Reallocation of Film and TV Production To Fund Independent Films

How the Government Can Help Small Filmmakers & Producers

The state movie Whip It was set in Texas. It was about a girl named Bliss waiting for the one moment that will change her boring life as a waitress in Austin. The only problem is that it was shot almost entirely in Detroit. The producers opted to shoot in Michigan when it would have been easier to do it in Austin is the tax cuts that the state offers on all productions that shoot in Michigan that can go up to 42 percent. It greatly helped the state which lost almost one millions jobs since 2000. It has attracted movies like Gran Torino, Up in the Air, and Scream bring more than 8,000 in one year and saved the movies more than $223 million in 2009.

It is a testament of how tax cuts from several movies can save so much, an amount that could be reinvested on other movies.

Proposed Policy

Many movie and TV studios actually openly state that a huge part of their expense goes to taxes. On the other hand, there is another sector that complains about having the right ideas that could progress the quality of the movie and tv industry but not having enough funding to pursue these ideas. If five movies total more than $200 million in taxes, reallocating taxes from two movies of every movie and TV studio to fund independent film. Monumental movies like Memento, Run Lola Run, Primer and Clerks were all made for under $100,000. Many of the movies that Hollywood licensed such as The Eye and Shutter were all made under $10,000. $200 million yearly could easily fund 100 movies that could completely turn around the quality of movies coming from Hollywood.

Benefits and Disadvantages of the Policy

The greatest benefit of providing support to the new filmmakers follows the same model of the commercial market. In the commercial market, when people spend their money on goods and services, it stimulates the economy by increasing the demand. The business owners, in turn, produce more good which offers move jobs to people. This will give people more spending the power. That will start the whole process again.

This model will follow the same process. As the government reallocate the money back to the market, it gives more jobs to people which allow them to have more spending power to support more movies. As more movies make money, more movies will be produced.

The greatest benefit will, of course, be the probable increase in quality of the movies that are being produced as new talents are discovered.

The only disadvantage that is in clear trajectory is the loss that government will incur. $200 million worth of tax is a huge cut from government funding. That could very well be going to infrastructure project, funding for Small and Medium Enterprise, education and other essential projects.

Political, Social, or Cultural Issues that will be Addressed

Art is important. It is, in a sense, the conscience of a nation and it must be nurtured the same way it is critical to nurture the conscience of a country.

The film industry is part of art it is, primarily, a cultural issue. Hollywood, movie making, and television is a great influence in American culture, to some it is also a reflection of the American culture. When its growth is stunted, a huge part of the culture also goes away. American movies have served as a great influence in many other countries to pursue the growth of their own industry.

The other more obvious consequence is the money that the movie industry contributes to the economy of the United States of America. In 2010, the movie industry contributed an estimated $10.89 billion in direct revenue alone. The TV industry could easily double that figure.

How it Supports Free Speech

Giving filmmakers the ammunition to produce more movies is equivalent to providing them more platforms where they can express the messages they will not be able to say otherwise. Memento, for example, was the very first film that brought forward short memory loss disease. It raised awareness about this disease which, apparently, was more common than initially perceived to be. Primer, a winner in the Canne Film Festival, was made for $5,000.00 and dealt with consequences of manipulating time. It was a refreshing message about a subject that is often glamourized.

The reallocation of taxes will create an equal playing field among filmmakers.

How it Promotes Public Interest

The reallocation of taxes will open opportunities to new filmmakers that find it difficult to compete against more established filmmakers and productions houses or those that have direct connection in Hollywood through family connection and other direct association.

Many of the great directors nowadays started with low budget films. Quentin Tarantino started with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels which had a budget of $20,000. Christopher Nolan started with Following with a budget of $1,000. Kevin Smith started with Clerk with a budget of $10,000.00. These directors later on directed movies like Dark Knight, Inception, Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, Scream, and others.

There is also the more obvious benefit of widening an industry that could open new employment, new revenue streams, and a product that could be exported and bring in revenue to the U.S. through licensing and syndication.

Does it Require Federal Enforcement, Industry Enforcement, or Both?

The policy requires a federal enforcement as this would involve tapping into federal money which is raised through taxes. Thus, it would also involve some sort of a participation from the taxpayers.

Film and movies, or other forms of art for that matter, are not really a necessity in the strictest sense of the word. People can get by without it. Thus, having to require that taxpayers to finance the creation of movies would bring a lot of questions and most likely, opposition. Putting money on public TV is another matter. People have the right to know about what is happening but movies and films are things that people can do without.

To a certain extent, it is not a far-fetched idea to have a change like this be endorsed or instigated by the White House.


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