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Motown Becomes Movietown | The Wall Street Journal

Sep-16-2010

Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal article, read the full story here

Across the street from a landscape of vacant houses and overgrown front yards, homicide detectives gather to investigate a murder. They analyze clues and debate how best to interrogate the key witnesses. Then, the director yells “Cut!” and everyone heads to a catered lunch of shrimp scampi and beef tenderloin.

photo illustration by Mick Coulas; Brian Widdis for The Wall Street Journal

The set of the gritty cop show “Detroit 1-8-7″ is one of more than 100 film and television productions that have flocked to Michigan in the last two years, the result of generous tax rebates. Producers have spent nearly $350 million in the state so far, a figure expected to reach $650 million by year’s end, up from $2 million in 2007, according to the Michigan Film Office. About 80% of these shoots take place in and around this iconic but much-maligned city, sprinkling a little stardust, optimism and controversy along the way.

Workers who used to build cars are learning to build sets. The entertainment sector is “a lifeboat as the auto industry adapts and restructures,” says Wayne County Executive Robert A. Ficano.

Signs of activity are everywhere. Hip-looking film-school grads on bicycles run errands in an empty warehouse that once served as a Chrysler distribution center and is now a cavernous 166,000-square-foot production studio for “Detroit 1-8-7.” Sets for the show, premiering on ABC Sept. 21, include a city morgue and a homicide unit with cluttered police desks and corkboards covered with mug shots.

The dilapidated Michigan Central Station, once a transportation hub, with marbled floors and Corinthian columns, has served as a symbol of urban ruination for years. It’s now a key location for productions including “Transformers 3″ and HBO’s “Hung.” On Tuesday “Hostel: Part III” and “Vamps,” a horror-comedy with Sigourney Weaver, both shot in the city’s neo-Gothic Masonic Temple. When “Harold and Kumar 3″ finished a scene this summer that required turning a downtown street into New York City at Christmas, set designers left the fake subway entrance intact, knowing another production would soon need it.

Read the entire story in the  Wall Street Journal Article

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Film Office Director: Industry ‘booming’ in Michigan

Sep-16-2010

Michigan Film Office Director Carrie Jones believes it’s an “incredibly exciting time for Michigan.” Jones took over the position earlier this summer and hopes to “carry on the trajectory” her predecessor, Janet Lockwood, set for Michigan’s film industry.

MFO Director Carrie Jones

In 2007, when the state had what Jones calls a “baby incentive,” three films shot in Michigan, spending $2 million. The current incentives passed in April 2008, and that year 35 film productions spent $135 million. Productions spent $223 million in 2009, and the film office estimates productions this year will spend more than $300 million, Jones said.

Read the entire MLive – Business Review West article

Thousands of jobs are being created by the Michigan Film Incentives with 4,000 crew and 4,000 acting jobs for ’09 alone.
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Transformers 3 | Michigan Film

Sep-01-2010

Transformers 3 begins filming in Michigan now that its Chicago segment is completed. The movie commenced principal photography in Los Angeles in June and stars Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Hugo Weaving (“Lords of The Rings”, “The Matrix”). Director Michael Bay and Producer Steven Spielberg bring their big film budget trilogy to the streets of Detroit revisiting the locations of their successful previous shooting in this town on the original Transformers. Film also stars John Turturro, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson and will be released in 3-D.  Clearly an acknowledgement of the growing film industry in Michigan thanks to the Michigan Film Incentives of 40-42% offered by the state.  - Michigan Film Production

Michigan Film Production | The Michigan Film Source

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