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By Jamie Sherrod, Fox 17 Grand Rapids
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Many students study filmmaking here in the state of Michigan, but they often go elsewhere for work. That’s because Michigan is one of a few states that doesn’t have a film incentive. New legislation introduced is hoping to change that.
Dave Benoit enjoys the freedom of creative directing. It’s a passion that almost took him to Atlanta.
“I had friends, I had video opportunities already lined up for me, I had sets that I was going to be on. I had so much going for me at that time. I had nothing here,” said Benoit.
“We're not on an even playing field and that means that any time that a production is looking for a location, they skip over Michigan as a potential place to film their project,” said Bill Latka.
He’s on the board of the Michigan Film Industry Association, and says more than 40 states and cities have incentive programs. Latka is hoping to bring them back to Michigan with the Multimedia Jobs Act legislation.
"Any spend that happens in a state, they can apply for a percentage of that to be returned to them as a refundable tax credit,” said Latka. “So, it's a way to really let producers know that Michigan is open for business in a new, exciting creative area.”
The Multimedia Jobs Act would provide a 30% tax credit for hiring Michigan residents and 20% for nonresidents; a $50,000 minimum qualified spend for commercials, commercial photography, and short films; a $300,000 minimum spend for feature films and TV shows among other things.