Director of MI Film Office speaks about incentives

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LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Some Michigan lawmakers are saying it may be time for Michigan to cut the state’s film incentives, but Thursday the head of the state’s film commission is defending the program.

The Michigan Film Office works with the film makers and decides which projects get part of the state’s $50 million film incentives.

Some lawmakers have proposed cutting those incentives, but the director of the Michigan Film Office, Jenell Leonard, says the incentives bring a lot of value.

Film jobs are not permanent but those workers often branch out into other areas such as software development.

“Michigan was built on the auto industry. It’s the foundation of our state and it needs to be and always will be. We have a strong appreciation for that but there is a growing creative class as well. There needs to be that same respect and appreciation for them. We need them. We need them very much,” Leonard said.

She says about 40 other states have film incentive programs as well. Michigan budgeted $50 million for this year.

Gov. Rick Snyder recommended the same amount for 2016 but lawmakers have not yet approved the budget plan.

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