“We can’t rest on our laurels,” says IPA as it recounts victories, goes on membership drive

With feature film production slowing as we head into the final months of 2005, Illinois Production Alliance leaders are defining an agenda for the coming year and issuing a call to get involved.

“There’s strength in numbers,” said IPA president Eileen Willenborg. “We’re calling for all hands on deck to be part of the effort as we plan and as we implement our important, new agenda.”

Topping the list is finding ways to offer more and better ways to compete for state-made projects, along with job creation, business stability and diversity.

The IPA was the driving force for Illinois’ visual media tax credit, which resulted in a rebirth of film and TV production and created most of the jobs that again allow workers to make a living in production.

The IPA is investigating new incentives, such as investor tax credits and sales tax breaks, looking at what has worked in other states “to see if we can bring it home and make it ours. And we continue to meet with city and state officials about improving tax incentives,” she said.

IPA board members are working diligently to promote these improvements to producers and expand production, especially with commercials and independent films.

“Diversity is important to our efforts. We see it as a way to strengthen our competitiveness. Urban creatives can be instrumental in driving Chicago’s position as a global production center,” said Willenborg, executive director of AFTRA/SAG.

“But we can’t rest on our laurels. Your participation will make the IPA stronger as we mobilize the community to achieve our essential agenda. IPA membership is an investment in your career.

“Our board and members are volunteers serving the industry, serving you. Unpaid, they contribute countless hours of their time.

“IPA dues are carefully invested only for professional lobbying and other services, materials and promotions that are necessary to benefit our production community,” said Willenborg.

Cost of membership is $250 for individuals, $1,000 for companies.

Members are invited to attend the open board meeting, Wednesday. Oct. 19 at 8 a.m. in AFTRA/SAG offices, 1 E. Erie St.

Send questions or comments to Backtalk. See www.illinoisproduction.org for more information.