Detroit Free Press

Thirty-five filmmakers qualified for $48 million in payments from state government for work done in Michigan during the first 10 months operation of an incentive program enacted last year by Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the Legislature, according to a film office report the Free Press obtained today.

The tally includes 22 feature films, a pair of television movies, two TV pilots, a reality show and four documentaries.

Filmmakers spent about $125 million in Michigan on the projects.

The report did not break down spending on individual films because the law restricts release to the public of financial information about any of the projects.

The most well-known productions in Michigan have been “Gran Torino,” produced by Clint Eastwood, and “Prayers for Bobby,” a television movie produced by Sigourney Weaver.

The 35 projects resulted in employment of about 2,800 people, the film office said. Seventy-one projects have been okayed for incentive payments (worth up to 42% of production costs), but have not yet been completed or sought post-production certification to qualify for state incentive payments.

The report also cites two large scale studio projects announced last month in Detroit and Pontiac which it says are “laying the foundation for an industry that will support long term growth.”

State Sen. Ray Basham, D-Taylor, said he’s heard nothing but positives about the local surge in activity by filmmakers and others (the incentives are available to video game makers, animators and others as well).

“I think it’s been very positive,” said Basham, who is working with officials in Allen Park trying to attract another studio project.

I say, ‘If they’re going to be making ‘em, why not make ‘em in Michigan.”

Steven Miller, director of the Center for Economic Analysis at Michigan State University, said there is no question the incentives are “creating activity in Michigan.”


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