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in Filmmaking
on Feb 23, 2009

Ted Hope has an impassioned editorial on the Tribeca Film site about the calamity that is the stalling out of the New York State Film and Television Tax Credit program. In the piece, which carefully details not only the economic but also creative disaster that will be caused by a cessation of the program, Hope raises a great question:

All New York filmmakers—and those dependent on them—got a quick lesson two weeks ago, when we learned that the New York tax credits had run out of money. It hit everyone as a shock, but did it really need to? It couldn’t have come as a surprise that $500M was gone—or that it was being spent far quicker than expected. This wasn’t some sort of Madoff swindle. It was something that was easy to calculate or predict if you knew what films and TV shows were shooting in the state. But it seems that no one was doing that calculation. I wasn’t. Our politicians evidently weren’t. And neither were our industry’s leaders, organizations, or guilds. What’s up with that?….

I have found this city to be the greatest creative inspiration for me, but who can really afford to remain here anymore? It is expensive to live here. It is expensive to shoot here. The tax credits were the great leveler: they brought full employment to the filmmaking community, and they brought the costs of filming down for the financiers.

The cycle of each generation of NYC filmmakers recruiting the next is in jeopardy—and with that we can expect fewer films will be made in our city. Filmmakers will always be able to make the super low budget films here, but will they be able to make the ones that are decently financed enough to catapult them to the world stage? Will they even be able to afford to live here?

Read the entire piece at the link, and if you haven’t signed the petition protesting the cuts, you can do so here.

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