Summer flew by and it was a good one for most of us in the industry. Fall has turned our attentions to strengthening our positions in our market. One good place to start is to be sure to vote and make your vote a positive one for our industry by being certain the Senators and Representatives you cast your vote for are industry and Film Tax Credit friendly.

If you are uncertain, send them an email and ask. I have done that and find I get a response. If you are a registered voter, candidates in your district are interested in you.

Here at IMAGINE our hard fought for Film Tax Credits are forever top of mind. It’s the most important item on our agenda because, as we all know, if our film tax credits ever go away – so does the expansive industry growth as we know it now.

Recently I moderated a panel at the Media Resource Expo that was held in Danvers. Representative Anne-Margaret Ferrante who represents Gloucester, Rockport and Essex; Diane Pearlman, the Executive Director of the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative and Laura Azevedo, the Executive Director of Filmmakers Collaborative made up a terrific panel. When asked how we defend film tax credits in 2017, she recommended we go on the offensive and before the budget process hits the light of day, every one of us, early in January send an email to the Governor, our State Representative and Senator explaining why the Film Tax Credits are important to you. Make it personal by telling of the opportunities it provides for you and your families, what you spend because you work in the industry that contributes to the economy of the state.

I had a discussion about just this with actors Jeanne Lohnes and Karen Ann Martino while we were celebrating my birthday at Toscano Restaurant in Harvard Square. Jeanne and Karen Ann will be writing emails for sure. Items that they spend on, in addition to day to day living are head shots (photographers, duplicators, hair and makeup stylist, wardrobe), honing their craft taking acting training classes, workshops and seminars (that keeps teachers, trainers and instructors working) organizational dues (that keeps our unions and guilds operating and investing in our production community’s health, well-being and safety) and transportation (you’ve got to get to and from auditions and set locations). There’s more, of course, give your personal message some focused thought.

Actors also hire agents, managers and PR personnel. And there’s more they all have to have perfect teeth – the dentist gets more business and on and on. It adds up and we haven’t spoken a word about the ancillary trickle down benefits for the hotel, locations, transportation, security, catering, furniture, paint, hardware, etc. that you may wish to mention in your letter of a particular business that you have noticed getting work because of our industry.

The goal here is to keep any legislation to cap or limit our Film Tax Credits from moving forward.

That was the biggest “take away” from that panel discussion and I believe it is good one! So put it on your calendar for early January that you will send three emails and your personal story to the Governor, your State Representative and Senator. I’ll be reminding you…

And speaking of putting things on your 2017 calendar, the IMAGINE Industry New Year’s Celebration & “Imaginnaire” Awards Gala will be, as always, on the second Tuesday of the New Year. That will be Tuesday, January 10, 2017. Please make a note of it.

I also attended the Western Massachusetts Exchange in Springfield, MA hosted by the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative, Executive Director Diane Pearlman and her Assistant Laura Gratz. It was a packed house and packed day featuring “How to Tell your Story Using Video.” It was billed as “A one day conference for non-profits and small businesses.” Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno was on hand for opening remarks. The remainder of the morning Jonathan Barkan, Executive Director of Communications for Learning and Diane Pearlman presented everything you need to know from Pre-Production to Post Production to create your own video. Keynote Speaker Michael Hoffman, CEO, See3 Communication emphasized How Ancient Myth Hold Keys to Video Success – the value of story. The day ended with an entertaining panel talking about the local industry resources in Western, MA and a networking cocktail party – another very full and satisfying day.

Lisa Strout, Executive Director of the Mass Film Office spoke at the Mass Media Coalition’s fall meeting at The District in the heart of Boston’s Seaport District. She spoke about the work of her office preparing local officials and businesses for working with film successfully supporting productions when they arrive in their districts, cities and towns in the Commonwealth. She was optimistic about the amount of scouting for future production landing here and the possibility of new announcements very soon.
Production has remained active all summer and looks to do so well into the end of the year. Writer/director John Stimpson has several projects in development (see COCOANUT GROVE in this issue). He will also be directing a movie based on “Stealing Rembrandts,” a book about heists of works by the Dutch Master. Stimpson will be looking at the brazen lift in 1972 of a Rembrandt (and a Paul Gauguin and a Pablo Picasso) from the Worcester Art Museum and Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, his only seascape, stolen along with other major works from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum considered to be valued at over $500 million.

SWEENEY KILLING SWEENEY, a Boston based collaborative from actor comedian Steve Sweeney, director Frank Ciota, writer/sit-down comedian Bill Baudis, and producers Dennis Serpone and Joel A. Feingold is in development to start this fall (see story in this issue) and others like another collaborative in Rhode
Island, ANDERS MANOR, spearheaded by Woodhaven Media’s producer Tom DeNucci (see the IMAGINE cover story September 2014), showcases the strength a versatility of our regional production industry.

Mike White directs Ben Stiller in BRAD’S STATUS now shooting in and around Boston. Stiller plays a father who takes his son to tour colleges on the East Coast and meets up with an old friend who makes him feel inferior about his life’s choices. Lots of sighting and lots of locals working. The film will be released by Amazon Studios.

CHAPPAQUIDDICK is filming in Ipswich, Rowley and Newburyport, Massachusetts for Martha’s Vineyard. The Director is John Curran treating Ted Kennedy’s life and political career and how it was derailed in the aftermath of a fatal car accident in 1969 that claimed the life of a young campaign worker, Mary Jo Kopechne. Jason
Clarke stars as Kennedy, and Kate Mara (House of Cards) as Kopechne. Bruce Dern will play patriarch Joseph Kennedy.

This issue is on its way to the American Film Market (AFM). I can’t say enough about it.

When you experience AFM you get incredible access to more industry players in one week than you could see all year. IMAGINE is an AFM media partner and we will be distributing thousands of copies at this event in Santa Monica.

In this edition we have assembled current “pitch articles” for as many New England movie and TV projects that we could fit in our magazine. The projects are in many different stages of development, but the one thing they have in common is that they are looking for something they can find at AFM. AFM means unlimited possibilities.

I believe you will enjoy reading these stories and start dreaming about success at AFM 2017.

Wishing you a colorful fall,

Carol Patton