Take 2: Summer 2023

As IMAGINE goes to post another great issue for you, the WGA strike is in its tenth week. Most all productions have shut down and there is picketing across the country except for today in New York as demonstrations were cancelled due to the oppressive heat.

Since 1982, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has been the trade association responsible for negotiating virtually all industry-wide guild and union contracts, including those with American Federation of Musicians (AFM); Directors Guild of America (DGA); International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); Laborers Local 724; Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA); Teamsters, Local #399; and Writers Guild of America (WGA) among others.

The AMPTP, the entertainment industry’s official collective bargaining representative, negotiates fifty-eight industry-wide collective bargaining agreements on behalf of hundreds of motion picture and television producers. That’s a big number of producers to satisfy. No wonder it is so complex and difficult.

I know everyone just wants to get back to work, but that likelihood is mired by impending strikes and the stand-off between the WGA and AMPTP. Even if other Guilds and the AMPTP resolve their contract woes, those who choose to not cross picket lines (and most productions do) will not be able to go back to work until the WGA saga comes to an acceptable conclusion.

Also, upon this posting SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP have not achieved any substantial negotiations toward a contract resolution. Frankly, at this point it doesn’t look too promising, although we remain hopeful.

Most believe it’s going to be a long hot summer.
But here in New England we can stay happy as clams as we say, “Hooray for Film Festivals.” We have two stories for you in this issue. From Saturday, July 29 through Saturday, August 5, join the Woods Hole Film Festival as they celebrate their 32nd year in the charming and relaxing seaside village of Woods Hole on Cape Cod. As the oldest festival on the Cape and Islands, the festival has been one of the leaders in promoting the work of emerging independent filmmakers from around the world.

Judy Laster is the founder and Executive Director of the Woods Hole Film Festival. She is to be celebrated for her dedication to her festival and the industry in New England.

Now in its 27th year, the Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) celebrates the independent spirit in film and has become a haven for independent filmmakers from throughout the world. In 2022, the Festival presented 383 films representing works that were shot and produced in 106 countries. There were 92 World Premieres and US/North American Premieres. Moving the Festival back to a post-COVID normal was the goal of the 2022 event.

This year, RIIFF has received more than 6,000 submissions from all over the world. In this issue our aim is to introduce you to Shawn Quirk as he is stepping into the big shoes of George Marshall to bring you their festival 2023. George passed away last September after an amazing 2022 festival. Shawn has worked with George since 2011. Read my article about him in this issue. You will get the picture.

For all festivals, I want to make this remark, perhaps it is a plea: volunteer, every festival need volunteers. If you are in the vicinity or can get there for a few days, volunteer! The rewards you will earn are endless, the savvy people you will meet, the movies you will get to see that perhaps otherwise you wouldn’t, panels and workshops, and the satisfaction that you supported a film community and contributed value to an important event.

I love this issue. Our cover story is one I adore. I met Michael Malvesti at an industry (SAG-AFTRA/MPC) event early this year. This story will grab your heart and soul. I wrote the story (actually, her wrote the story for me), and then reached out to one of my favorite local actors, Erica McDermott (THE FIGHTER, AMERICAN HUSTLE, Julia) to get her take on the guy, Michael Malvesti.

Erica is an IMAGINE “Imaginnaire”. Here is her response. I was catching up with her as well.
Here’s what her update, “I’ve been spending the winter months in South Florida and traveling a bit. With self-taping auditions being the norm these days, I’m taking full advantage. In fact, I auditioned for JULIA in a hotel room in Scottsdale Arizona!!!

“What an excellent experience I had, so many positive things to say I don’t even know where to begin. Director Erica Dunton was simply marvelous!! The Hair & Makeup department, along with Costume took everyone back to Cambridge, Massachusetts in the 1960s. It was incredible! My hair, alone, could be its own character. On my drive home after filming, I prayed I wouldn’t get pulled over for any reason … a police officer wouldn’t know what to make of me and my hairdo!!

“I play the role of SHIRLEY BAMBACH. She is part of a group of ladies the world isn’t quite ready for, Shirley is definitely ahead of her time!! After reading the character breakdown, I decided to take a risk and audition using a very diffident accent. They loved it and cast me shortly thereafter. My Boston accent has booked me roles in the past, so being hired by HBO MAX using a new one was very cool.

“Michael Malvesti is an actor I’ve known for a long time. He’s a great guy, very talented and continues to lead by example in our industry. I’ve enjoyed watching movies and shows he’s worked on. Every time he brings true authenticity to the scene. I haven’t worked with him yet, but with so many New England connections it’s only a matter of time and I look forward to that day!”

I brought in Erica and her comments because I knew that she would support my instincts and that Michael, our cover story, was the genuine person I thought he was – I believed I was right; Erica confirmed it!

Our region does extremely well in international competitions. And ASCAP is no exception.

Ed Grenga, Charles “Kook” Lawry, and Douglas Stevens are recipients of the 2023 ASCAP Screen Music Award for the top-rated television series, This Old House on PBS. Ed and Doug traveled to West Hollywood in May to the Sunset Marquis for an intimate, invitation-only celebration with fellow ASCAP Screen Music Award winners. They say, “Special thanks to Director, David Vos, for initially believing in us, and Editors, Mike Svirsky, Gary Stephenson, and Adam Bush for their expert guidance along the way. We’d also like to thank all the viewers who enjoyed our music over the years and wrote to us and supported us with their kind words.”

Doug sent this to IMAGINE, “Here is the first sentence from ASCAP letter sent to me about a month ago. We were told to keep it a secret until it was publicly announced.”

“We are excited to inform you that you are a 2023 ASCAP Screen Music Awards winner! Your score for This Old House was among the highest-rated ASCAP scores of 2022.”

Congratulations are due! Good composing Ed, Kook, and Doug. Their company is Creative Audio and Music. Their tagline is: Where Good Ideas Go to Be Heard. I like that.

I was so honored to be invited to the wedding of Mikhaila Waldman and Tim Larson extended to me by Jan and Dr. Howard Waldman at the exquisite Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead. It was a beautiful affair, planned, orchestrated, and presented so well it should have been in a movie.

Last month our cover story was about Christy Cashman and her novel “The Truth About Horses,” which will be released in August. This is a wonderful story that I couldn’t get enough of. I wanted to read it fast so that I could see how it ended. I also never wanted the story to end. You can preorder “The Truth About Horses” now online at Amazon or your favorite book provider. The release date is August 15th, and we plan to have a signing party when we can all get together.

Be sure to get to a film festival this summer. Our next issue will have additional options for you to choose from. Enjoy the rest of summer and stay safe.

Read on

Take 2: Spring 2023

Let’s start with the good news. The spring is blossoming with new productions in New England. In Massachusetts, it’s busy. Mark Damon and Ben Affleck reunite with INSTIGATORS set in Massachusetts. The team just finished principal photography in Boston. Their second unit will begin this week in the area of Storrow Drive and Memorial Drive. That’s my neighborhood. I’ll be looking out for them.

The Matt Damon/Ben Affleck duo star in the film; Ben is also one of the writers. They are both producers. The plot follows two robbers who must go on the run with the help of one of their therapists after a theft doesn’t go as planned. Hmm.

Feature film MY EX FRIENDS WEDDING is about to shoot this week on Cape Anne. A brief synopsis is, “On the eve of their former best friend’s wedding, four of their childhood friends receive a drunken voicemail from her, confessing that she believes she is making a mistake. The four friends then decide to stop the wedding.” What could go wrong?

Martha’s Vineyard is Bravo’s new reality series, a spinoff of Summer House, that is set to premiere Sunday, May 7 at 9 p.m. ET.

The new show features an all-Black cast vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, an island south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and one of the first beach destinations where African Americans could vacation and purchase property.

The cast features Nicholas “Nick” Arrington, Jasmine Ellis Cooper, Silas Cooper, Jordan Emanuel, Bria Fleming, Shanice Henderson, Amir Lancaster, Jason Lyke, Preston Mitchum, Summer Marie Thomas, and Alex Tyree.

And the PERFECT COUPLE also begins this week. It’s Nantucket wedding season, also known as summer-the sight of a bride racing down Main Street is as common as the sun setting at Madaket Beach. The Otis-Winbury wedding promises to be an event to remember: the groom’s wealthy parents have spared no expense to host a lavish ceremony at their oceanfront estate.

But it’s going to be memorable for all the wrong reasons after tragedy strikes: a body is discovered in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony-and everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash interviews the bride, the groom, the groom’s famous mystery- novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, he discovers that every wedding is a minefield-and no couple is perfect. THE PERFECT COUPLE will shoot on Cape Cod and in Boston.

So, the spring will be busy, and I can see that major projects are scouting for summer and fall. We have our unfettered film tax credits to thank for that. We are fortunate to not be in the same disarray as most of the rest of the world. Much of which is in disarray.

However, we must pay attention as this business is very competitive. And there are pressures that we have no control over.

Fortunately, and unlike the rest of the world, our industry here is not in disarray. But in many areas of the country and world, this industry is in a state of negative flux. Production budgets are being cut all around us from Showtime here in the USA to the BBC in London. Showtime has whittled down its development slate, passing on a slew of projects.

The belt-tightening at the BBC has revealed that it will cut its television originals budget by close to £100M ($123M) over the next twelve months as its funding freeze bites. The BBC’s TV budget will decline by £96M from £1.84B to £1.75B over the coming year. The vast majority of the TV budget is spent on original shows. On the bright side, the BBC appears to be reconsidering the termination of BBC 4.

Add to this, investments in infrastructure are temporarily/cautiously on hold as the world banking situation is calmed and the Unions work solutions and new agreements with AMPTP.

According to Deadline, “Leaders of the Writers Guild of America won’t discuss the specifics of the contract proposals they’ve exchanged with the Alliance of Motion Picture Television Producers. But they are making it abundantly clear that a deal can be reached without a strike if the companies take the needs of writers seriously.

“We want to make a deal. It’s our goal to make a deal,” said Chris Keyser, co-chair of the WGA negotiating committee and a past president of the WGA West. “But just as important, there are lists of things that need to be accomplished for writers that cannot be put off anymore. We need a partner to do that – the AMPTP…

“The WGA is not seeking a mere adjustment in the way writers are paid, but rather a complete overhaul of the pay scales it had bargained for with the AMPTP in recent years.”

Chris Keyser, by the way, is the show runner and producer of Julia, a great TV series, which has shot two seasons right here in Boston and a Harvard alum.

Obviously, if there is a writer’s strike, that will greatly impact the production calendar.

I remember when the last writer’s strike occurred, Academy Award winning Ernest Thompson was receiving an “Imaginnaire” Award. As he was proceeding to the stage to accept, he snatched the previous awardee’s acceptance speech out of her hand. At the podium he explained that under the restrictions of the writer’s strike, he could not write his own acceptance speech. So, he used hers. Perhaps you had to be there, but it was very funny, and the audience loved it.

I don’t know about you, but my inbox has been inundated with all the opportunities to accept/buy AI – all the varieties. I must have received at least one hundred messages of various kinds about the “miracles” of the newest technology.

I have also gotten a number of cautious messages suggesting that the employment of AI be postponed for the summer so that experts can evaluate the upsides and downsides of this new phenomenon.

Even the WGA and PGA are in conversations about it – could AI (which ever one) write a script? How would that be handled in the credits? At the Oscars? I think this is a dilemma in our future to work out.

An open letter with signatures from hundreds of the biggest names in tech, including Elon Musk, has urged the world’s leading artificial intelligence labs to pause the training of new super-powerful systems for six months, saying that recent advances in AI present “profound risks to society and humanity.”

Is humanity is sleepwalking into catastrophe?
Send me your thoughts on this at publisher @ imaginenews.com

Our spring edition is filled with surprises. Becki Dennis has moved back from LA to Boston. Imagine that? Of course, we are thrilled and welcome her back. Read Hartley Pleshaw’s story in this issue.

What’s more, Christy Cashman, an IMAGINE favorite appearing on more than twenty-six covers of IMAGINE, has written a novel that will be released later this summer in August. “The Truth About Horses,” a subject Christy is more than qualified to speak to as she has been a “horsy girl” since she was three. I highly recommend it. Read my story about it in this issue.
Carol Patton

Read on

Take Two: Winter 2022-2023

I wish the best for everyone who works in our industry and all to our families and friends.

disco balls in background text saying postponed stay tuned

Imaginnaire Awards Gala being Rescheduled

I discovered just before Christmas that the Golden Globe Awards are scheduled on the night that we always have our IMAGINE Industry New Year’s Celebration & “Imaginnaire” Awards Gala (the second Tuesday of each New Year). So, unfortunately, we have postponed our event to be scheduled at a future date to be determined. I will keep you apprised and hope sincerely that you will participate when the time comes. We thought of having a Golden Globe watch party, but for our first time back together since 2020, I finally decided that we need to have time to talk to and hug each other, not stare at a television screen. Stay tuned for updates!


logo for Films equals Jobs filmed in Massachusetts campaign

Tax Credits: Our Industry’s Key to Survival

I believe that since our introduction into the prospect of film tax credits into Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut the economy of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the other states have benefited enormously for all our work making those film tax credits happen. Countless jobs have been created, new businesses have sprung up (some mentioned in this issue), and our region is now home to marvelous television series such as The Gilded Age (see my story in this issue) and Julia, the most real and positive story about Julia Childs that I have ever had the privilege to see. It’s inspired by Julia Child’s extraordinary life and her show The French Chef, which essentially invented food television.

Julia being played so well by Sarah Lancashire is amazing. What a find! I credit the show’s showrunner Christopher Keyser, who is a college friend of my daughter, Raine. They attended Harvard together. And when I mentioned her name to him at an industry event, he was so happy to meet me.

Carol Patton in MA state house campaigning for MA tax credits for film
Publisher Carol Patton in the Speaker of the House’s Chair in 2004, working hard to get our Film Tax Credits legislation passed. An IMAGINE photo.

As I have mentioned before, bringing film, television and commercial production to New England has been front and center with IMAGINE from our inception. We worked immensely hard to introduce and get passed into law film tax credits that would attract film production and professionals from all over the world. Once the credits were passed, we championed them with our outreach through this magazine by attending and distributing IMAGINE Magazines at industry annual events such as the American Film Market in Santa Monica, AFCI in Los Angeles and National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas. It was so unfortunate that the state did not give the film office a budget to advertise all that we had to offer. But IMAGINE did, by asking local vendors to contribute to an ad in IMAGINE that did exactly that. Thank you to those who contributed to that effort.

Upon the retirement of Lisa Strout, by far one of the most outstanding and award- winning film commissioners and Executive Directors of a film office anywhere (Massachusetts and New Mexico), I am concerned and want to bring attention to who will be Massachusetts’ next Film Office Executive Director and how that person will be searched for and vetted. I am looking forward to our new Governor, Governor Healy, as I believe she will be supportive of the industry we brought to this state creating so many new jobs, new businesses, and opportunities that we didn’t have before. Not all administrations have supported us. But this movement has been a game changer. I must hand it to Governor Charlie Baker. His first year in office he tried to shut our Film Tax Credits down completely. We fought that and survived. His next year he launched legislation that would limit us by putting a $50 million dollar cap on our credits. We fought that tooth and nail. The next year he acknowledged that most everyone liked our film tax credits, and since then he had a “hands off” policy. (Much to our credit and relief.)

Now talents of all sorts have moved back to Massachusetts, and we are so happy to have them back. We are also attracting talents that have never been to Massachusetts before.

How did this happen? If you had been reading IMAGINE since April 1998, you would know every detail. It hasn’t been easy. It started with connecting the dots. Having so much talent in one place without a developing film industry was unforgivable as far as I was concerned. And that’s what sparked it for me along with my profound interest in coalescing all who had to work elsewhere to make a living, paying big taxes elsewhere, like to California and New York, I might add.

Getting back to searching for and vetting a new Massachusetts’ next Film Office Executive Director, I have to say, I don’t know who is doing it or who will make the final decision. I do suspect that the office will get more support than in the past. I do like John Alzapiedi who has worked alongside Lisa Strout since Tim Grafft resigned. John was on the film office staff when then acting-Governor Jane Swift closed the office in the early 2000s (he was transferred to tourism), so he is not a neophyte. He really knows Massachusetts and what we have to offer. He knows there are twelve-to-fourteen-hour days and eight-day weeks. I believe he has thrown his hat into the ring. He is fresh, capable, and relevant, which is what I always look for in a new hire.


Changes Are Coming to Imaginenews.com

As you may have noticed we are retooling IMAGINE Magazine. And we don’t really know what we will look like in the near term. Except that we know we will serve you and our industry well, as we have always done. We’re in an awkward place right now as our online version of IMAGINE is on a different emag site than our imaginenews.com site. As a result, those who visit our site leave too soon to link to our emag site. The problem with that that is our website analytics are poorer than what they actually are. When viewers go to our emag site, they spend hours on all our pages and look at back issues that interest them. Our website doesn’t get any viewer credit for that, so we are looking for solutions to this problem as ad sales are based on viewership. We’ll figure it out. Bear with us.


Great Books Make Great Films

It is obvious that content is still king. Where do you find that new riveting material for development? Books, of course. I have two to recommend if you are in the hunt. One of my favorite page turning writers, is our own Erica Ferencik. She writes in zones that no one wants to go to. She is a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a Los Angeles Time Best Crime Novels of Winter 2022 choice, and a Reader’s Digest Best Fiction Books of 2022 choice. She’s the author of The River at Night, Into the Jungle, and now a harrowing new thriller set in the unforgiving landscape of the Arctic Circle, Girl In Ice. As a brilliant linguist struggling to understand the apparent suicide of her twin brother ventures hundreds of miles north to try to communicate with a young girl who has been thawed from the ice alive. I promise you; you will not be able to put it down. Imagine that!

If you want to produce or direct a disaster movie, you may wish to consider Northeaster by Cathie Pelletier, from northern Maine. It’s a story of courage and survival in the blizzard of 1952.

“If there is a snowier book than Northeaster, I don’t know it. With its rich cast of fishermen, woodsmen, millworkers and plain old small-town Mainers, Cathie Pelletier’s dramatic re-creation of the great blizzard of ‘52 isn’t simply a fast-paced disaster narrative about the workings of fate, but a paean to a long-lost way of life,” so says Stewart O’Nan, author of the Circus Fire.

Will Gilbert of Rhode Show with Steven Feinberg of the Rhode Island Film Office
Will Gilbert dressed up for HOCUS POCUS during the morning Rhode Show with Executive Director of th Rhode Island Film Office in Providence, Rhode Island. Photo courtesy of the Rhode Island Film & TV Office.

New England Made: Two Big Films Hit the Screen!

production team behind I Wanna Dance With Somebody
Nick Panvini, Ali Panvini, Taylor Howell and Andrew Howell on the Red Carpet for the advanced screening of I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY. Photo by Benjamin Knight.
We are so lucky to have fresh screenings of films made in our region. Disney’s HOCUS POCUS shot in Rhode Island and at New England Studios comes to mind as well as I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY, which is the first film from Marina Studios to hit the big screen. We have a story for you. Everyone agrees the music is awesome.

Images from the Rhode Island HOCUS POCUS 2 Set

Director Anne Fletcher directing cast in a 1600s New England village set
Director Anne Fletcher directs Disney’s HOCUS POCUS 2. Photo courtesy of the Rhode Island Film & TV Office.
Steven standing in front of replica houses of 1600s salem
Steven Feinberg on the 1600’s Salem village set for HOCUS POCUS 2, which was built in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Photo courtesy of the Rhode Island Film & TV Office.
Steven standing on set created for old witchcraft shop
Steven on the interior set of the Magic shop of HOCUS POCUS 2 which is built in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Photo courtesy of the Rhode Island Film & TV Office.
Steven outside the magic shop set on hocus pocus 2
Steven Feinberg in front of the Old Magic Shop constructed for HOCUS POCUS 2. Photo courtesy of the Rhode Island Film & TV Office.

So, the New Year is upon us. Once again, I wish everyone the healthiest, happiest, and most prosperous year ever. We each deserve it and I’m cheering for it. I wanted to add peaceful, but I’m a little worried about those prospects. We will be together soon, I’m sure of it!

(party photo by Aleksandr Popov on Unsplash)

Read on

Take 2: September 2022

By Carol Patton

Mick CusimanoIt is with great sorrow and so much sadness that we are saying goodbye to Mick Cusimano. Mick died July 23rd from brain cancer after a courageous four-and-a-half-year battle. He was seventy-one years old and at the top of his creativity. Mick was and always will be IMAGINE’s Professor of Surrealism.

Mick has been the creator of ImagineNation, our production community cartoon set in his world of filmmaking, for over fifteen years. If you work in this industry, you will find his mirth in every cartoon strip.

Mick Cusimano

A celebration of his life will be held in Cambridge in September. You may have noticed that we did not have a cartoon in our summer issue of IMAGINE. To our joy, we have one last cartoon for you in this edition along with Hartley Pleshaw’s “Farewell to the Professor of Surrealism.” IMAGINE will let you know when and where his commemoration will be held. He will be greatly missed.

In August I had the pleasure of attending the Opening Night Gala at the Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) and stayed for their award-winning short program. I have to say it is one of the best short programs in my history of viewing. The fun kicked off Tuesday, August 9th, at the Providence Place Showcase, where co-hosts Michael Drywa, ESQ., RIIFF’s Advisory Board President and Steven Feinberg, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Film & Television Office were joined by hundreds of filmmakers, cast and crew from across the globe. The theme of the evening was “The Art of the Short Film.” And as I mentioned, it did not disappoint.

Carol Conley & Carol Patton at the RIFF

A special thank you shout out to Carol Conley of the Rhode Island Film & Television Office (we share the same first name and birthday) for picking me up at the train station and returning me there in time to get the last train to Boston. Of course, Carol is an “Imaginnaire.”

This festival has charted eighty-two Oscar® nominations and fourteen wins from its pool of premiere films. It’s little wonder that CHRIS GORE’S Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide praises RIIFF as “the kind of intimate festival experience that will change your life.”

Steven Feinberg, Carol Patton, Elaine Grey, and Chris Sparling

It was a fun week. I also attended the RIIFF Film Forum hosted by Steven Feinberg, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Film & Television Office, and another “Imaginnaire.” His guests included filmmakers Tommy DeNucci (also an “Imaginnaire”) and Chris Sparling. Chris was first featured in IMAGINE when he made his very first film AN UZI AT THE ALAMO in 2005. It’s described as a young writer (which he was) searching for his identity, pledges to his dysfunctional family that he will commit suicide on his 25th birthday. As the fateful day approaches, he stumbles upon love and a new sense of self. Fearing family humiliation if he backs out, he prepares for his last birthday with the feigned support of his family.

He wrote, co-directed, and starred in the film himself. Today, he is being hailed as one of the best top ten writers in the business. His break-out film was BURIED. A gripping tale of Paul Conroy, who waking groggy in pitch darkness finds himself trapped inside a wooden coffin, buried alive. He’s an American truck driver working in Iraq in 2006, and having a really bad day.


With his cigarette lighter, he can see the trap he is in, and he quickly realizes that there’s not enough air for him to live long. He finds within the coffin a working cellphone, which allows him contact with the outside world. But the outside world proves not to be helpful at finding a man buried in a box in the middle of the Iraqi desert. Paul must rely on his best resource–himself.

The film starred Ryan Reynolds, who was too, just making a name for himself. It was a great pairing as both of their careers have skyrocketed.

This is just one of the amazing stories to be found at the Film Forum and at RIIFF. Chris has gone on to work with some of the highest and mightiest in the Hollywood set including Matt McConaughey in THE SEA OF TREES, which was partially filmed in Massachusetts. In it a suicidal American befriends a Japanese man lost in a forest near Mt. Fuji and the two search for a way out. Locals Chris Palermo and Steve Howitt are among the cast.

Currently Chis Sparling is in preproduction on GREENLAND: MIGRATION and INCIDENT 459. Both are thrillers. It’s no surprise, but most of Chris’ films contain a race against time. His is a career to keep watching.

Carol Patton and Khara Campbell
Carol Patton meeting Khara Campbell, winner of RIFF’s screenwriting competition

At that same event I met Khara Campbell, the winner of the RIIFF Screenwriting Competition with her script SEAHORSE. I read her script and was completely “taken” by her style of writing so much that I asked her to be our cover story for this edition.

She told me, “I was so honored to win the Grand Prize for Best Screenplay for my script, SEAHORSE, at Flickers. It wasn’t until I came back from LA and immersed myself in the New England filmmaking scene, did I learn how esteemed Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival is.


“When we think of the majors, we think Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, or SxSW – as if it’s one of those festivals or nothing. But there is a ton of talent coming from the next level of festivals, and Flickers RIIFF is not only one of the top ten short film festivals in the US, it’s also Oscar-qualifying and BAFTA-qualifying for shorts. The same year my script won, my short film OUTSIDE THE FOX which I wrote, starred in, and directed for a mere $65 was a semi-finalist there. I got a lot of love from Flickers – and after the awards ceremony, screenings, panels, and connections I made, I’ve got a ton of love to give right back. I am forever grateful for this recognition “back home” and I look forward to creating unforgettable films and employment opportunities for all in our great region.”

So, you will meet her today in the pages of IMAGINE and we will follow her closely as we believe she will be another bright star in our New England future. Lucky us!

I didn’t get to see Lew Place this year at RIIFF because he has retired from the Rhode Island Film & Television Office after eighteen years. I asked him about it. This is what he had to say.

“…A big thanks to Steven Feinberg and Carol Conley for putting up with me all these years! I decided to retire because my vision has been degrading over the years, and since my job required me to be on the computer most of the time I felt it was time for me to give my eyes a rest. Photographing locations is rough because driving has become difficult. I will still do my own video projects and photography, so I won’t be away from it completely. Photographing backyard wildlife is always interesting. I never know what is going to show up.”

Jonathan Wolf, Managing Director of the American Film Market® (AFM®) and EVP of the trade association, stepped down as of June 30th this year. Wolf, who has led the AFM for twenty-four years, will continue as an advisor through the 2022 AFM, which is set to make its in-person return to Santa Monica for the 43rd edition, November 1-6.

Under Wolf’s leadership, the AFM transformed from its import-export roots to an event that serves and includes the entire independent film production and distribution community. Today, AFM is recognized as a must attend market and, as a part of IFTA, still is the only market controlled by the independent industry itself.

Earlier with the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), among other successes, Jonathon Wolf spearheaded the launch of IFTA Collections TM, the industry’s first centralized service for the collection and distribution of royalties and levies from secondary audio-visual rights for films and television programming. To date, IFTA has collected over $150 million for its clients and continues to distribute more than $5 million annually.

I have attended this event annually since founding IMAGINE in 1998 until the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s the best way I’ve found to take and keep the pulse of the global industry of independent film. It’s where ideas and trends first appear. Recently their LocationExpo has provided space and connections to where you might shoot your next film. Exhibitors will dazzle you with their incentives, which is what every studio and producer is clamoring for.

The AFM is the most efficient film acquisition, development, and networking event in the world. More than US$1 billion in production and distribution deals are closed every year — on both completed films and those in every stage of development and production. Over six days in November, 7,000+ professionals from 70+ countries access the entire global catalogue of available films and projects, attend world class conferences, and connect with decision makers.

Steven Feinberg hosting a panel
Steve Feinberg, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Film & Television Office, hosts a Q&A with actress, Karen Allen, actor, William Sadler and director, Sarah T. Schwab after the screening of their premiere film, A STAGE OF TWILIGHT, at this year’s RIIFF. The screening took place at the RISD Museum Auditorium. Photo courtesy of RIIFF.

AFM is produced by the Independent Film & Television Alliance®. IFTA is the global trade association for independent film and television production, finance, distribution, and sales companies. The organization represents the independent sector before governments and international bodies and provides significant entertainment industry services to independent companies from twenty-two countries.

He will be missed. “It’s been a privilege to lead the AFM and work with passionate volunteer Board members for more than twenty years. I was supported by a terrific team that worked tirelessly to produce a world class event; we achieved much together. I’m excited to see what the future holds – for the AFM, IFTA and me,” said Jonathon Wolf.

2022 is proving itself to be the best year for film production in New England. A question I am asking is “Do we have enough studio space for all the productions that want to shoot here?” I’ll have some answers for you in our next edition.

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Take Two: July 2022

I wish this were my July 2020 Take Two, but it isn’t and there isn’t anything I can do about it. I believe everyone has lost so much due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Most of all I’ve missed the camaraderie – that precious time with friends, colleagues and cohorts – the companionship so required to not feel isolated and alone. But it is what it is and I’m going to leave it at that.

It’s catching up time now and the future is looking strong for our industry in our region, a long-held aspiration for IMAGINE Magazine. We envisioned that our industry would be resilient once incentivized and our efforts have paid off brilliantly in the long haul. Most everyone I know is working and while some businesses are scrambling knowing they are going to make it, a fortunate some are doing quite handsomely. And some are thriving.

There is happiness in the world of major film and television productions in New England. The Gilded Age has returned to Newport and Julia has returned to the Greater Boston area for second seasons. One can only imagine what this means to both cities as seasons to come are almost assured.

Carol Patton & Casey Sherman at HellTown partyLast night I had the distinct pleasure of joining New York best-selling author Casey Sherman for a special event at the Willowbend Country Club in Mashpee, Massachusetts. We celebrated his novel Hell Town being taken in by the Robert Downey, Jr. team to develop as a TV series. Bringing TV series to New England has been an important goal of IMAGINE and all the New England Film Offices and New England studios. May we have yet another series? Yes, please.

In June I attended National Boston’s summer celebration for the momentous occasion of their 40th Anniversary. Socially known for their summer get-togethers for the industry, National Boston’s Chief Engineer (and Executive), Tom Sprague (also a wonderful party host and supporter of all things industry related), told me that he thought our region’s production was returning to some sense of normalcy, almost. But here is a bright flash in his pan, he and Paul Beck have been working tirelessly over several years to bring up their Museum of Broadcast Technology (MBT) in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. It’s an amazing place where they have amassed examples of early television technology. And they are working examples at that. Do you remember two-inch tape? That was back in the day when American brands like RCA and Motorola appeared on equipment in every TV studio; when cameras took three people to operate and move around. Now we have those capabilities in our pocket and there are no American named brands like RCA or Motorola on those objects.

So, here is the good part, their assets have become a new revenue stream for the museum. It began with the movie CHAPPAQUIDICK. The news reporting of the time was 1969. There are no longer TV stations operating with that antiquated equipment. And they needed it, not to just look the part, but to operate in front of a camera operated by a single person.

Carol & Christy Cashman at the screening of BONNIE BLUES: JAMES COTTON’S LIFE IN THE BLUES
Carol & Christy Cashman at the screening of BONNIE BLUES: JAMES COTTON’S LIFE IN THE BLUES
Thank goodness this industry is sagacious. It found the Museum of Broadcast Technology and rented their operable equipment for the movie. I bring that up now as the aforementioned Julia TV series has for their second season rented early TV production equipment from MBT! Go Tom and Paul! And National Boston, keep having those wonderful summer BBQs.

The good fortune was mine when I attended the screening of BONNIE BLUES: JAMES COTTON’S LIFE IN THE BLUES. Many of us have been following this film production produced by Woods Hole Film Festival Executive Director Judy Laster and master of the harmonica James Montgomery and directed by Bestor Cram. It’s interesting to note that the two producers and the director are all “Imaginnaires.”

The film played to a packed house at the Somerville Theatre, and it was better than good to see some of my oldest closest friends there including Christy Cashman, Judy Laster, Angela Peri, Bestor Cram, James Montgomery and more.


LIGHTKEEPERS also attracted my attention with their private screening at the Capital Theatre in Arlington. It’s a wonderful story about two sisters who saved Scituate from an invasion by the British Navy.

It stars actors, Lily Ayotte and Kayla Caulfield, as Rebecca and Abigail Bates. Michele Prude and David Pridemore, play their parents, Rachel and Simeon Bates. New England actors Michael Maggiani, Paul Taft, Paul Kandarian, Bates Wilder, Tony Ionone, Carly Consoletti, Lin Hultgren, Lisa Rinks and Arthur Hiou round out the central characters in the story.

During the war of 1812, a small, yet significant event takes place on the shoreline of Scituate, Massachusetts. It’s September of 1814, as Simeon and Rachel Bates head to town for supplies, the lightkeeper’s daughters, Rebecca and Abigail are tending to their lighthouse duties. The sisters notice a British Frigate, the HMS La Hogue, as it drops anchor outside of Scituate harbor. The girls briefly consider taking up muskets to repel the British longboat, now rowing towards the harbor. Realizing the futility in firing upon the well-armed British navy personnel, they quickly hatch a plan to trick the British into thinking the town’s militia is approaching the shore to intercept them. I will not spoil this ending for you. Watch for it because you do need to see this story on the screen.

New England is well into the New England Festival season now. IMAGINE has included them in this edition. There is a “new kid on the block,” the Manchester International Film Festival. Read about their first annual festival in this edition and here’s the explosive part, Paul Lithgow will be in attendance with “An Evening With.” Imagine spending an evening with the legendary actor where he will share his acting experiences with you. Read the article for times and places.
If you missed BONNIE BLUES: JAMES COTTON’S LIFE IN THE BLUES at the Boston Independent Film Festival, find it at the Wood Hole Film Festival as their opening night and closing night films. This might seem cheeky of me, but I’m very proud to say that I and IMAGINE have a special notation in their credits. This year’s Woods Hole Film Festival will embrace in person viewing at multiple locations while having online viewing available as well.

The details are in this issue as are all the details of the season’s wonderful festivals.
It’s important that I share my thinking with our readers, advertisers, and supporters about publishing this edition online. Over the past few years, we have raced to keep up with the pace of the internet, where content is delivered faster and more creatively than it was with our monthly presses since 1998. Today, an overwhelming majority of our readers interact with our content online.

Therefore, we have some changes to announce. Going forward, IMAGINE will be a digital, online delivered magazine with several plusses. I need to point out that IMAGINE has two websites, www.imaginenews.com and http://emag.imaginenews.com. Both are important to what we must impart to our industry in New England. The emag will feature our monthly publication and the other will have current looks at what’s happening in our market today. A major change is that our monthly publication will no longer carry our beloved WWW (Works Wrinkles and Wraps). We will are shifting that department to our www.imaginenews.com effort because it is necessary to bring it up to date frequently, sometimes daily, which can’t be done in a monthly publication.

While we have been in hiatus for some time, we are now back in action and ask for your continued support. It is important because IMAGINE does the outreach to the world about what we have to offer here, because we connect the dots of our industry, and we tell the stories of the success of our industry that our legislators incentivized. In our last recession our industry buoyed our economy beyond that of other states. I believe our industry will do it again.

– Carol Patton

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Take 2: November 2020

It is my deepest heartfelt hope that each and every one of you is whole, well and hardy. But, let’s face it, it is what it is, and even though I am eternally optimistic, I fear it’s going to take longer than we’d like before we are safe to resume our normal routines and workpatterns. Meanwhile it will be challenging.

Someone said, “To thrive in life you need three bones: A wish bone, a back bone and a funny bone.” This is especially true right now.

One thing I know for certain is that there is a pent up demand for our industry to work and when safety to work gets better the amount of production will be legendary.

I firmly believe that everyone who is able is working to make it as safe as possible to work; work has already begun to return to New England and especially Massachusetts. More is expected in November. Both a feature film and TV series have booked New England Studios beginning in November. And it appears the major casting companies are auditioning aplenty.

The Lionsgate – HBO Max pilot, Julia, is once again shooting in Malden. I’m grateful for that as I want this story, it’s a drama, about the whole life of Julia Child and I don’t believe it will be centered on cooking…. Joan Cusack stars; Chris Keyser is the Executive Producer.

Return to Work Agreement

This for our back bone, The Covid-19 Return to Work Agreement with DGA, IATSE, SAG-AFTRA and Teamsters/Basic Crafts have come together and signed this basic agreement for best practices as to how to safely get back to work. This agreement took months to hammer out as every entity did its best to insure the safety of its members. And yes, there will be testing. “Prospective employees shall be tested for COVID-19 prior to the start of employment…” There are three methods of testing acceptable. And there will be periodic testing by zone. Zones are established by how safe your job is – the amount of PPE, etc. If you’re working remotely, no test is required. And there will be temperature tests at least once a day. Believe me, this is just a thumbnail with many variables.

The agreement is long, but thorough. If you would like to read the full agreement you can find it here on our website.

MA Film Tax Credit Sunset Date

And so, deep breath, it appears that slowly the production business is beginning its comeback across the U.S. and Canada. Perhaps a bit more quickly in Massachusetts as reported to me by industry participants.

Here in Massachusetts industry workers and supporters have had their eyes on a very important prize and that is the elimination of the state’s film tax credit sunset date. We all know that studios and major producers need to have confidence that when their production is ready to go, a credible film tax credit will be intact.

Our industry plan was to get legislation that would end our Film Tax Credit sunset date earlier this year. But, due to the pandemic, legislative needs exceeded its normal capacity and our bills were not taken up. Perhaps understandably; perhaps not, as I believe a booming film and television production
industry would provide enormous support for a quicker recovery in the Commonwealth. Our burgeoning industry in 2008 genuinely helped Massachusetts weather that depression and we didn’t have near the difficulties that many other states experienced across the country. We will certainly do that again; that is if we can eliminate our sunset date.

Productions are attracted to Massachusetts because of our superior film tax credits. There is no debate about that. It is an actual fact.

Castle Rock Season 1 Study of Economic Impact

shooting Castle Rock in western mass

October 21, 2020, I attended a Zoom session that was an industry briefing for our legislators. Its intention was to refresh our legislators in a very spectacular way about the successes our industry has brought to our region. It reported a new study that supports our interest. This is a first-of-a-kind economic impact study that clearly demonstrates the effectiveness and viability of our industry. The
report covered the first modern episodic TV series shot in Massachusetts in twenty-five years and created 1,026 jobs for starters.

Hulu’s Castle Rock Season 1 study quantified a powerful economic impact of episodic TV and streaming production in Massachusetts. Here are some of the highlights from the study:

“Season 1 of Hulu’s Castle Rock, generated $69 million in economic activity across more than 210 towns and cities in the state, according to an economic impact study released today. With the local film industry poised to be a catalyst for the state’s economic recovery, the study reveals that production of the Warner Brothers series generated approximately $4.73 of in-state economic activity for each dollar of state tax credit anticipated to be issued to the production.”

“After years of growth and development for our local film industry, Castle Rock represents the enormous increase in production for streaming platforms and the future of film and TV production in Massachusetts,” said Chris O’Donnell, Business Manager of IATSE Local 481, the union representing technicians and craftspeople on film sets. ”Episodic series employ more local workers for longer periods of time, use more local businesses, and are the engine of growth for the industry in Massachusetts. In the three years since the filming of Castle Rock Season 1, five other episodic series have already filmed in Massachusetts.”

“Castle Rock illustrates the impact that film, TV, and streaming productions are having in the Commonwealth over and over again,” he continued. “This study quantifies how a single production can provide hundreds of workers with good-paying union jobs and support local businesses all across the state. These are exactly the types of jobs and investments the state needs to grow our economy following
the COVID-19 economic crisis.”

Produced by Warner Bros. Television for the streaming platform Hulu, Castle Rock, a psychological thriller series based on the works of Stephen King, was based at New England Studios in Devens, Massachusetts. The first season of Castle Rock was in production between March 2017 and February 2018 and premiered on Hulu on July 25, 2018. Filming took place in Devens and throughout the state, with major on-location filming occurring in and around the town of Orange, Massachusetts. A second season,
produced at New England Studios in 2018 and 2019, premiered on Hulu on October 23, 2019.

“Our $35 million studio, built eight years ago, has been fully booked for the past few years, and there’s constant demand from the streaming companies for additional space,” said Gary Crossen, General Manager of New England Studios in Devens, which has hosted major TV and streaming productions such as Hulu’s Castle Rock, Netflix’s The Society, and Apple TV+’s Defending Jacob. “Massachusetts needs more state of the art infrastructure, such as our studios. And whether additional studios are built by us or some other investors, it would make no sense to do another multimillion dollar building project for a business that may go away in less than two years.”

“All the major production companies I deal with need clarity about the future of the state’s commitment, as they plan feature films and series several years out,” he continued. “The film and television industry can be the economic infusion our economy needs going forward, but only if legislators eliminate the sunset of the production incentive program and provide certainty to our industry.”

During the legislative briefing, workers who were employed by Season 1 of Castle Rock discussed the impact it had on their lives.

“Without Castle Rock I would have had to be on Massachusetts state health insurance, but due to my employment as a recurring stand-in I was able to earn insurance through my union, SAG-AFTRA,” said Andrea Lyman, New England Local President of SAG-AFTRA, who worked on both seasons of Castle Rock. “Episodic series like Castle Rock help provide hundreds of Massachusetts workers with steady wages and benefits every year.”

Attending legislators lauded the Film & Television Production Incentive program for creating jobs and economic impact across the state, and warned that the sunset needs to be removed to ensure its benefits continue in the future.

“Massachusetts has many tax incentives and programs that primarily benefit highly educated, upper income workers, from biotech and finance to IT and insurance. The film production incentive is an important state investment designed to help working families: people without advanced degrees who work with their hands,” said State Senator Paul Feeney (D-Foxborough). “Now more thanever, with so many people out of work or looking for a new career, the film industry is a source of good-paying, family-supporting
union jobs for working families.”

Film Tax Incentive Impact on Our Economy

Since Massachusetts’ Film & Television Production Incentive became law in 2006, over 250 productions have filmed in over 220 cities and towns, together spending more than $2.6 billion in Massachusetts. By
making Massachusetts a leading filmmaking destination, the Production Incentive supports thousands of jobs throughout the state. Film and television productions have a significant impact on a local economy, from buying goods and services from small businesses to donating to local initiatives. Productions have
bought goods and services from thousands of local businesses in over 265 cities and towns – over 75% of all communities in Massachusetts.

But under current law, the program is scheduled to end in December 2022, which would kill this growing local industry and cost thousands of workers their good paying jobs and career opportunities. Pending
infrastructure investors and new multi-year episodic series are making decisions now about investing and where to film in the coming years. The uncertainty created by the approaching end date of the Production
Incentive is affecting business decisions today, and preventing major equipment and infrastructure investments at a time when we need it the most.

114 out of 200 state legislators co-sponsored legislation this session (H.2419 and S.1728) that would eliminate the sunset of the Film & Television Production Incentive program, and protect the jobs and economic benefits it creates.

“Because of the state’s investment over the past decade, Massachusetts has become a leading filmmaking destination. That means thousands of good-paying jobs and millions of dollars in local spending that benefits thousands of local businesses all across the Commonwealth,” said State Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury), lead sponsor of the Senate legislation. “But if the sunset of the production incentive isn’t eliminated, those jobs and spending will disappear again, and many of my constituents will be forced to move to states like New York or California. We need to eliminate the sunset to protect, and
grow, the jobs and economic benefits created by film production here in Massachusetts.”

“In the past few years, we’ve grown our local film industry to the point where we can now regularly attract episodic series that create more jobs and help more local businesses. And with the growth in demand for streaming content after months of increased home viewership, producers are looking at Massachusetts to film many more projects here,” said State Representative Tackey Chan (D-Quincy), lead sponsor of the House legislation. “The local film industry is poised to help drive forward our economic recovery, but the sunset of the production incentive stands in the way. It’s time to remove the
uncertainty that’s preventing investments in Massachusetts film production, and let this creative industry create even more jobs.”

By making Massachusetts a leading filmmaking destination, the Production Incentive supports thousands of jobs throughout the state – from the sales representative at a lighting rental company, to the forklift operator at the local lumberyard, to the costumer on the film set. From 2006 to 2016, over 17,500 new jobs were created with an average salary of over $68,000. 70% of those jobs went to Massachusetts residents. The Netflix series The Society employed over 900, and the film LITTLE WOMEN employed over 500.

Hundreds of businesses have expanded and been created to meet the growing demand of the film and television industry. Because of the Film & Television Incentive program and the productions it has attracted, there are now more than fifty high tech post-production and visual effects companies across Massachusetts employing more than 550 highly skilled workers. These local entrepreneurs are building
small businesses that are part of the state’s growing creative and cultural economy.

And this is for our wish bone, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Massachusetts Legislature extended their legislative year to the end of the year. Yes, it was because they had so many new considerations
and community necessities to tend to. Because of that our industry bills were continuously not able to get on the docket. But, we’re still hopeful for this year. We need to do our best to make that happen for all the aforementioned reasons. What we can do is stay in touch with our Senators and Representatives even though they may have already confirmed that they are supporters of our bills. We need to keep our issues top of mind and push to get passage this year. It means so much to give that piece of mind to all the studios and major producers when they are considering locations for their film and TV productions.

Lunch with Matt & Ben

Lunch with Ben & Matt

This is for our funny bone because this would be fun. Massachusetts natives Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are looking to take a lucky fan and their friend out for an action packed lunch in Los Angeles at one of their favorite spots as they try to raise money to help the people of eastern Congo.

People can donate money to the Eastern Congo Initiative, founded by Affleck and Whitney Williams in 2010; you will need to go through the Omaze website to gain entries into the lunch-date contest.

One entry can be submitted without contributing to the initiative, but the more money donated, the more entries a person will receive.

We know these guys grew up together; won an Oscar together for GOOD WILL HUNTING. They’re best pals and lunch with them would be an amazing treat.

The winner and a friend will be flown out to Hollywood when it is safe todo so and join Affleck and Damon for a meal.They will also be put up in a four-star hotel. Whoopee! Visit Omaze for more details.

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Take Two: Spring 2020

Just a few weeks ago many of us were celebrating the beginning of the best year ever for our New England Film Production Industry. There were eight productions in Massachusetts alone along with major commercial productions hiring everyone who was available to work. The New Year of 2020 was promising to be our best ever.

And then, in as little as two weeks, all that activity began to grind to a halt. The coronavirus (Covid-19) came calling, and literally there will be no more martini shots for a while. How did that happen? How were we so blissfully unaware? How do all things change so quickly?

The world’s largest film festival, Cannes, has cancelled. NAB, which hosts almost 100,000 people each year, has cancelled along with Avid Connect attached to the NAB conference. And now the Nantucket Film
Festival has postponed its 25th Anniversary Celebration, but plans to screen later this summer.

As you can imagine, our Spring issue had to be completely retooled, reconfigured as one story after another became moot. However, as one might always suspect, we found replacement stories that we know you will enjoy.

Right now our major role to play is to play it safe and stay heathy. Social distancing, self-isolating, business shut downs, gloves, masks, gowns, hospital beds, more hospitals, ventilators, tests, more tests combined with most everyone out of work is presenting extremely difficult challenges. These situations will require all our strengths,energies and innovations to overcome.

We must use our imaginations to ideate other kinds of creativity that will hold us through this arduous process. We will overcome and we will do it together.

Fortunately our entertainment industry has a gigantic tool chest filled with opportunity for many of its participants. I suspect that a writer or solitary editor experiencing uninterrupted creative time might not be such a bad thing.

“Streaming” is positively the word of the day. Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Apple, Starz, all the streamers really know their viewing is going way up. Many others will jump on streaming to see what potential it has for them be they a studio to become facilitator or an entity that needs a facilitator or those that need content outlets. To come up to speed on streaming please read our Tech Edge “State of Streaming” by Steve McGrath in this issue.

Many in our industry are very self-entertaining. In addition, there’s enough content out there to not only find something of interest, but, for instance, do like actor/singer Andrea Lyman and take online
dancing classes. The available universe is filled with learning opportunities. If you’re a filmmaker and haven’t found one yet, check out WWW in this issue. We found one for you. It may be time to go back to school online.

Carol Patton with Representative Tackey Chan in his office on Beacon Hill chatting about his bill to end the “sunset date” for the Massachusetts Film Tax Credits. An IMAGINE Photo.

The near term isn’t at all clear right at the moment, but we know that when we are on the other side of this pandemic sweeping our nation and world, the work will be stacked up just waiting for all of us to do it. When that happens we’ll be back in business in no time. As one astute prognosticator I spoke to today speculated, when this is over our industry will be “more important” not “less important.” I dare to say that’s the truth.

Carol Patton and National Boston’s Chief Engineer Tom Sprague with an early celebration
of our New Year. An IMAGINE Photo.

Meanwhile, I’ll take a little time and space to look back at the beginning of what we thought our industry’s best year ever. First of all, the IMAGINE Industry New Year’s Celebration & “Imaginnaire” Awards Gala, held this year in the gorgeous Glass Room at the Tuscan Kitchen was amazing. We have a photo review for you in this issue. There was a lot of energy and talent in this room. Hats off to our Master of Ceremonies Erica McDermott.

IMAGINE Publisher Carol Patton with the Gala’s Master of Ceremonies Erica McDermott.
Photo courtesy of Erica McDermott.

And congratulations to all our new “Imaginnaires”, Jan Waldman, Eran Lobel, James Montgomery, Alecia Orsini Lebeda and Massachusetts Representative Tackey Chan.

I had the good fortune to attend a very special evening with James Montgomery, Judy Laster and Bestor Cram. They are, of course, a Blues Legend, Executive Director of the Woods Hole Film Festival and award winning Director, respectively. The James Montgomery Band performed with special guest Grace Kelly on Sax and we were shown scenes from their film JAMES COTTON: THEY ALL STOOD UP. Held in the Regatta Bar at the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square, it was a fundraiser for the film. A most enjoyable evening.

Carol Patton and Carl Hanson at the Boston
Sci-Fi Festival Shorts program. Carl flew in from LA to see his film I/O, which was very well
received. An IMAGINE Photo.

Good news for all future blockbusters that wish to film in Rhode Island. The law has been changed. When a production spends $20 million dollars in the ocean state, it is no longer required to spend 51% of its budget in the state. Look for a tent pole soon….

We have a terrific story about Worcester, MA writer Caitlin McCarthy. Be sure you read it. She really had a pleasant surprise on Valentine’s Day when she received an email from the Academy (as in Oscars)
stating that she was among the Top Ten highest scoring women in the 2019 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition. Her screenplay WONDER DRUG was among the Top Fifty in that contest out of over 7,000 entries.

“As part of the Academy’s efforts to support women in screenwriting, it has invited me to Los Angeles for the annual WGFestival screenwriting conference in Hollywood this May. The Academy’s Educational
Initiatives and Nicholl Fellowships departments are collaborating to host the WGFestival, a weekend of panels, workshops, and special events focused on the craft and business of writing for film and television.” Caitlin told IMAGINE Magazine.

I want to encourage everyone to follow all the CDC recommendations and those of the state you are in. Use this time creatively – learn, be entertained, practice, reach out to friends and colleagues, and most importantly stay healthy and connected.

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Take 2: January 2020

To say that this has been the best year ever for our New England production industry is the truth and it is to be celebrated. That every year going forward will continue to be the best ever is possible now. The future looks very bright, indeed. Just read our industry leaders predictions in this issue to have your spirits lifted.

So it’s time for us to celebrate and celebrate we will at our annual IMAGINE Industry New Year’s Celebration & “Imaginnaire” Awards Gala. Once again we’ll honor five members of our production community in New England and celebrate their work and our good fortune. This event is a grand networking event so bring your business cards and plan to connect with a future collaborator.

Many important film projects and partnerships have resulted by attending this magical evening. Watch for my emails for all the details, but make your reservations now as this event sells out every year. Go here to make your reservation www.imaginenews.com And remember your reservation automatically begins, renews or extends your subscription to IMAGINE for 2020. You don’t want to miss out on receiving each and every edition of IMAGINE delivered to your home or office.

This special party and a subscription to boot, makes a wonderful stocking stuffer or Christmas Gift. It’s thoughtful, filled with a fun evening and the subscription lasts all year. It doesn’t get any better than that. And you will be supporting the publication that supports your industry and supports and promotes our industry jobs and Film Tax Credits.

We are always so tuned into what’s happening right here in our marketplace, but it’s good to remember that our talent here is hired around the world. Case in point, Alexander E. von Richthofen, CEO and Producer at AARI Productions, has hired Elaine M. Rogers of Sennott Williams & Rogers Boston and New York as agent for their movie production RETURN OF THE GOLEM. The idea, conceptualization and screenplay have been written by Aliana Brodmann, renowned writer of numerous novels and contributing
journalist to several newspapers.

Germany’s largest film studio, the Studio Babelsberg in Berlin, has signed on as co-producer to this commanding mega production. Bringing the illustrious GOLEM, historical arch avenger and forerunner of all later super heroes, into the present turmoil as the charismatic and witty supernatural protector envisioned by the writer of this ingenious story. A prequel, THE GOLEM RISES, based on the 16th Century historical GOLEM Legends is also in the works.Fascinating!

Elaine Rogers is a Boston Entertainment Attorney who also has offices in New York. She has produced, executive produced and provided legal services for many films. Coming directly to my mind is SPIN, which I loved. Shot in Tucson (my home town) and southern Arizona it was a feast for my eyes. The story roped you right in and the acting was superb. Catch it if you can. Also, I remember SEARCHDOG, The story of Matthew Zarrella, a Rhode Island State Police Sergeant who rehabilitates “pound dogs” and turns them into Search & Rescue/Recovery Dogs. Through this fi lm, audiences are exposed to a rare and intimate true story about Matthew, his dogs and his students, and they witness extraordinary moments as he trains them to find missing persons. From Matthew’s video diaries, filmmaker interviews and four
years of real-time searches, we understand his motivation to help others, and his empathic methods of finding the lost and missing. Elaine was theProducer and Executive Producer on these two films respectively.

Another Boston based Entertainment Attorney, Vinca Jarrett, tours the world with films she is attached to and goes to most major film events both here at home and abroad. This week she is off to Paris for a surprise birthday party for a dear friend. Read her story in this IMAGINE as it pertains to CRYPSIS, a film made in Gloucester, Massachusetts, opening this week across the United States.

Sara Archambault has announced her new company Sara Arch + Bow, an independent documentary production company compelled by bold artistic vision and dedicated to uncovering vital, untold stories is working
on projects she is deeply passionate about.

After ten years in philanthropy and programming, She’s committing to the adventure of independent documentary film producing. Sara previously was the Program Director of the LEF Foundation and curator
of the award winning series The DocYard, held seasonally at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square. Abby Sun will replace her as curator for The DocYard spring series.

The Massachusetts Production Coalition’s MASS EXPO was another success again this year. Held once again at WGBH, I did my best to visit every exhibit and attend the live events. I was particularly attracted to Rethinking and Reinventing Content Creation led by Jeff Rosica, President and CEO of Avid Technology.

No matter where you stand in the creative economy, change is the new normal. Chances are you’re challenged with new ways to think about your work, and how you work, on a regular basis. The volume of quality opportunities available, the way people choose to watch content, and shifts in production technology, mean we’re all working harder and faster than ever.

Soon, I think, half the population will be involved in making content. It may not make sense, but content is in very high demand. And here’s something to thinks about. Avid’s Jeff Rosica foretells that faux and fake news is here to stay. They’re not just words to be bandied about. You simply cannot believe what you see and hear as video and sound is exceptionally susceptible to manipulation with the current technology. So as a media consumer, beware. Avid and other companies are working double time to create a technology to provide guidelines and proofs as to whether or not video and/or sound has been tampered with. Wait for it as it is on its way. For now, though, the legendary days of “Walter Cronkite
News” are in the past.

We have such a packed issue that I didn’t have room for a dedicated photo section remembering 2019. I have included a few photos here, but we will post the rest on our website for your viewing pleasure.

It is in my heart to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and Happy New Year. Thank you for your continued support of IMAGINE and our important ongoing Industry Goals to maintain success.

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