Category Archives: Politics
I’ve been meaning for a while now to post about Detroit 1-8-7, how awesome it is, and how it’s shot locally, and how it features the people mover actually moving people, but with today’s state budget proposal I figured to go with this since it’s a bit more timely (while also relevant). It’s a surprisingly big deal in the state, and apparently with the Hollywood side of things.
The Michigan Film Industry incentives have been fascinating to observe. On the one hand, they’re just starting to take off. Detroit 1-8-7 is the main TV hit, and it’s struggling; HBO’s Hung is the other big TV show. For films, there are a small number of big-name successes out of the 135 productions: the biggest name is the upcoming remake of Red Dawn, a bit odd considering our latest fears usually revolve around terrorists and not Cold War fantasy relapses, but also include’s Eastwood’s awesome Gran Torino, the Micheal Cera comedy Youth In Revolt, Transformers 3, Cedar Rapids (which I keep seeing ads for and thought it looked awfully local), George Cloony’s upcoming Up In The Air, a frightening number of Lifetime movies, and a mix of local films and direct-to-DVD flicks I’ve never heard of before and will probably never hear of again.
On the other hand, it’s pretty cool to have this as a local thing; it promotes an air of creativity compared to the previous “Rust Belt Despondancy” with all those industrial jobs leaving even though we don’t want to work at them any way. It may be a little presumptuous, and the amount of interest some people (and the local news companies) give the films industry is probably way too optimistic, unreasonably so. It’s not quite a Music Man story yet, compared to the people mover (that shitty monorail you see in the background of Detroit 1-8-7, which approximately ten people ride per day, if it happens to be operating) or Autoworld (the Flint equivalent of Disneyland, which is, of course, abandoned).
But it’s had an interesting start. There’s been a lot of growth in the past three years; Michigan creative-type students (film and video, comm, writing, et al) get a morale boost thinking they can won’t necessarily have to leave the state/can get easy; it could indeed surpass the fading auto industry to become Michigan’s second largest industry in terms of employment and economics (last time I checked, it was Michigan’s wineries and microbreweries at the top). And there’s this dorky glee when I watch locally-filmed stuff: I saw Gran Torino when at college, and it was like being home. (Well, close to being at my current home, because it was like seeing my great aunt’s old home, but close enough.)
So, in sum. It’s fascinating to locals who develop a bit of a pipe-dream complex, but it’s also turning around a lot of niche markets in the state (hospitality and tourism management majors have a job in a hotel/catering outfit near you), and is a much better way to promote the state than the auto industry (bailouts), tourism (sadly dying), and the produce/wineries segment (which only works for half the state). Now, the Michigan Film Industry’s on the rocks, and not in the good way.