Sen. Adam Hollier
Detroit is known for many things; cars, music, fashion. However, film is rarely mentioned as notable for the city. The state was proactive In April 2008, when it signed into law the Michigan Film and Digital Media Incentive credit. Meant to attract film productions to the state while also creating jobs and helping to develop Michigan’s film industry the bill did its job. But the once buzzing film scene has since been silenced. Since its end in 2015, Detroit’s movie scene and film incentives have been all but non-existent. Some new changes could bring a once-thriving industry back.
Sen. Adam Hollier who represents the 2nd district is looking to help bring the film industry back to Michigan. During its reign, Michigan’s film incentive was one of the best in the country. Offering production companies a 30-42 percent tax credit for all qualifying production expenses gained during any phase of production for films and television projects produced in Michigan, the film industry helped to employ more than 5,300 residents in 2009 and more than 5,600 the following year. With positions available for actors, producers, crew members and others, more than $42.8 million dollars in wages were paid out in 2009 alone.
“I do have a love for film, but more pushing in that, I have a love for economic development. I want people to be able to work and I want people to be able to do the thing that they love and for that to make sense,” says Sen. Hollier. “When we talk about a film incentive, 40 of the 50 states have film incentives because that’s what it takes to make this business work and Michigan is a great state [in which] to make films.”
Detroit has been the set for many major box office hits. Movies such as “8 Mile,” “Dreamgirls,” “Gran Torino” and most recently the 2017 film based on the 1967 riots called “Detroit,” have all been set and filmed in the Motor City.
“For a few years Michigan was the Hollywood of the Midwest, and during that time many Michiganders were able to see some legendary films created in their own backyard,” says Sen. Hollier. “Not only are movies great marketing opportunities for promoting our state, but they also bring a lot of revenue to our small businesses and create jobs.”
The Michigan Film Industry Association, together with a work group Sen. Hollier helped to establish, have begun having conversations with key stakeholders like local chambers of commerce and small business owners in an effort to test the waters. The group is looking to see what potential credits would be supported and fresh ideas on how to bring Hollywood back to the mitten.
“I’m proud to lead a bipartisan work group as we talk to key stakeholders to get the film industry back into our state,” says Sen. Hollier. “We have a chance to generate a lot of tax revenue, so I hope my legislative colleagues will be supportive of this effort and listen to our recommendations.”
In 2020, State Rep. Robert Wittenber introduced House Bills that would help create and establish new tax credits for media production in the state. Affecting commercials, film, television and streaming productions produced in Michigan, the House Bills include items such as a 30 percent tax credit for production companies who hire Michigan residents and 20 percent for non-residents, a base credit of 25 percent with room to grow, and various time and financial commitments on behalf of the production company. The new legislation would also allow for transferable tax credits rather than rebates with hopes of encouraging investors and businesses to choose local hires, rentals and facilities.
For those interested in participating or providing feedback to the work group, contact the senator’s office via email at email@example.com or call (517) 373-7748 for more information.