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A moving and fun speech by Lana Wachowski
The most important issue for independent filmmakers these days is survival. How do you make ends meet? Taking rent off the table, filmmakers have room to move. When we shut down our offices at This is that, and I started working out of my kitchen, I got less productive and could share less (and limited my intern use). That won’t happen to you though. Why? Because if you live in San Francisco, the San Francisco Film Society can help you with your office expense by providing you a free office.
The San Francisco Film Society is pleased to announce that, as of September 2012, FilmHouse is open once again in 4,800 spacious square feet of newly-renovated office space located in the bustling Fillmore District. With generous funding from theKenneth Rainin Foundation and additional support from the San Francisco Film Commission, the FilmHouse residency program is designed to offer free office space to filmmakers in various stages of production where they can share talents and resources with their peers.
Open to both narrative and documentary filmmakers, FilmHouse offers a residency of either 6 or 12 months to filmmakers with projects that, through plot, character, theme or setting explore social issues of our time.
|APPLICATION NOW OPEN
|EARLY DEADLINE: October 31|
|LATE DEADLINE: November 7|
I wrote my first piece for the NY Times the other day — and it’s up now! I was fortunate enough to be asked to be the lone male voice in the “Room For Debate” on How Can Women Gain Influence In Hollywood. It’s an excellent discussion and a great group of commentators. It’s also a question that action is not taken on enough.
My piece begins:
Mainstream mass-market film culture is stuck in a deep rut. When making money is the top priority, people produce work and hire people who keep them in power. Call it risk mitigation or cowardice, the lack of women in Hollywood comes from the same root.
Industries are like people: they change only when the pain of the present outweighs the fear of the future. [...]
Don’t you love it when you see a film and want to change the world? Don’t you love it even more when you see a film and learn that that film has already changed the world — and for the better? I sat watching Amy Ziering’s & Kirby Dick’s THE INVISIBLE WAR with my jaw hanging open, literally; my fury growing by the minute. When I was done, my understanding of the world had expanded, and my confidence in the power of film was confirmed.
As informed and engaged as we all are, there are significant acts going on that we may not be cognizant or aware of, but if we — and our representative institutions — don’t take action we are essentially giving consent to continue. Part of the complete definition of cinema these days is engagement and action, and THE INVISIBLE WAR fulfills this commitment (and more). It has made the world a safer place for those that work to make our world safe.
Ziering & Dick not only deliver an argument but provide all of the intimacy and emotional impact that a direct personal relationship usually brings. When you encounter those who have been the victim of a system that seems to endorse and covers up rape in our military forces, you can’t help but be outraged. A female soldier in a combat zone is more likely to be raped by her fellow soldiers than killed by enemy fire.
THE INVISIBLE WAR won the Audience Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. It opens on June 22nd, but thanks to Goldcrest, I am hosting a free screening for those on my list. Hopefully everyone brings a bottle of wine or the beverage of their choice and we discuss it afterwards.
America is in danger of losing a critical part of it’s culture: Independent Film. All throughout this year I have heard one producer or director after another complain they can no longer afford to stay in the business. I know I too feel this on a regular basis. Yet, here in New York, I have seen the crafts and support elements run at close to full employment. Why? The New York State Tax Credits keep television and other productions going at a steady pace.
There is no question that effective tax policy can also be job stimulus.
Without any policy for funding of the arts in America,it is critical that we incentive potential investors to consider backing the arts. It was great to hear (via Entertainment Partners’ Film Incentive Services) that there is a movement afoot to reinstate Fed 181. They pointed out:
Congressmen Howard Berman and David Drier co-sponsored a bill (HR 5793) to extend the federal film incentive program aimed at keeping film production in the U.S. Internal Revenue Code section 181 expired at the end of last year. The current proposal would extend the election to treat film costs as an immediate deduction rather than a capital expense. To qualify, productions must spend ≥ 75% of the compensation on services performed in the U.S.
The Hollywood Reporter points out the many benefits for the country at large.
“Berman and Drier point out that runaway foreign production has become a national issue. With production of movies and TV programs now occurring throughout the United States, this industry creates well-paying jobs and generates tangible economic benefits to cities and states nationwide. A typical motion picture employs 350-500 people. Production jobs have an average salary that is 73 percent higher than the current nationwide average. A major motion picture shooting on location contributes $225,000 on average every day to the local economy, so it is no surprise that it is seen as a critical engine of economic development in many places across the country.
Thus, the lawmakers argue, extension of the tax not only will help to promote well-paying film industry jobs but will have a ripple effect across broad sectors of the economy by generating revenue and employment opportunities for a wide range of local businesses, such as caterers, dry cleaners, lodging, equipment rental facilities, transportation vendors and many others.”
If you live in the States, and work in the arts, the least you can do is call your representatives and urge them to support the bill, HR 5793.