March 1, 2011 by Andrew Schneider
As we went to press, news started to filter in that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was planning to cap the total reimbursement for that state’s film tax incentive program to a paltry $25 million. That’s way too low, even by Michigan’s standards, where one publication estimated more than $300 million would be paid out under the program in 2010 alone.
The incentive, apparently among the most generous in the entire country, was called unsustainable by several experts we interviewed in the middle of last year for our “Bust to Boom Town” cover story and special report on the state of tax incentives. Whether that was the case or not, the substantial cut of the incentives won’t mean too much for major film productions, which can always pick another state. It’s horrible news for two classes: independent film producers in Michigan and companies, many of them from neighboring states that made investments there.
While Gov. Snyder argues that an overall decrease in the business tax rate will make up the difference, I certainly believe there’s no substitute for a vigorous incentive because it captures the attention of the film business that’s highly flexible and mobile. I urge Snyder to consider other ways to make the incentive palatable to his budget, perhaps a change in the benefit structure and the rules for payout. An outright cap is a bad idea.
Now on to this issue.
Beginning again in 2011, Screen is profiling the Top Creatives Under 30. This year we have a crop of extremely talented and flexible professionals with strong resumes. The profiles begin on page 12.
Kevin Jeong covers the action at X-Dance. His story starts on page 8.
Our Extreme Close-Up section this month zeros in on Post. We have two great features, one on what pros do when they hit the render key to pass the wait and the other a survey of opinions from different segements of the business on what makes a great editor; talent or personality traits? It starts on page 18.
We have a new feature beginning this issue. It’s called Film School Confidential and is the brainchild of Kevin Jeong. A different professor will discuss the challenges of their subject and how they’re preparing their students to take their places in the industry today. The first installment, from Columbia College’s Ron Fleischer, discusses the school’s animation program. It’s on page 22.
Then the columnists.
Dan Patton offers up his latest in Revolving Door. Page 23.
Jon Slott interviews the president of AMP. Page 24.
Mike McNamara reviews production news on page 25.