Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Editorial wrong about filmmakers' attitudes

Editorial wrong about filmmakers' attitudes

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Cameron Bonsey 03/10/2009

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from the Kennebec Journal

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After spending three days with Mark Sennet and Mick Garris, the producer and director of the Stephen King film "Bag of Bones," which they would like to make in Maine, I was surprised to read the editorial on March 5: "Filmmakers brought their big-city attitude to the wrong state."

The editorial took the stance that Sennet and Garris were big-city wheeler dealers with cocky attitudes. It made me laugh but then made me sad that the author was trying to take a slant that will simply encourage negative assumptions in regard to the entire process.

I am a lifelong Mainer, as is my friend Barney Martin. We have rich family histories in Rumford and Surry. We happen to share a common interest in the film industry and in being the best parents that we can be.

On the night that Sennet flew in from Portugal, Barney and I picked him up at his hotel in Portland. The filmmaker's rooms and other travel expenses were donated by local businesses because the state film office and Department of Economic and Community Development have no budgets to bring producers to Maine.

Sennet was pleasant, polite and very funny. What impressed me the most was the way that he related to Martin's four children, Sydney, Colby, Peter and Jersey, when we arrived at Martin's home Sunday night.

Ten-year-old Colby immediately took a liking to Mark and started showing him horse pictures that she had drawn. Then she took him by the hand and ran upstairs to visit her goldfish. Sennet was completely in the moment with her and treated her like she was his daughter. This was my favorite moment with him.

When we met with Gov. John Baldacci, Garris made it very clear that he loves to work with students who have a passion for film and that he would be thrilled to set up an internship program for the film.

At our press conference later that day, a young man who goes to school with my son approached me to ask me if he could give me his headshot and resume to give to Garris. I assured him that if he e-mailed everything to me that I would do my best to make sure that Garris saw his information.

The young man thanked me and then I watched him walk over and sit next to the director. He asked Garris a question and they were off. Even in the middle of a long, intense day of non-stop press appointments and meetings starting at 8 a.m., Garris took the time to look the young man in the eye and answer his questions with patience, kindness and encouragement. This was my favorite moment with him.

I believe that Mainers are smart, independent and perceptive. If each of us can simply process information without some type of "old school" prejudice, we can come together and make the right decision for Maine.

Let's give the governor and legislators the information and the time they need to assess if building a high-paying industry that infuses millions into a local economy, emotionally lifts the spirits of an entire community and markets Maine for years to come, is worth implementing tax incentives that simply allow Maine to compete with neighboring states -- not try to be "Hollywood East."

With time and objective information, I believe they will make the right decision.

Cameron Bonsey is a Maine film advocate. He publishes a blog and has worked alongside Barney Martin since 2004 to bring media production to Maine.

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micilio of Palermo, ME
Mar 10, 2009 7:13 AM
The KJ's negative slant on most of these things will eventually lead to the end of once great newspaper. Their view on these filmmakers and the idea behind it was something I would expect from a sixth grader not educated abuse

James Moore of Brunswick, ME
Mar 10, 2009 12:53 AM
My take on the filmmakers' offer was that they were being up front and candid about the realities of the situation. The KJ's article was, I thought, somewhat snotty. Aside from the KJ's judgemental tone, rejecting the advantages to Mainers of accepting their offer for the silly reason advanced by the KJ strikes me as just as dumb as those Repub legislators who'd reject Obama's federal aid to their states because they don't like Obama.

But then, of course, the filmmakers weren't offering anything that would help the abuse
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