Sunday, January 25, 2009

Growing Momentum to Bolster Film Incentives in Maine (click to follow link to NEFILM)

Growing Momentum to Bolster Film Incentives in Maine
Thu, 01/01/2009 - 01:00 – erin
Posted in January 2009 Local Industry Maine Massachusetts New England Reports
Blogger and film advocate Cameron Bonsey gives a personal take on the roadblocks and opportunities to attracting more film production to Maine.

By Cameron Bonsey

Maine hasn’t had a major film production since Empire Falls dropped 13.6 million into its economy in 2003, stimulating and invigorating small Maine towns like Waterville and Skowhegan.

In 2006, with the work of the Maine Film Office, the Film Commission and film industry advocates Barney Martin and myself, Maine passed its current modest incentives. Those incentives proved to be too small to make a difference and have had no impact in bringing additional productions to Maine.

Martin and I never slowed in our advocacy for film. Martin was appointed to the Film Commision by Governor Baldacci because of his yeoman’s work on the first round of incentives. But he left the commission in frustration after almost a year because he felt there was a lack of urgency and follow through in approaching potential productions for Maine and working to pass further incentives.

I started my own blog promoting Maine and the Maine film community as well as producing a video promoting Maine. My posts are now delivered to legislators, business leaders, film production companies, and everyday citizens of Maine.

In addition, Martin and I have begun a road tour of local Chambers of Commerce and municipalities to help them reach into their communities and become more film friendly.

Over the course of the last few years Martin and I have frequently spoken our minds in regard to what the Film Office and Film Commission could do to proactively promote Maine, film, and film incentives. This willingness to not only speak openly in regard to what needs to be done but also to go out and do what we felt the film office and film commission should be doing caused some acrimony.

To help bring both sides together and create a union to reach out to the Maine community as a whole Martin and I arranged a meeting on December 10th at the Maple Room in Lewiston. Inviting the Film Office, Film Commission, the Maine Film and Video Association, members of Portland Media Artists, legislators, and municipal leaders to a warm, enticing, open room designed for intimately listening to world class artists perform was integral to creating an air of openness, kindness and an exchange of ideas.

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