GHOST LIGHT Premieres at LA Film Festival

John Stimpson, writer, producer, director, editor and more seen everywhere now.

We just never know what subject or story John Stimpson will be taking up next. He crosses genres from the dark to the light with engaging stories that he makes right here in Massachusetts. Currently he is one of our most prolific filmmakers pushing out movies about once a year. Movies that get picked up and that get seen.

GHOST LIGHT, John Stimpson’s haunted comedy about a misfit Shakespearean troupe who unleashes the notorious curse of Macbeth, premiered at the LA Film Festival September 22nd. The film is repped by CAA and the filmmakers have high hopes for a good sale coming out of the premiere.

Written and produced by Stimpson and veteran producer, Geoffrey Taylor under the Worcester based H9 Films shingle, the film was shot last fall in Groton and Concord. “It’s a Massachusetts film through and through,” said Stimpson. The story takes place in the Berkshires, and had a crew entirely based out of New England. Key collaborators included Director of Photography Terrence
Hayes, Production Designer Chad Detwiller, Costume Designer Joanna Murphy, UPM Luke Ramsey and composer Ed Grenga.

The film stars Roger Bart (THE PRODUCERS, A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS), Tom Riley (Da Vinci’s Demons, Dark Heart), Shannyn Sossamon (SLEEPY HOLLOW, A KNIGHT’S TALE), Danielle Campbell (THE
ORIGINALS, FAMOUS IN LOVE), Scott Adsit (30 Rock, BIG HERO 6), Carol Kan (UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT, TAXI), and Cary Elwes (THE PRINCESS BRIDE, ROBIN HOOD MEN IN TIGHTS). GHOST LIGHT is the first film Elwes and Carol Kane have appeared in together since THE PRINCESS BRIDE.

The film also stars several local actors including, Caroline Portu, Alex Portenko, Liliane Klein, Zele Avradopoulos, Ken Cheeseman, Maureen Keiller and Mary Callanan. Julie Arvedon Knowlton of Slate Casting handled the local casting.

GHOST LIGHT centers around the crazy superstitions of the theatre,” said Stimpson. When a disgruntled understudy (Tom Riley) throws caution to the wind and deliberately utters the forbidden name of the “Scottish Play” on stage the curse of the Bard’s witches begins to reveal itself and the production falls further and further into chaos. “We may have been tempting fate ourselves,” Stimpson explains. “Carol Kane was very concerned that we were in fact saying the name of the play repeatedly during our shooting. I convinced her that our set was actually a converted barn and not a theatre which made us immune to the curse.” Kane plays, Madeline Styne the troupe’s Grande Dame. “She is an absolute treasure and a comic genius. What a joy she was to work with,” commented Stimpson.

Roger Bart and Stimpson go way back. They sang in a bar on Martha’s Vineyard together when they were in college. Bart won a Tony award for his portrayal of Snoopy in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” and is
also known for singing the role of Hercules in the 1997 Disney fi lm. “I reached out to Roger first. I thought he’d be wonderful in the role of Henry Asquith, the long suffering director of Shakespeare on Wheels,” said Stimpson. “I knew back in the 80’s at the Seafood Shanty in Edgartown that Roger had something special. It’s been so fun to follow his career from afar and now to finally have the chance to work together.”

Stimpson and co-writer and producer GeoffTaylor began the process of bringing GHOST LIGHT to the screen over two years ago. Talking about projects at a Red Sox game, Stimpson pitched the idea for GHOST LIGHT to Taylor and the partnership was launched. Taylor who produced many projects with Paul Mazursky including DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS and MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON, moved back from Los Angeles to Concord, MA to raise his family in 2011.

Post production on the film was all done locally as well. Stimpson cut the film in his Worcester office, special effects (of which there are many) were done by Sandbox VFX in Pittsfield, Chris Anderson mixed at The Outpost at WGBH and Rob Bessette color timed the fi lm at Finish. “What a great
collaboration it was,” says Stimpson. “And a great example of a local project born and bred here in Massachusetts and made possible by the Mass Film Tax Credit.”

Congratulations to John and the GHOST LIGHT team (cast and crew) for the film’s acceptance at the LA Film Festival. And, just added before we go to press at the Woodstock Film Festivals where tickets are
on sale.

Now we’ll be waiting to fi nd out what will John Stimpson, a valued and treasured Massachusetts filmmaker, be producing next.

For more information visit www.h9films and www.ghostlightmovie.com. See the GHOST LIGHT trailer below.

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Film Tax Credits Working in Quincy

The City of Quincy, Massachusetts is known as “The City of Presidents” because founding father and second President of the United States John Adams and his eponymous son President John Quincy Adams lived here. John Hancock, a Quincy resident, successful merchant and a President of the Continental Congress was the first and most robust signatory to the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration is considered one of the finest documents ever penned by the hand of man. He went on to lead the free Commonwealth as its first Governor.

This City of one hundred thousand proud current residents has quite the birthright and deserves to be in the spotlight of American attention. When men such as Adams and Hancock pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor it was not a light or trivial concern. Quincy is one of the building blocks of American success. Literally; the granite in their quarries was used to build our cities and Quincy citizens transported that rock on the Granite Railway. This granite was
transported to build, for example, the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. This was our nation’s first commercial railroad with access to the sea. Quincy also played a significant historical role in American shipbuilding at the Fore River Shipyard on Quincy Point.

Massachusetts own Academy Award winning Chris Cooper as Phil Woodward in THE COMPANY MEN. Scenes were shot in Quincy. Photo by Claire Folger 2010 / Weinstein Co.

Placing this City in the limelight again to remind the rest of America of its importance is a worthwhile endeavor.

The Massachusetts Film Tax Credit helped bring more than six major motion pictures to this worthy American City in recent years and there are more on the way. The Quincy delegation representing the City on Beacon Hill has been unanimous in unwavering support for the credits and these efforts over many years have paid off for residents and business owners alike on the south shore. We owe a debt of gratitude to House Majority Leader Ron Mariano, Representative Bruce Ayers, Representative Tackey Chan, and Senator John Keenan.

“For the last ten years Quincy has done a wonderful job creating a brand for its city and when a movie comes to town it just gets that much better.” – Owner of the Fore River Shipyard Dan Quirk

The Quincy Chamber of Commerce was an early supporter of the credits working with Mayor Koch. Mark Carey serves Media Communications in the mayor’s office. A working film professional, Mark facilitates filming in Quincy. They all have had success creating jobs for Quincy and boosting
the regional economy. The new Chamber President, Tim Cahill, is equally enthusiastic.

THE BOX stars Cameron Diaz who is presented with the opportunity to open a box for a million dollars — knowing it’ll cause someone she doesn’t know to die. A supermarket on Sea Street was used for a dream sequence. AP Photo/Warner Bros.
The production industry is currently our country’s largest net export to the world. No more fitting a place to expand than where it all began. The modern day owner of the Fore River Shipyard mentioned in Quincy’s illustrious past is a proponent of filmmaking and the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit. As a successful Auto Dealer on the South Shore with fifteen and counting dealerships, he is helping to develop the Bay State’s infrastructure for filmmaking.

Dan Quirk of Quirk automotive has a successful slogan for his businesses, “Quirk Works” to save you money. Outside his office is a sign stating, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” The fact that more than six major motion pictures were shot here is not luck. It is a testament to the hard work of the elected delegation, residents and business leaders working together to make Quincy a film friendly environment.

My visit to Quirk Chevrolet to interview the auto magnate Daniel J Quirk. How did they get that pristine 1958 Corvette into his second floor office? An IMAGINE Photo.

Many major studio productions have found locations in the Quincy area including Martin Scorsese’s THE DEPARTED, the 2006 Oscar winning movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson and featured the underbelly of the Irish Mafia. Nicholson’s character was assassinated in a scene at the Fore River Shipyard recalls the shipyard owner and Quirk Auto magnet Danial J. Quirk. He said, “I was amazed how many people, including my own two daughters, who stood in the rain and the dark to watch the scene shot overnight just to get a glimpse of Matt Damon.

THE DEPARTED, the 2006 Oscar winning movie starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson. Some scenes
from the movie were filmed in Quincy in the Fore River Shipyard, one where Jack
Nicholson’s character was assassinated. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Warner Bros.

“People are in love with the film industry,” he says. Quirk believes Film Tax Credits are a small investment to pay for the millions that are spent in our local communities. For example, Dorothy Aufiero’s THE FINEST HOURS spent fourteen months in Quincy and put a crew of 150 local contractors and construction specialists to work for the full fourteen months.

“There’s no better way to grow the brand of your own community. For the last ten years Quincy has done a wonderful job creating a brand for its city and when a movie comes to town it just gets that much better. Whether it’s catering, construction, equipment rental – we rent them trucks and cars. And the film people are great to do business with.” adds, Quirk.

Quirk’s Fore River Shipyard is just completing new construction in the Shipyard that includes a warehouse that will be large enough for location sets.

In addition to THE DEPARTED and THE FINEST HOURS written by local luminary Casey Sherman, Ben Affleck located scenes for THE COMPANY MEN, starring our own Oscar winning Kingston resident Chris Cooper, in Quincy. Kevin James filmed HERE COMES THE BOOM all around Boston including scenes in Quincy. GONE BABY GONE, The Oscar nominated film — starring Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Casey Affleck — used scenes from the Quincy quarries as two Boston detectives investigate the kidnapping of a young girl. The movie is based on Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name.

THE BOX shot in 2009 stars Cameron Diaz who is presented with the opportunity to open a box for a million dollars — knowing it’ll cause someone she doesn’t know to die. The movie focuses around the struggle whether or not to open the box. A supermarket on Sea Street, The Adams Shore Supermarket near Houghs Neck, was used for a dream sequence.

Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey star in the 2008 movie about six MIT students that partner together with their professor to become
expert card counters and try to take down Vegas. The true story filmed scenes in the Quincy Center train station. Photo courtesy of image link.

Business leader Dan Quirk has the aforementioned sign with his adage, which you can’t miss when entering his private office, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” The fact that over a half-dozen major motion pictures were shot here took hard work. Film Tax Credits are working for Quincy.

This great American city earned and deserves the spotlight. Keep shooting in Quincy. Keep Shooting in Massachusetts. Keep shooting in New England. There is much more to come.

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MA Film Tax Credits Intact! Express Your Gratitude

Carol with Senator Sal DiDomenico

Big day today for our industry as Film Tax Credits remain intact through the budget reconciliation process. I believe Governor Baker will sign what the Legislature delivers to his desk on our issue.

We must go way, out of our way, to thank our legislators who supported us, especially those on the Committee of Conference who seriously worked overtime and with results in our favor.

I want to personally thank Senator Sal DiDomenico from the critically important committee tasked with resolving difference between House and Senate budget proposals. I met with him last week in behalf of our industry and he told me this was a serious challenge, much more so than in the past.

He is a big supporter of our industry and I know he fought for the economic development we have fostered for the cities and towns of Massachusetts while we’ve created an industry befitting our region’s high tech prowess and creative talents. Send him a note of thanks: Sal.DiDomenico@Masenate.gov.

There are so many legislators to thank; be sure you thank yours.

I do want to reiterate, “we dodged a bullet today!” Amendment #38 was a serious assault. It overwhelmed me when 23 Senators of 38 (2 vacancies for election open) stood against our interests in a vote for Amendment #38. Only nine Senators stood for us.

We have much work to do and must get started ASAP.

I’ll have more on what we can do to hopefully stave off future assaults on our Film Tax Credits in my Take Two coming to you next week.

Expressing my gratitude,

Carol Patton

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An Update on the Budget: Conferees Named today that will reconcile the Senate and House Budgets

A State Capitol brief today announced “There were no surprises Thursday as the House and Senate named six members to come up with a consensus state budget. The budget, which is due by July 1, will be hashed out by a conference committee chaired by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill and Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka of Ashland. They will be joined by Ways and Means vice chairs Rep. Stephen Kulik of Worthington and Sen. Sal DiDomenico of Everett. Sen. Vinny deMacedo of Plymouth and Rep. Todd Smola of Warren will serve as Republican conference members.

This committee will decide to keep or not keep Senate Amendment #38 in the 2018 Fiscal Budget. The amendment literally guts our Massachusetts Film Tax Credits. Along with us, Hollywood will be watching this committee and its final say about Senate Amendment #38.

We have to keep our fingers crossed and no matter the results of this conferencing committee, we need to acknowledge that we have much work ahead of us on Beacon Hill.

For more information, read this month’s Take Two here on Imaginenews.com

My best regards,

Carol Patton

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About our 200th Issue

We have two icons on our cover. Both are musicians. One plays the harmonica and one plays the Saxophone. They are natural born music brothers, but, the first time they played together was for the celebration of IMAGINE Magazine’s 200th Edition and our 19th Birthday Celebration.

When blues legend James Montgomery plays the harmonica, he “brings it on home”. Whether it’s recording with Kid Rock, sitting in with Gregg Allman, or fronting his hot band of thirty years, Montgomery plays with authority. While growing up in Detroit he learned first-hand from the masters – James Cotton, John Lee Hooker, and Jr. Wells – at the legendary “Chessmate.” Over the years, he’s carried on in the tradition and continues to be a vital presence in Blues as one of the most dynamic performers on the scene. And he
belongs to us – New Englanders and we see him as one of the most generous and supportive famous people in our region.

In addition to playing a mean Saxophone, Don Packer is the Senior Editor and Coowner
of Engine Room, Brewhouse VFX and Conductor Productions. He is also a past President of the Massachusetts Production Coalition and a current member of its board. We see him as one of IMAGINE’s and our industry’s most avid supporters. In IMAGINE’s early years of getting Film Tax Credits into the legislative consciousness and then passed in Massachusetts, he would take the time to visit the State House with us to call on our legislators and explain what our industry had to offer the Commonwealth. He was also there from the beginning to support key legislators directly at events in their honor.

Mixing Don Packer and James Montgomery for this celebration was brilliant. We shot our cover photo in the Flag Building on Berkeley Street where Don Packer’s industry businesses reside. It is a beautiful building with a great history and seemed perfect for this photo assignment.

Our cover photo was captured by Carolyn Ross of Carolyn Ross Photography. And our Cover design is by IMAGINE’s Design Editor Monique Walton.

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New Production Partnering Generated by Massachusetts Film Tax Credits

By Elaine Grey

Dennis and Joel Talk Film Tax Credits

IMAGINE Publisher Carol Patton & SAG actor/Director Elaine Grey at the Beat Brasserie in Harvard Square. An IMAGINE Photo.

Recently, in this New Year, I arranged a brainstorming luncheon with IMAGINE Publisher, Carol Patton, where we met with Producer/Entrepreneur, Dennis Serpone and Producer/Talent Agent, Joel Feingold to discuss one of their new business ventures, the movie, SWEENEY KILLING SWEENEY. Topics we covered included financing, distribution, and most importantly, the impact that the MA Film Tax Credits have on new projects, how they work, and how they boost our economy. Clearly the MA 25% Film Tax Credit is playing a role in the success of this particular movie project.

Last year (2016), at the annual “Imaginnaire” Awards Gala, I had the pleasure of introducing Joel Feingold to Dennis Serpone, who I knew was looking for a connection to a project to invest in, or one that was in the development process.

Since Joel was already involved in a number of projects, I put my matchmaking instincts to work, and put them together. I was happy to learn that they hit it off, and are now collaborating on the hilarious-comedic lm, SWEENEY KILLING SWEENEY starring celebrity-actor/comedian, Steve Sweeney.

Within days of the luncheon, I decided to ask each of them the following questions, and asked them to put their answers into their own words.

1. What (bio-synopsis-snapshot) can you tell me about yourself?
2. In your own words, How did you both meet, and what is your relationship today regarding the new Production Company you formed, projects, and of course, SWEENEY KILLING SWEENEY?
3. How important are the MA Film Tax Credits to your ventures, including SWEENEY KILLING SWEENEY?

Here are their numbered responses:

Dennis Serpone (In his own words):

1. As a chronic entrepreneur, I’m keenly aware of opportunities that make life more rewarding. I’ve gone from engineer to restaurateur businessman, from hospitality real estate broker and developer to investor relations. Much like the theme of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, our life’s experiences bring us to a pinnacle. Today is the summation of my life’s experiences working with Steve Sweeney and his team to produce his much anticipated comedy feature lm SWEENEY KILLING SWEENEY.
2. The expression, ‘nothing happens by accident’ is very appropriate in this case. I was invited by a mutual friend to the NEWPORTANT ‘wrap party’ in Newport, RI a couple of years ago, where I met Elaine Grey. Elaine subsequently invited me to one of Carol Patton’s IMAGINE’s “Imaginnaire” Awards Galas where Elaine introduced me to producer/agent Joel Feingold. Joel then
introduced me to Steve Sweeney and Keith Dorrington. My involvement in SWEENEY KILLING SWEENEY is the result.
In subsequent conversation with Keith, he became interested in my family’s house ipping efforts on Cape Cod and saw it as a reality TV Show, Flipping Cape Cod. “Improving the face of Cape Cod one house at a time.”
3. Because of the nature of independent lm making, generating investor interest and financial commitment is a daunting task. In the case of SWEENEY KILLING SWEENEY, having tax credits is an important addition to the benefits our investors receive for participating.

Joel Feinberg (In his own words):

1. I started my career in the industry as an agent and manager representing “baby” rock bands. This led inexorably to founding my own agency which I ran for about twelve years. I had fallen into producing shows for private clients and this work was both pro table plus my background as a television cameraman, general studio hand, and my good education made it a good t. I took a break from representing talent for over a decade and focused on producing private shows of all types. During this time period I also made my rst foray into the world of Broadway, attempting to mount a show. About three years ago I decided to return to my passion, working with artists, and now represent nine actors, comedians and writers, as well as their projects.

2. Dennis Serpone and I met at the 2016 “Imaginnaire” Awards sponsored by Carol Patton’s IMAGINE Magazine. Director Elaine Grey was kind enough to introduce us as she knew that I was starting to work on funding for a lm, SWEENEY KILLING SWEENEY, which stars my client Steve Sweeney. The timing was great as Dennis was looking for a project to work on as well, from the funding side. My interest in promoting Steve’s career and Dennis’ interest to become a producer coincided and we built a strong yet still flexible relationship to collaborate on SWEENEY KILLING SWEENEY.

3. The Massachusetts Film Tax Credit is a very important part of the package which we present to potential investors. Even at a small level, let alone that of a major Hollywood production, the credits improve the nancial projections for an investor. Putting money into a motion picture or television pilot is risky, and so the impact of the Film Tax Credit is a mitigating factor. It’s clear that the level of impact is crucial: Below a certain amount and there is a drop off of participation as projects go elsewhere and regional investors lean toward other options.

From a broader perspective, I believe that the ecosystem supported by the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit is very beneficial to our overall social and economic environment. It’s nearly impossible to measure the increase in tourism and goodwill created by the many motion pictures and television shows lmed and set in Massachusetts. But it surely exists. And the work, folks able to function as creatives, make our lives richer every day.

It is fascinating to watch this collaboration grow, and to see how support for this project is taking a life of its own. It will be interesting to follow how the MA Film Tax credits work for them and how Massachusetts will benefit from their contribution. I look forward to seeing what the future brings for these talented and amazing Entrepreneurs, Dennis Serpone and Joel Feingold.
Dennis can be reached at: Dserpone@comcast.net and Joel can be reached at: www.joelfeingoldpresents.com

Elaine Grey is a SAG actor, director, writer and producer, who has been working on lms since her graduation from Harvard University in 2006. She resides in Watertown MA with her husband, Daniel. Last year she directed two short lms, LATE and COFFEE TALK. Elaine was the original founder and driving force for the development of Watertown’s Center for the Arts, located at the Watertown Arsenal. Elaine is on Facebook and can be reached at: Evgrey@aol.com.

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The Importance and Impact of Film Tax Credits

By Carol Patton

Late last year I hosted a panel at the Media Resource Expo in Danvers, Massachusetts at the annual Media Resource Expo with extraordinary panelists Representative Ann- Margaret Ferrante, Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative Executive Director Diane Pearlman and Filmmakers Collaborative Executive Director Laura Azevedo.

Our topic was The Importance of Film Tax Credits and How to Defend Them in 2017. The major take-away from this panel discussion was suggested by Representative Ann- Margaret Ferrante and that is to not wait until the legislative season began to remind our elected legislators and the Governor’s Of ce how important MA Film Tax Credits are to each and every one of us. And to tell our own individual stories.

In December IMAGINE called for a letter writing campaign to begin early in the year doing just that before the Governor gave his State of the Commonwealth Address and before he prepared his budget.

After two years of literally everyone in the industry responding to the Governor’s rst try at eliminating our credits altogether in favor of earned income tax credits for the working poor, and then his second year in of ce trying to limit our credits severely by capping them, no one was quite sure of what to expect this third year. Would he be thinking “third time is a charm” or perhaps realize the merit and strength of the production community. Letters were sent.

Meanwhile, there has been no mention of MA Film Tax Credits in the Governor’s State of the Commonwealth address, nor are our Film Tax Credits mentioned in the Governor’s proposed budget.

certified cleaning company film set cleaners MA
Tom Derian, President of Certified Cleaning at Film Set Day. His poster says it all. An IMAGINE Photo.

In our industry’s favor on February 16, 2017 the Massachusetts Production Coalition (MPC) sponsored “Film Set Day” in the Great Hall of the MA State House for the express purpose of recreating the execution of a major motion picture production from pre-production, scouting locations, set construction, set decoration, art and costume departments, casting, stunts, shooting, crew, catering, stages and staging, all the way to post-production and special effects. This process effectively demonstrated to legislators and their staff the entire process and showed how many ancillary businesses and tradesmen are actually essential to the business. Yes, everything from lumber and paint companies to talent trailers, mobile restrooms and waste management.

Many new jobs and businesses have incubated in Massachusetts since we passed lm tax credits in 2005; there were no catering companies in the state that catered to motion picture sets. Productions brought their caterers in from LA and New York – these huge trailers that could house their operations and feed the crews two meals a day. This practice greatly increased production costs. That production need alone created both challenge and opportunity for local caterers to create on set catering businesses for themselves.

On Film Set Day, Dolce Catering fed the legislators and their staffs as if they were on the set of a major motion picture. Later I spoke to Jessica Halloran of Dolce Catering. She was there, ‘It was a great event and awesome turnout supporting the industry,” she enthusiastically said.

“The Film Tax Credits are vital to sustain and grow the production industry in Massachusetts. It’s reassuring to meet legislators that support them and comprehend the development process necessary to establish a new industry in the Commonwealth. It’s important to businesses like Dolce Catering to know that there are people on our side interested in establishing the production industry as a permanent xture and source of revenue like it is in New York City. As you’ve seen here today, we have the resources to make that happen.”

Terie Michon
Cape Cod Real Estate Broker, Terie Michon
combines her vast knowledge of the Cape and
her love of film to create MakeAMovieHere.com, a concierge services company for studios, major producers and independent filmmakers. Photo courtesy of Terie Michon.

Terie Michon, who is a longtime resident and realtor on Cape Cod, is transferring her knowledge and expertise into a “concierge” service for the beautiful area she lives in, which she happens to know like that back of her hand. Her “MakeAMovieHere.com” offers studios, major producers and independent filmmakers Transportation-Air, Land or Sea; Location Scouting, Location Negotiation and Acquisition; Permitting; Accommodations for cast and crew, as well as catering, marine services for large and small vessels (including Captains and Crew), Cleaning/Housekeeping, Nannies and Child Care, Lawn/Landscaping, Hauling, Masonry, Painting, Carpentry – if you need it on The Cape, Terie will arrange it for you.

There are big time beneficiaries of production industry, too, like the transportation and accommodations sector. The state of Massachusetts prospers when studio Films are on location in the area, and the benefits touch a wide range of businesses and organizations. Within this is the luxury hospitality industry, showing a significant growth in the entertainment segment following the initiation of the film tax incentive in the state. Four Seasons Boston, the premiere luxury hotel in the city, spoke with IMAGINE about the beneficial impact the tax incentive has had on their business specifically.

Four Seasons Boston Presidential Suite

Four Seasons Boston MA
Four Seasons Boston Director of Sales Jason Bossenberry. Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Boston.

Director of Sales at Four Seasons Boston, Jason Bossenberry, shared that the entertainment segment of business received at his Hotel has increased by more than 90% over the past several years. Though this is not all related to lm (music and sports also fall within this sector), a signi cant portion of the increase can be assigned to feature film production.

Four Seasons maintains a strict code of confidentiality for their guests, creating a particularly attractive environment for high pro le individuals in the industry. “As a luxury hotel, we often have an opportunity to host the Talent, Directors, and Producers for long term stays,” says Bossenberry. “We operate with the highest levels of discretion, which is attractive for these individuals while they’re in town. We also have seventy-seven Suites, significantly more than most properties, allowing us to guarantee a larger, luxury environment and make guests feel like they have a true home away from home during their time in Boston.”

Even Entertainment Attorneys get more work. Elaine Rogers, Entertainment Attorney at Meister, Seelig & Fein LLP says, “I represent Jeff Bauman (Boston Marathon survivor and double amputee) with regards to his book “Stronger” and option/purchase of the book rights for the upcoming Lionsgate movie STRONGER starring Jake Gyllenhaal which was lmed in the Commonwealth. I have found that this lm and other productions coming to the Commonwealth have provided additional opportunities for local talent. From my perspective, the attractive tax incentives have certainly contributed to the increase in entertainment business here in the Commonwealth.

Noah Lydiard, Conductor Productions co- owner and executive producer adds, “We are seeing more commercial and lm work come in from out of state since the addition of the tax credit. We’re pulling in jobs from California and New York. At least part of the reason they are here is our ability to keep our prices competitive by utilizing the tax credit. These are jobs that might not be here otherwise.”

Perhaps the Governor has noted that in ten years Massachusetts has hosted 170 Major Productions, which have been shot in 190 cities and towns spending more than $2 billion in our state while creating 14,500 new jobs with an average salary of $67,000.

Perhaps someone told him that in 2016 background artists, known as Extras, worked over 11,000 days on Massachusetts based productions averaging $320 a day and that Day Players, actors with speaking lines, had their best year ever. Over 400 were hired at $1000 per day. And there will be residuals paid in perpetuity – paying taxes to the Commonwealth in perpetuity.

Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante offered this comment to IMAGINE, “I am encouraged that Governor Baker has relented in his efforts to eliminate the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit. Numerous initiatives and brie ngs have done an effective job explaining the bene ts of the Film Tax Credit, such as job creation and support for so many small businesses,”
Our economic engine is roaring.

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Florida Film Tax Credit Goes Away!

By Richard DeAgazio

Richard DeAgazio
Richard DeAgazio
Another battle by the US film industry has come to a close. Florida’s Film Tax Credit has been around since the program was created in 2004 has been allowed to sunset by the Florida Legislature. This incentive was created to provide rebates to approved films, TV shows and other projects to be made in Florida.

Historically it has been a success for the state. Following the blockbuster TV series Miami Vice, the Florida legislature recognized the collateral benefits for the state. Not only the economic benefit of the jobs created by the production, but more the public relations aspects that created a major boost for tourism.

As the 2016 Legislative session came to a close recently, the existing Entertainment Industry Financial Program was allowed to sunset after the Herculean efforts of the in state movie industry efforts failed to pass an extension or get a new bill. The industry has been working for four years to convince members of the legislature to support a program that has numerous benefits, including job creation, economic development, and proven increases to tourism.

The Florida’s Movie industry has worked tirelessly to convince legislators that this tax incentive should be continued. The same battle is going on in other states most notably Massachusetts. In both states, the industry has developed highly trained professionals who deserve to be supported by their elected representatives in their efforts to build a serious entertainment infrastructure.

In the last three years, more than $650 million in projects has been lost. These projects would have created over 110,000 hotel nights and an estimated $1.8 billion in economic impact for the State of Florida. Not to mention that the skyline, familiar venues and buildings appearing on TV and the big screen to showcase the state to entice tourists to come and visit.

Florida also is a center for education with more than thirty colleges and universities offering degree programs in media, filmmaking and other associated skills. It is estimated that over 5,000 students graduate each year with these industry degrees.

In the same vein, Massachusetts has similar statistics to back up their case. Over the past 10 years 99 major motion pictures have been produced in the Commonwealth.

The success of the Film Tax Credit in the past has created a skilled work force that will be hard pressed to utilize their craft and skills in other industries. That creates unemployment and other economic distress. Many will move to more fertile ground.

The effect of the mere discussion of Tax Credit incentive change has ensured that families and businesses will continue to face a worsening crisis in which jobs and projects will flow to competing states. Massachusetts industry participants and their partners will need to address what urgent measures must be taken to preserve the industry and create a dynamic, universal change in the approach moving forward.

Finally, the Massachusetts Film industry (and Florida) has not asked for excessive support but seeks to maintain a program that would allow it to continue to grow and continue to be recognized as a global hub for film, television and digital media production.

Richard DeAgazio is an industry professional on assignment for IMAGINE Magazine in Florida.

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