Michigan filmmakers on lobbying warpath

Feb. 24, 2011 at 5:34 PM

DETROIT, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Filmmakers said the $25 million Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder budgeted for industry incentives is not enough to help the industry thrive in the state.

One film project starring Helen Hunt is looking for a location with a better incentive plan, while the film "The Avengers" has already abandoned Michigan in favor of a location with a better plan, The Detroit News reported Thursday.

"One thing is clear about this governor and this Legislature: They're motivated by the numbers," said John Truscott, president of Truscott Rossman, a lobbying firm under contract with Michigan Film First.

"You have to make your case on return on investment, and that's what we're going to try to do," Truscott said.

To convince the governor to increase the allocation for the industry, Michigan filmmakers are banking on a study by Ernst & Young that says every dollar given to filmmakers comes back six-fold in economic activity generated, the newspaper said.

Last year Michigan awarded $163 million in incentives and paid out $60 million in film credits, according to the Michigan Film Office.

Kenneth Droz, a former Michigan Film Office communications manager, said $25 million was a drop in the bucket.

"That could be, literally, one movie. Two, three, five movies and you're done," he said.

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