States Decide Only Tourist-Friendly Films Get Subsidies

By Tim Gomez 2010-06-15 00:12:37discussion comments
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Thankfully, not all films are made in Hollywood. Some are made in the company of the hundreds of miles of cornfields in the midwest. Others are made in more likable cities like Chicago or New York, or even more cultured cities like New Orleans. This is often made possible by the recent trend of state subsidy and incentive programs brought about to encourage studios to bring their butt loads of cash to cities that need it. But it seems these open arms won’t last forever.

The NY Times reports that some states have begun adopting a more selective approach to which kinds of productions receive public funding. And here’s the kicker: it all depends on how the movie makes the given state look. Make Michigan look bad? No dough for you. Make Michigan look tourist-friendly? Here’s a check! In fact, Michigan recently rejected director Andrew van den Houten’s request for public funds because the film “is unlikely to promote tourism in Michigan or to present or reflect Michigan in a positive light.” The flick is titled The Woman and is of the cannibalism-horror variety.

This isn’t a universal approach, though, as bigger studio productions have yet to see the same sort of backpedaling as smaller filmmakers have. In other words, Michael Bay will likely continue to get his Transformers tax credit. But Joe Schmoe Indie Director? We’ll see. However, Robert Rodriguez’s awesome-looking Machete has recently been put under a magnifying glass by Texas officials thanks to the anti-Arizona-Legislation trailer Rodriguez released last month.

States like Florida and Georgia are already taking more conservative approaches to these incentive programs, and with state budgets dwindling, it’s likely that more states will follow. If that’s the case, the lavish incentive programs that other countries offer will start to look more and more inviting. And even considering that the LOST dudes were able to make Hawaii look like Iraq and can probably make Canada look like anywhere in the United States, it’s still kind of a bummer. I guess that new script of yours better highlight your state’s amazing horticulture, or don’t expect any help making it.
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