Sunday, March 16, 2008

From Republican to Democrat, Maine is ready for “The Next Generation” of Film Incentives

I watched the January 31st broadcast of the Fox Morning News with great interest. Jonathan Frakes, Cmdr. William Riker on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and a Belfast resident, was being interviewed by Ray Richardson in regard to the potential positive impact that additional film incentives can have on the struggling Maine economy.

During the interview Ted Talbot points out that Ray Richardson endorsed Chandler Woodcock for Governor, Jonathan jokingly stands up like he is going to leave and yells “Are you kidding me?” At the same time Ray points out that Jonathan was raised as an Adlai Stevenson, liberal Democrat. They both laugh and get back to talking about film incentives and how they can have a positive impact on everyone in the State of Maine regardless of your political leanings.

I encourage all of you to follow the link below and watch the 4 part interview. It is interesting, funny and informative:;jsessionid=24DE6AC8FB677F12D6855C173984FC5E?contentId=5640198&version=3&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1

Secondly, I have enclosed a link to an interview with Stephen Bowen, of the Maine Heritage Policy Center and a former legislator, who explains the state budgeting difficulty in passing further film incentives and his thoughts that the Film Office and the Department of Economic Commerce and Development are not effective. He feels that the DECD should be completely cut from the state’s budget:;jsessionid=022747221791F0E14CA76A3EBE701C74?contentId=5873096&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1

In 2007 one hundred and two film, television and photo projects were produced or partially produced in Maine. None of them were large enough to qualify for our current incentives and they would not be large enough for the potential future incentives that are designed to bring large scale projects to Maine.

If we lose the Film Office and the DECD what will the impact be in attracting these small to mid-level projects?

An interview I did with Scott Paddor from the Scripps show “If These Walls Could Talk” that shot in Maine in 2007, gives us a sense of what the impact would be. “A handful of newspapers and local chambers did play a big role connecting us with the historic homes we filmed,” wrote Scott. “Those include The Bangor Daily News, The Gray Newspaper as well as the Camden Chamber, Freeport Chamber, and Yarmouth Chamber.”

I asked him “Did the Maine Film office assist your efforts and to what degree?” he wrote back, “No, but the newspapers and chambers I mentioned assisted us in finding homes to film.”

As Scott points out, it was the communities and the local businesses that made his project successful. This is an empowering statement because we all can impact the economy in a positive way when it comes to attracting film and television productions.

I encourage each of you to talk to your legislator. I would also be pleased to talk with anyone who would like to get involved in the effort to pass additional film incentives. You can simply email me at

If we all work together on “The Next Generation” of film incentives we can have a profound, positive impact on the State of Maine’s economy in the mist of tough economic times.

That is the type of legacy we could be proud of leaving to our children.