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Supporters of Michigan's film incentives rally in Grand Rapids

Rally for film incentives in Grand Rapids
Lindsey Smith
Stasia Savage of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees local #26 speaks during the rally Tuesday.

About 80 people shared success stories they said are a result of the tax breaks passed two years ago.

Producers, actors, caterers, assistants, hotel owners, even personal trainers from all over west Michigan gathered to trumpet their success since the film incentives passed 2 and a half years ago.

Teresa Thome is the president of a Grand Rapids-based production company. She says job creation isn't the only benefit. "They're about creating and energy and enthusiasm of prosperity for our community. An environment that makes people want to get out of the house, to produce, to contribute. That is what we need as individuals and that is what we need as a state," Thome said. She told the crowd her Daytime Emmy-nominated children's show "Come on over" wouldn't have been possible without the tax incentives.

Jeremy Waterbury moved to Grand Rapids from Indiana to go to film school. He says he's worked on 5 films since graduating last year. "The rest of the country knows that Michigan is in terrible shape," Waterbury said, "I mean I had no reason to come here except that this incentive was bringing Hollywood here, you know, locally. I'm from the Midwest so I'm used to this lifestyle and this kind of pace of life and again just wanted to take advantage of it."

Michigan's Film Office reports the incentives created roughly 8,000 jobs for actors and crew last year.

Organizers said the event was held to coincide with Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder's visit to Grand Rapids. The Ann Arbor businessman says he would not have voted for the incentives.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station'sAmplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.