6 industry trade organization which promotes filming in the state and serves as a grassroots lobbying organization to
encourage a more stable financial environment for Michigan visual media production.

“We have six lobbyists working on our behalf to get the legislature to do something more viable than what we’re currently dealing with,” says Adler.  “We are hoping to see something positive happen in the next couple of weeks.

That expectation is the introduction of a new bill to supplement the recently passed  SB 383, to continue Michigan film incentives after Jan. 1, 2012, with a film fund of approximately $100 million.

The Senate sent to the House SB 383, which allows the Michigan Film office to give filmmakers “up to” 42% on spending in Michigan.  This is significant change from the current law, which guarantees top subsidy amounts, regardless of how much production  is actually performed in Michigan.