West Michigan Film Industry Task Force launched first event

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The West Michigan Film Industry Task Force brought Carrie Jones, new director of the Michigan Film Office, to Grand Rapids today to meet with the media and invited members of the community who are influential to filmmaking efforts. 

The task force is an ad hoc committee recently chartered by Grand Valley State University's Seidman College of Business, and the School of Communications in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences to determine the economic impact of productions coming to West Michigan and to promote the continued growth of the film, digital media and entertainment industry in the region.

Based on figures from the Michigan Film Office Annual Report for 2008 and 2009, and the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), West Michigan film productions spent more than $5 million in salaries, $1.6 million in goods and $2.6 million in services. To date, the more than $30 million in production budgets in 2010 already exceeds the two previous years combined. The task force promotes the Michigan tax incentives as an investment in the state's future by providing jobs to displaced workers, keeping trained talent in Michigan and attracting new business to the state. The economic impact to the area also includes purchasing everything from accounting services and car rentals, to clothing, trash removal and hotel accommodations.

Task force member and co-chair Deb Havens, from the West Michigan Film Video Alliance, said new production projects can lead to building infrastructure in Michigan similar to Louisiana, where last year a half-billion dollars in business was generated from the digital entertainment industry. "If people will embrace what Michigan can do with this new industry, what it can become, our possibilities for jobs and new business are unlimited," said Havens.

For more information contact task force co-chairs Kim Roberts, associate professor in the GVSU School of Communications, at robertsk@gvsu.edu; Deb Havens, chair, Board of Directors, West Michigan Film Video Alliance, at debhavens@att.net; or Dick Rolfe, Co-founder and CEO, the Dove Foundation, at drolfe@dove.org.