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Michigan strengthens film incentives

Daniels, Binder, Albom support Huizenga's bill

Michigan has mustered the legislative muscle to enact stronger film incentives with the expected passage of a 16-bill bipartisan package.

Local thesps Jeff Daniels and Mike Binder and author-producer Mitch Albom lent their support to Michigan Rep. Bill Huizenga’s proposal in testimony before a joint House and Senate committee.

“This is an incredible way to show the world all that Michigan’s diverse landscape has to offer,” said Huizenga (R-Zeeland). “We have a rich history in the creative arts, and I believe we will continue that tradition with this aggressive incentive.”

The bills include a 40% cash rebate across the board, with a spending threshold of $50,000. An extra 2% will be added if the company films in one of the state’s 103 core communities. There is no cap, other than a maximum of $2 million salary per employee, and no sunset.

A low-interest loan program will be offered, in addition to an investment tax credit and an infrastructure tax credit program as well as a workforce development rebate for hiring and training current Michigan crew members to a higher level of expertise.

Michigan Film Office director Janet Lockwood said: “With amazing bipartisan support, there is little doubt in my mind that the package will pass, giving Michigan a remarkable incentive.”

Legislation is expected to reach the governor’s desk next week and go into effect April 1.

Features shot in the state include DreamWorks’ “Dreamgirls,” Fox’s “Jumper” and New Line’s “Semi-Pro.”

* * *

Looking for some fetish footage for your next police drama, sci-fi, horror, vampire film or reality TV show?

The Hollywood Bondage Ball, produced by Matthew Grim and Courtney, creators of Club Dungeon and Sexopolis, is opening its doors for film and TV rights to shoot onstage performances and crowd shots.

“We’ve come to realize no other night in Hollywood is quite like this,” said Grim, adding they don’t usually allow footage to be shot of the stage and their guests. “We combine the raw edge of the fetish underground,” he said, “dark burlesque, cyberpunk go-go dancers, bizarre displays of suspended human art… with huge mainstream crowds and celebrity guests.”

To take advantage of the next Bondage Ball, scheduled March 29 at the Henry Fonda Theater (also known as the Music Box), call 323-657-2553 or email Courtney@bondageball.com.

Michael Gross, producer of pics “Ghostbusters 2,” “Beethoven” and “Dave,” said the ball is “cool, like going to a sci-fi convention with an emphasis on sex instead of Wookiees.”

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