On Making Memphis a Movie Mecca
Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commissioner Linn Sitler recently had a letter to the editor published in The Commercial Appeal, responding to a column addressing film incentive issues.
Here's what Linn said in the letter headlined "Making Memphis a Movie Mecca" that ran Sunday, July 10:
Carol L. Gothe's passionate and well-written column (June 26, "Why not build on city strength for job growth?") expresses the widespread desire in Memphis and the Mid-South to have the movie industry -- big movies, small movies, independent movies, studio movies -- flourish once more in our area. Her frustration is felt by us all -- and most especially by The Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission. However, let's give Gov. Bill Haslam's new administration a chance. He did make a small but significant symbolic gesture of support for the film industry by placing $2.5 million into the administration's film incentives fund.
State Sen. Mark Norris, state Rep. Steve McManus and Mayors A C Wharton and Mark Luttrell have been earnestly at work with the new administration. Filming incentives were at the top of both mayors' legislative agendas this last session. MemphisED also placed it at the top of theirs.
Admittedly, former governor Phil Bredesen's administration made a very big mistake when not coming up with the final $1.8 million in film incentives/investment package to secure Craig Brewer's "Footloose." This mistake will become even more obviously horrific with the film expected to open to acclaim and big box office this fall.
Let's all let our state representatives and senators know that we want the big business -- the jobs of the movie industry again. Most important, the new administration needs to know. And a big note of appreciation to all our elected officials who have already been quietly working behind the scenes to make this happen.