Firms join to equip filmmakers

Michigan’s film infrastructure is receiving a significant boost from S3 Entertainment Group, a full-service film production services company based in the state.

S3EG has joined with William F. White Intl., one of North America’s largest production equipment providers, to be the state’s exclusive distribution partner.

S3EG, which also has offices in New York and California, will manage, store, lease, distribute and sell White’s equipment to production teams taking advantage of the state’s lensing incentives.

Michigan offers the highest incentives in the U.S. at 40%, with an additional 2% for pics produced in its “core” communities (Daily Variety, March 18).

S3EG’s team is working on the Clint Eastwood feature “Gran Torino,” currently in pre-production at Michigan locales, and is collaborating with other studios and indie and TV producers for future projects in the state. In addition to production services, the company also provides tax incentive info and processing, travel, bonding and insurance, catering and craft services and film financing.

WFW, a Comweb Group member company, has eight offices across Canada and is one of the largest providers of motion picture, TV and theatrical production equipment. WFW also owns CinequipWhite, a full-service sales company for Canada’s broadcast, video, film, entertainment and theatrical production industry.

“This exclusive arrangement will allow both companies to provide top-quality production equipment services to motion picture and television producers in the United States,” said Paul Bronfman, chairman-CEO of Comweb/William F. White Intl.

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Michigan’s incentives have also spurred plans for the development of City Center Studios, a proposed one-of-a-kind studio designed to bring together government, education and business in support of the state’s growing film industry. The Lansing facility is a partnership between Gillespie Group, a privately held real estate development and management company, and Ahptic Film & Digital, a full-service production and post-production company specializing in 35mm, HD and 4K formats.

“Gillespie Group is committed to the revitalization of downtown Lansing. With film crews, actors and other production people working in the city, retailers, restaurants, hotels and other peripheral businesses are sure to benefit, and the city will continue its trend of realizing a more active and vibrant downtown area,” said Patrick Gillespie, president of Gillespie Group.

The proposed 71,000 square-foot facility will include two 24,000 square-foot stages, full stage services, numerous production offices and amenities, post and screening facilities with 7,000 square-foot total ADR, foley and re-recording stages, color correction suites, a 70-seat screening room with a 30-foot screen, full HD offline/online editorial suites and graphics/animation suites with shared high-speed storage.

Plans for City Center Studios also include the opportunity to provide students with hands-on experience. Discussions are under way with local colleges to hold classes at the facility and offer internships to interested students.

“Both the Colleges of Communication Arts and Sciences and Arts and Letters at Michigan State University are excited about the opportunities that this level of production company provides the city, the state and our MSU students,” said Michigan State U. president Lou Anna Simon.

Gillespie Group specializes in residential, commercial and mixed use developments and has properties in more than 15 residential communities and more than 600,000 square feet of commercial/mixed use space.

Ahptic Film & Digital has assisted in all capacities on more than 30 features and produces commercials and musicvideos, including Nelly Furtado’s latest.

“This project is one of the most tangible results of the recent film legislation enacted,” said Ken Droz, manager of creative and communications, Michigan Film Office. “It creates the perfect confluence of elements required for film production, such as capital investment, infrastructure and the development of a talented, indigenous workforce.”

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