My name is Ashaki “Saki” Fenderson. I was born and raised in Boston. I left my hometown to learn the craft of filmmaking, but returned to Boston in the mid-90s only to be greeted by a lull in the film/video production industry. I remember the frustration and grind for work. I remember the struggle of coming from the Roxbury and Dorchester communities without the financial support to remain in such a unconventional and inconsistent industry.
At the time of my return, Boston was competing with NYC, Canada and, at one point, New Orleans and Providence — all cities which “subbed” for Boston because of their tax incentives. The boon created by the film tax incentive has not only benefited crew members with steady income, but also home owners and businesses in lower-income communities, including Roxbury, Lowell, and Chelsea. Large studios have come to the state with rentals that home owners and local businesses could never have received from most other industries.
Supporting the film tax incentive is not an issue of offering a tax break to big studios but rather supporting careers for Massachusetts residents and opportunities for local businesses…same as every other industry coming to the state.