• Friday, January 29, 2021 3:51 PM | Anonymous
  • Friday, January 29, 2021 9:07 AM | Anonymous

    Film, TV and Commercials has become a global industry. In order to be competitive, many states offer a film incentive program.  There are currently over 30 states that have some sort of a film incentive program.

    Without a program of our own, Michigan loses that work, or gets overlooked in favor of other states that do.

    MIFIA’s plan for a sustainable film tax credit program.

    The basics.

    1.) A two-tiered program that covers both commercials/industrials and also feature film/television/streaming productions.

    2.) It is a transferable tax credit, based system, rather than a grant or rebate based one. This means no money paid out of the general fund to applicants.

    3.) Also, applicants may sell off unused tax credits to other Michigan based companies. Typically, at a percentage on the dollar, making them attractive to purchase. The tax credit stays in Michigan and benefits Michigan companies. 

    4.) Available tax credit ‘funds’ (Feature and Commercial) are independent of each other. The cap for each, increases at regular 3-year intervals over a 10-year period.

                For Film, $50 Million, $75 Million and $100 Million.

                For Commercials, $2 Million, $4 Million and $10 Million.

                Any unused funds, roll over into the next calendar year.

    5.) To qualify, production companies must start production within 90 days of approval, with the following minimum spend:

    $300,000.00 minimum for feature film, television productions 20 minutes or longer.

    $50,000.00 minimum for a single commercial, campaign, industrial or other projects under 20 minutes in final runtime.

    6.) Application Fees.

    $2,000.00 for Feature film, Television and Streaming productions 20 minutes or longer.

                $1,000.00 for commercial, industrial projects under 20 minutes.

                Application Fees are non-refundable.

    7.) The base tax credit awarded starts at 25% for in state spending with an additional 5% awarded for the inclusion of a TBD ‘Filmed in Michigan’ logo.

    8.) Almost all aspects of film/commercial production ranging from pre-production, production and post production qualify. ‘Development’ costs do not qualify.

    9.) We are putting Michigan workers first by awarding a 30% tax credit for hiring Michigan residents. Non-residents are awarded at 20%. Any wages paid out to a single person, per project, in excess of $500,000.00 do not qualify for a tax credit.

    10.)  The bill includes language defining what constitutes a “Full time employee.”  This will help support a more accurate count when tracking increased jobs creation in the film industry as a result of the tax credit.

    11.)  Protecting Michigan based companies and encouraging new business investment by including language that excludes ‘Pass-Through’ transactions and businesses from qualifying for the Film tax credit.  Qualified vendors will need to show a brick and mortar / Inventory / full time employee presence.

    12). Speed. Under a tax credit based system, there is less initial burden on the film office and treasury, applications can be processed faster. Qualified expenditures are proven on the back end before a credit amount is issued. 

    13.)  Accountability. The bill includes language that requires verification by an independent CPA to submit qualified expenditures for approval. It also states that no tax credits will be authorized or issued to any applicant until there is confirmation that all qualified vendor and employee invoices have been fully satisfied and paid in full.  This ensures that the Treasury can collect the taxes before issuing a credit.

  • Thursday, December 03, 2020 2:02 PM | Anonymous

     House bill is 1st step to competing with 30+ states 

    LANSING, MI – State Rep. Robert Wittenberg, D-Huntington Woods, today introduced House Bills 6504 and 6505 as an important investment in Michigan workers and the economy. 

    The legislation creates a two-tiered tax credit that provides incentives for Michigan-produced commercials as well as film, television and streaming productions. The action comes at a time when over 30 states offer film incentives and, in turn, receive the jobs, economic boost and related upstream, downstream and peripheral benefits from a multi-billion-dollar industry. 

    “This is about Michigan jobs,” said Rep. Wittenberg. “As we witness the devastation and business losses from the pandemic, we know that attracting an industry that reinvented itself amid the crisis is a smart investment in our state’s economy and its workers. This is a smart first step to rebuilding Michigan.” 

    Michigan State Capitol - Wikipedia

    Under HBs 6504-6505, preference is given to state-based companies who hire Michigan residents. Other specifics of the legislation include: 

    • A base tax credit starting at 25% for in-state spending with an additional 5% awarded for the inclusion of a “filmed in Michigan” logo; 
    • A commitment from production companies to spend at least $50,000 for a single commercial campaign or project under 20 minutes or at least $300,000 for productions over 20 minutes; 
    • A 30% tax credit for hiring Michigan residents and 20% for nonresidents; 
    • A requirement that qualified Michigan vendors provide proof of brick-and-mortar presence, have inventory and full-time employees on staff. Pass-through companies and transactions will not qualify; and 
    • Accountability requirements for independent verification of approved expenditures. 

    “A cross-disciplinary team of Michigan film professionals have worked tirelessly with Rep. Wittenberg for more than three years to draft this legislation,” said Brian Kelly, co-chair of the Michigan Film Industry Association (MiFIA) Board of Directors. “This comes at a time when our state most needs good-paying jobs and an economic boost. We can no longer remain idle as film workers leave our state to follow an industry that can provide the stimulus Michigan needs.” 

    At the end of the 2019-20 legislative session on Dec. 31, if the bill is not signed into law, state Sen. Adam Hollier, D-Detroit, announced plans to reintroduce the legislation during the 2021-22 session. 

    For more information and a video segment on MiFIA’s advocacy efforts to create a film tax credit program in Michigan, visit


  • Monday, November 23, 2020 11:10 AM | Anonymous

    Netflix is expanding its footprint in New Mexico, announcing Monday that it is expanding ABQ Studios and pledging an additional $1 billion in production spending there.

    Elaine Low, Variety 


  • Tuesday, August 04, 2020 11:46 AM | Anonymous

    The Michigan Film Industry Association is holding a silent auction to help keep its mission alive

    "We need to have these films shot here in our great state of Michigan."  Those words from Brian Kelly, chairperson of the Michigan Film Industry Association (MIFIA).  Members of the organization have been working for the past three years to bring film incentives back to the state... read more.

  • Thursday, May 21, 2020 3:28 PM | Anonymous

    Detroit was just two weeks away from hosting its biggest film project in years when the coronavirus pandemic shut it down. READ MORE.

    Director Steven Soderbergh's comments on "Kill Switch" begin at about the 47:43 mark.

  • Friday, September 13, 2019 8:30 AM | Lorri Rishar (Administrator)

    By Daniel Patton      Sep 13, 2019

    Peter Hawley and Kwame Amoaku

    Peter Hawley and Kwame Amoaku

    Newly installed office-holders explain their plans for keeping Chicago and Illinois on the path of success

    The thriving regional film industry is only going to get better, according to two of its recently appointed top leaders.

    Illinois Film Office Executive Director Peter Hawley and Director of the Chicago Film Office Kwame Amoaku described their visions to an enthusiastic crowd of industry guests during a Gathering of Industrial & Cultural Film Community event on September 11 at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios on Wednesday night.

    Following gracious introductions from Mark Kelly, Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Hawley and Amoaku both praised the growth of the city’s film production, which recorded nearly $500 million in spending last year. Then, after proceeding to express support for common themes like education and jobs, they each offered distinct but complementary plans for continuing success.

    Mark KellyMark Kelly

    Hawley, who remembers when Cinespace began transforming the vacant Ryerson Steel Plant into a major film campus, emphasized the importance of the Illinois Film Tax Credit, which was renewed by Governor JB Pritzker on August first.

    “That is what gets the shows here,” he said. “At the bill signing … a bunch of workforce people were there, and the stars of the Dick Wolf shows, and Dick made it very, very clear that they would not be here if it was not for the tax credit, and he wants to be here another decade, and we’ve got an extension until 2027 right now. And that is really really, important.”

    Amoaku, who considers the Chicago film community to be “more of a family to me than anything,” said that strengthening the Windy City’s unique cinematic voice is among his top priorities.

    “We want Chicago to create its own content,” he declared. “We have the means for a powerful production hub to exist here. We have writers. We have production people. Post production. We have everything we need here to create our own intellectual property. And I think that’s something that’s very important that we need to do.”

    Besides wielding extensive film credibility, both guests of honor can back up their words with significant past achievements.

    Before accepting his appointment with the state’s Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, Hawley spent more than a dozen years at Tribeca Flashpoint College, ultimately ascending to the position of Academic Dean.

    Amoaku, who worked as Location Manager for Dick Wolf’s Chicago Fire from 2014 to 2018 — has also earned dozens of acting, directing, and producing credits throughout his career.


    Stage 18, Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, September 11, 2019

    Community get-together
    Hawley and Amoaku addressed the audience in the production facilities of Stage 18, a Chicago film incubator located on the campus of Chicago Cinespace Film Studios.

    Hosted by DCEO and DCASE, the event drew a number of industry notables including CineCares Executive Director Sheila Brown, Chicago Fire star Eamonn Walker, former Chicago Film Office Director Rich Moskal, STORY Executive Producer Mark Androw, Free Spirit Media Executive Director Jeff McCartner, Chicago Underground Film Festival Artistic Director Bryan Wendorf, award-winning filmmaker Curtis Matzke, and Local 476 President Bradley Matthys and Business Director Mark Hogan.

    Stage 18 co-founders — Cinespace President Alex Pissios and Executive Producer Angie Gaffney — were also in attendance.

    Eamonnn Walker and Sheila BrownEamonnn Walker and Sheila Brown

    After the presentation, Brown expressed confidence that both Hawley and Amoaku “will make wonderful additions to their departments.” As the woman in charge of a foundation that provides youth from underserved communities with access to the film industry, she knows how to spot talent.

    “I worked with Kwame here at Cinespace,” she recalls. “He took some of my interns into the locations department on Chicago Fire and so forth. He’s done it all, and so has Peter.”

    Brown also praised the authenticity of Dick Wolf’s Windy City trifecta of shows — Chicago FireChicago Med, and Chicago P.D. — which are filmed at Cinespace.

    “What are they mostly doing? Shooting in communities where people look like me,” she explained. “There’s a different perspective when you have someone who authentically lives in that space, as opposed to someone who says, ‘I know what gang members talk like.’ It’s just different. It’s not saying one is better than the other. It’s simply saying it helps to have different perspectives on things to make it more rich.”

    Jesse Ruiz and Samir MayekarJesse Ruiz and Samir Mayekar

    Illinois Deputy Governor Jesse Ruiz and Chicago Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar also addressed the crowd. While increasing the event’s enthusiasm, they also described the exponential benefits that production brings to communities all over the state.

    “Expanding the film industry in Illinois will give our students a wider range of career and educational opportunities,” said Ruiz.

    “At five in the morning, when you’re getting ready to film, you need to get some food from somewhere,” said Mayekar. “Right?”

    Never a dull moment
    Speaking with Reel Chicago, Hawley and Amoaku seemed excited to admit that their new jobs probably won’t ever follow any sort of routine.

    Hawley, who visits Cinespace at least once a week, recalled the “good surprise” that greeted him when he began making the rounds of his new job. “I was shocked by the number of women in high level positions,” he said “UPMs, producers, location managers — it was great.”

    Amoaku, who deals with a myriad of departments to coordinate the city’s on-location shoots, looks forward to building bridges with residents who are affected by the process. “It’s not Hollywood coming to take over their blocks,” he explained. “These are blue-collar workers coming to make a living, and we need to make sure they understand that.”

    Send your film updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton,

  • Saturday, September 07, 2019 9:30 AM | Lorri Rishar (Administrator)

    The Royal Starr Film Festival will bring dozens of independent movies and local filmmakers to the Emagine Theatre in Royal Oak through Sept. 15. 

    Organizers Luke Castle and Corey Milton dropped by the Fox2 News studios Sunday morning to discuss the event and the The Royal Starr Arts Institute.

    Watch the video above and click here for more information.

  • Thursday, August 22, 2019 10:00 PM | Lorri Rishar (Administrator)
    Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 at 10:10pm

    © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

    The landscape for film and TV in New Mexico is ever changing.

    This is one reason the state remains a “go to” area in the industry. In fact, Fiscal Year 2019 saw a record year in direct spending from the film industry here.

    According to the New Mexico State Film Office, during that fiscal year – which ran from July 1, 2018, through June 30 – the direct spend into the New Mexico economy was $525.5 million.

    This is up from $234 million in FY18 and $505.9 million in FY17, which had been the record high.

    And state officials expect a recent change in the film landscape to lead to even more spending.

    “Since the passage of Senate Bill 2, we’ve seen an uptick in inquiries in the state,” said Alicia J. Keyes, New Mexico Secretary of Economic Development. “Both metro and … rural areas are seeing that increase.”

    The bill, signed in March, became law on July 1. It raised the cap on what can be paid to film and TV productions in a single year from $50 million to $110 million.

    Some productions have also moved to the state from Georgia and Louisiana because of the political climate, as well as New Mexico’s film incentive package offering more.

    Film companies currently receive a 25% rebate on goods and service expenses for most projects in New Mexico, and some TV shows get up to a 30% rebate.

    An additional 5% tax credit will be added for companies that take productions to rural areas – which means 60 miles outside the Albuquerque/Santa Fe corridor.

    There are also carve-outs for companies that commit to stay in the state for at least 10 years. This includes Netflix and NBC Universal, who both made Albuquerque a hub for production within the past year. The productions for both entities aren’t subject to the $110 million cap.

    Since Jan. 1, a total of 33 projects have been registered through the New Mexico Film Office. A 34th production, Zoe Saldana’s “Keyhole Garden,” is slated to begin filming in Albuquerque on Monday.

    In FY19, 73 projects were filmed in New Mexico; 43 had a budget of $1 million or more.

    The scale of production ranges from commercials to feature films.

    Meanwhile, the Santa Fe arts collective Meow Wolf produced five multimedia projects in April and May.

    In June, Meow Wolf CEO Vince Kadlubek said he envisions that the Meow Wolf universe will have a TV series and comic books.

    “Our hope is that over the next 10 to 20 years, the company is spoken of in the same way as Disney, Marvel, Jim Henson,” Kadlubek said in June. “These are legends of storytelling and story universes. That’s our hope, and we are putting the intention out there.”

    Netflix is currently filming “Army of the Dead” and NBC Universal has the TV series “Briarpatch” on the ground.

    Keyes said, “The key to keeping the film industry successful in the state is having diversity.”

    Part of that diversity is having partners such as Netflix and NBC Universal planting roots for at least 10 years.

    “With the New Mexico partners, they are giving us much more stability and consistency,” she said. “What we’re going to see is the direct spend in the state slowly grow. In the past, we had years that went high and then would drop off. Having the partners and bringing stability will allow us to grow in all avenues of this industry.”

    Keyes also noted that Netflix and NBC Universal have a minimum direct spend requirement, so the state knows how much both companies will be spending.

    The state also expects to attract other film industry-related projects, such as those from Meow Wolf, which include a companion app.

    “Entertainment isn’t film and TV any more,” Keyes said. “It’s also interactive media. The line between all of them is blending.”

    With the uptick in the industry, New Mexicans who moved to Georgia or Louisiana are moving back to the state.

    According to the film office, there are no fewer than 15 projects currently filming in the state. Some of those include the TV series “Roswell, New Mexico” and “Better Call Saul,” and the films “Wander” and “Half Brothers.”

    “We’re not at capacity with crew,” Keyes said. “We still have a large crew on the rollover list. We need to continue to train people and we need to get them advanced training.”

    A new Native American film program is in the works and the state is also working with educational outlets to develop more programs for students.

    “We don’t want to expand too fast and we want our New Mexicans working,” she said. “It looks like we’re going to continue to steadily grow.”

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Michigan Film Industry Association (MiFIA)
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