With the filming of blockbusters such as 8 Mile, The Island, and Transformers in local Detroit locations, filmmakers are discovering Detroit is a city rich with extraordinary film location possibilities. From an island park located in the heart of the city to gritty warehouses to a vibrant cultural and entertainment district, Detroit has everything that filmmakers are seeking today to make their next film project a visual success.
According to a January 2008 Detroit Free Press article, Detroit's birth as a film destination isn't just about commercial feature films. Producers of music videos, instructional DVDs, advertising, and television shows will work anywhere there's a tax payoff. Which is why, not surprisingly, a number of movies set in Detroit, including Four Brothers and Assault on Precinct 13 were shot largely in Ontario. Employing a tax-break strategy has allowed Canada to enjoy success in the film industry; provinces are competing with one another to provide filmmakers the best deals. Now, various states have begun developing their own tax-break incentives and proposals.
To compete with those states and neighboring Canada, the state of Michigan adopted tax rebates of up to 20 percent to production companies that shoot movies, television shows and commercials in the state. However, those rebates have quickly been outdone by other states offering more lucrative incentives. In response, Michigan is creating more robust incentives, in addition to extra enticements for production companies that hire Michigan-based workers instead of flying a crew from outside the state.
Places like Detroit and other parts of Michigan know the long-term economic benefits that filming locally can bring to a location. For instance, couples who have enjoyed Somewhere in Time, starring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve, are still drawn to Mackinac Island where the film was shot in 1979. And according to Free Press columnist Mitch Ablom and Michigan native and filmmaker Mike Binder, Michigan's cities, countryside, beachfront, and changing seasons are just a few of the elements that can make Michigan a preferred site for the film industry, given bigger financial incentives and other assistance to people who make movies. Detroit City's huge inventory of empty warehouse buildings could offer some exciting possibilities as sound stages.
In 2008, the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau launched Film Detroit in an effort to promote metro Detroit as a location for commercials, films, documentaries, and still photo shoots. Film Detroit is working hard to make Detroit a player in the film industry and help to diversify the state's economy.
Summer 2008 brings together those involved in the art of film -- from writer and director to cameraman and viewers -- at the Detroit Windsor International Film Festival (DWIFF). The event, which runs June 26-29, 2008, reaches to all levels and corners of the filmmaking industry, and brings it into focus to support the growth of a strong film culture. More than film festival, the event wants to create a new type of film culture, which builds on 100 years of film and looks forward into the digital future.
Attendees will be able to view a collection of indie and featured films, attend workshops, product demonstrations, listen in on industry gurus, and meet Michiganders who have found success in the entertainment world. In addition, the event will also feature talents from the music industry and artists. Detroit and Windsor offer a one-of-a-kind experience in the world of film, art and entertainment. The DWIFF is the way to see how it all comes together.
Film goers will see cinema from both sides of the camera at venues all over Detroit city, including the campuses of Wayne State University, College for Creative Studies and the University of Windsor, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Majestic Theatre, and the Charles Wright African American Museum, to name a few.
Working with other film festivals and community events around Michigan and over the border, the DWIFF encourages collaboration with the entire community, bringing together people, companies, schools, neighborhoods and other creative organizations that are doing innovative things to promote the creative talent and production resources for which Detroit has long been known.
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