NEWLY FORMED WEST MICHIGAN FILM OFFICE EXPECTED TO LEAD REGIONAL ECONOMIC GROWTH IN EMERGING INDUSTRY
A number of film companies are already inquiring about West Michigan
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (July 15, 2008) – The West Michigan Tourist Association (WMTA) announced today the official opening of the West Michigan Film Office (WMFO), which will work to bring filiming and production of feature films to communities throughout West Michigan. The announcement was made from the set of the feature film, “Tug,” which will star Sam Huntington and Haylie Duff, being shot by Hopwood DePree at his TicTock Studios in Holland. Three other films are set to be shot in West Michigan pending approval of the state incentives.
The WMFO is led by Rick Hert, executive director of WMTA. Hert has more than 25 years of experience recruiting all size film projects and has put together more than 100 different successful projects in his previous work.
“The new incentives from the state of Michigan have really opened a lot of doors for both filmmakers and Michigan businesses,” said Hert. “With the eyes of many of these filmmakers now on Michigan, we need to be proactive with our efforts and be ready to assist as necessary. The economic impact of a large film project will do great things for the region, and our office plans to be a leader in bringing this business to West Michigan.”
The formation of the WMFO is related to the WMTA’s mission, and the hope is that bringing filmmakers here will benefit West Michigan’s tourism industry. WMFO is already working with 55 different CVBs, Chambers and other economic development organizations from around West Michigan.
As part of the WMTA, the WMFO can also offer a great value to filmmakers through the numerous WMTA members, linking film prospects with the many available locations and resources. West Michigan offers a wide array of locations from the skyscrapers of downtown Grand Rapids to the sand dunes of Silver Lake.
“Having the WMFO and personnel ready on the west side of the state is going to present Michigan as being very film-ready,” said Janet Lockwood, director of the Michigan Film Office. “We look forward to excellent cooperation, communication and sharing of all information as it comes into either office. Production companies will be very happy to work with a regional film office. The bottom line results in more economic impact for West Michigan, more industry jobs and more tourism.”
The WMFO will work closely with the MFO that is based in Lansing, identifying film leads that would work well in a West Michigan setting. The Michigan film incentives legislation, which took effect in April 2008 has already brought in more than $200 million in film revenue to Michigan.
Founded in 1917, WMTA is the oldest continually operated regional tourist association in the nation. Representing 41 counties from the Michigan-Indiana state line to Mackinac Island and covering the entire west half of the Lower Peninsula, WMTA is dedicated to proving that “Nobody Knows West Michigan Like We Do!” For more information, visit www.wmta.org.