Tonight, in her State of the State speech, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm will announce creation of a fully functioning movie studio to be known as the Motown Motion Picture Studios (MMPS). The $53M Pontiac, MI, project slated to be open for business in mid-2009 will be managed by L.A.-based Raleigh Studios with CEO Michael Moore (no relation to the filmmaker) in charge. I’m told that the studio will have its own film finance fund and will greenlight motion pictures. Endeavor brokered the deal and will represent the studio, while Graham Taylor, head of Endeavor’s film finance unit known as Endeavor Independent, has arranged tax credit, debt and production financing. Last year, the Michigan governor signed legislation doubling the state’s filming incentives. Paired with the state’s 2008 tax incentives for film production, this attractively positions the state and studio with Hollywood filmmakers. Of course it’s contributing to film flight from California. But I’m told its purpose is to help rein in runaway production to Canada and to create U.S. movie industry jobs.
Michael Moore’s documentary Roger and Me put Michigan on movie maps. This year, the state lured more than 60 features and made-for-TV movies, including Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino. In addition to its film finance capabilities, MMPS will boast a full spectrum of ancillary services needed by visiting production companies, and production space for lease. MMPS will be a 600,000 square foot complex located on a 23-acre parcel in Pontiac, MI. The state will provide film infrastructure tax credits to help finance the facility to include three 30,000 square foot studios, two 20,000 square foot studios, and four 12,000 square foot studios. MMPS will train the Michigan workforce to fill 3,600 new permanent full-time jobs covering all facets of the film production industry.
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