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Stateside: Watkins' critique of Michigan's film plan

On the Detroit set of Paramount Pictures’ "Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon."
Robert Zuckerman
Michigan Film Office

Stateside continues its look at Michigan's film industry.

Yesterday, we spoke with a Michigan actor who found that film producers, by and large, headed to other states when Michigan's film subsidies were dramatically cut.

We also heard from the outgoing director of the Michigan Film Office, who points to the $58 million in available tax subsidies for fiscal 2013, and promises that movies can and will be made in our state.

Today, Cyndy spoke with Scott Watkins, senior analyst with Anderson Economic Group.

Watkins was vocal in his critique of the Michigan’s film incentives. He argued they were unsustainable.

“Well, I think the goal to diversify and attract new industry is an attractive goal. But at the end of the day you have ask what is being sacrificed to meet that goal,” said Watkins.

According to Watkins, the film tax incentives did not make sense.

“It was set up in an unsustainable fashion and was taking too much money to invest in short-term employment within the state,” said Watkins. 


Supporters of the incentive say that if the incentive had more time, the infrastructure would have been created to keep the productions in Michigan. With a dubious eye, however, Watkins looked at Hollywood for a counterexample.

“That didn’t work in California despite all the assets they had there. At the end of the day the jobs go where the greatest incentive is, regardless of how sustainable that level of incentive is,” said Watkins.

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