Hawaii Film Blog

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

From Your Mouth to the Legislature's Ears

A recent heated discussion on the Yahoo! Hawaii-Filmmakers' Group on the state of Hawaii's film and television industry produced some compelling testimonies from those working in the trenches of the local industry. Here are some excerpts:

"I have read letters to the editors of local papers proclaiming that movie production companies 'should pay for Hawaii's beauty, just like everyone else,' and should receive zero tax incentives. The fact of the matter is, without tax incentives, the movie people, with their 100's of millions of spending dollars, are NOT going to come here."

"Hawaii does have all the talent that is needed to produce commercially viable films. Hawaii needs to stop thinking of itself as Hollywood's tropical back lot and start thinking of itself as a film production center in its own right. We have the tools and the talent, especially in an age where digital cameras are taking over from film. But we still lack funding sources able to handle full feature films. And here again the Legislature does influence our community...the film tax incentives, had they passed, would have attracted investment capital to Hawaii's productions as well as brining outside productions here...we do need to be realistic at how our business climate looks to investors and producers, and how small actions by the legislature can and do have major consequences for the film community."

"In my opinion, our government, if it truly wants increased tax revenue (which it seems to me at times, is all the government is about) needs to do all it can to entice the major film industry to come to Hawaii."

"Production companies that come here are surprised to find out there are NO prop houses. Construction coordinators ship in their materials (mostly lumber) because local vendors either don't carry the required materials (most likely), or the materials here are not only of poor quality, but are extremely expensive. Making a successful independent film like "Whale Rider" would not improve any of these situations, in my opinion. Our government, opening its eyes, putting its hands in its pockets, and making Hawai'i financially attractive to big projects would help create a vibrant film industry here."

"Biologists say that extinction is what happens when an organism fails to adapt to the changing realities of its environment. The same applies to organizations. Our legislature is failing to adapt to the new environment of greater competition in film incentives. Our legislature is failing to adapt to the new environment of technology which allows Hawaii's beauty to be created elsewhere. Our entire film economy, as a result, is endangered."

Interesting thoughts to noodle on...

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