Category Archives: Screenwriter

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I am an African American woman who is interested in every aspect of independent filmmaking. I am currently putting together my first short film and funding it myself. I also live in Massachusetts. Please do not add another disadvantage to my list.

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I’m Dawna, and I’m a Massachusetts writer/director. My company is scheduled to shoot a feature this summer in the state. We would pull as many local cast and crew as possible — bringing jobs and revenue into the state. Without the Massachusetts film tax incentive, we will go elsewhere to shoot.

Ending the film tax incentive in the Massachusetts will eliminate all those job opportunities AND hurt a Massachusetts small business.

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My name is John Stimpson. I am a writer, director, and editor of motion pictures. I also own H9 Films. I’ve been involved with fifteen feature films, nine of which I directed, and all of which were shot, at least in part, in Massachusetts. I’ve dedicated my career to generating film projects here in the Commonwealth and using local production facilities and local crews, many of whom have been my friends and colleagues for years. We’ve pumped millions of dollars into the local economy, created hundreds of jobs, and launched countless careers.

The Massachusetts film tax incentive has been a significant piece of the financing pie for all of the movies that we’ve made since it has been in place, and I can definitively attest to the fact that if it goes away, so will the work in Massachusetts. I won’t stop making films, but I will be forced to stop making them here.  I urge our legislators and our leadership on Beacon Hill to please think twice before eliminating this incentive and killing our thriving industry in Massachusetts, the state we all call home.

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My name is Cheryl Eagan-Donovan. I’m a documentary filmmaker and screenwriter who makes films in Massachusetts. I also teach film and screenwriting to students. I not only work in the local film industry, I provide opportunities for other professionals to be part of our creative economy. The Massachusetts film tax incentive is crucial to our industry. I urge you to learn more about its impact and take the lead to support the Massachusetts film industry.

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My name is DeMane Davis. This is some of the cast and crew of LIFT, an independent feature film shot in Boston. It was lensed before the Massachusetts film tax incentives were implemented. That means our producers urged us to shoot our Boston-based film somewhere cheaper. When I wrote LIFT, it was always, in part, about this city: Newbury Street, downtown, Roxbury. We fought for our hometown for weeks and, after much negotiation and being forced to cut a scene and lose a character a week before filming, we won.

It was my dream to direct a movie in the place I’m from and love. It was an honor to get to hire local crew and talent. From camera operators and sound mixers, to grips, gaffers, script supervisors, art directors, hair & makeup artists, location managers, editors, production assistants, and transportation coordinators, our production employed 154 people from Boston. A small portion of the crew and seven lead actors were from out of state, but all of them contributed to the economy — they stayed in local hotels, they ate in local restaurants, they shopped in and around Boston, they paid Massachusetts income tax on their earnings, and they told fellow actors and family members about our then-budding film industry. Our shooting schedule was just 21 days. Imagine the amount of work, jobs, and money a larger film with a longer schedule and a bigger budget creates. Envision the businesses that benefit. Picture the fledgling film students it inspires. Pitting working families against people who work in the Boston film industry makes no sense to me.  Thirty-seven other states offer film tax incentives. This is not an anomaly — it supports businesses and tourism and keeps students and potential employers from looking and moving elsewhere.

Every person from Massachusetts in this photo has people who depend on them. Everyone is proud to be from here and wants our cities and towns represented on film. Each one of us knew, back then, how lucky we were to get to live in, work in, and support our state. It has always been my plan to write and direct features and TV shows here and to recreate the incredible experience I had on LIFT, with the support of the Massachusetts film tax incentives. Our livelihood affects countless others. Should the incentives be eliminated, we will have to relocate. Everyone will lose.

 

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I am Federico Muchnik and I have never worked on a major Hollywood feature made in Massachusetts. Yet I am the beneficiary of the tax incentive, having written, produced, directed, and edited a feature film called This Killing Business here in Boston. The budget of the film was in the high five figures and much of that money was spent on paying cast and crew for their services. For starters, let me say I am enormously proud of this film which premiered at the BIFF (Loews Boston Common) and was then distributed by Filmbox/Arthouse.

The camaraderie, professionalism, talent, focus, and endurance (the film was made incrementally over a one year period) brought to the project by cast and crew has provided me with positive memories to last a lifetime.

Second of all, after wrapping the project, I learned through a pal that my film was eligible for the tax incentive, retroactively, and for a considerable amount. Wow, I thought … where do I sign up? I’ve begun the process — working with an experienced film tax incentive accountant — and I’ve submitted my application. To be frank, if I am approved (and there’s every reason to believe I will be), I’ll be very pleased.  The point is that I am encouraged to continue producing in Massachusetts. I know I’m not David O. Russell, chock full of money and responsible for generating millions of dollars of ancillary business, but in my own small way, my cast, my crew, and I all benefit from the tax credit.

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I’m Nicholas Goroff. I’m a trained screen actor and writer originally from New Hampshire. In 2011, I moved down to (and trained in) the “Hollywood of the South,” New Orleans. While there, I got to see what NOLA was like, six years post-Katrina. Though still a mess in many respects, and still desperate for new professionals to move in and new revenue to flow, there was one aspect to the city which served to help put it back to its former glory more than any other — the film industry.

In 2013, Louisiana was the home to more major studio productions than California was, and it was all thanks to two major components: the first was the tax incentive plans they put into place that enticed the film industry to come to their state (and come it did); the second was the homegrown talent of the creative professionals and technical crew.

Upon returning to New England, I immediately sought work in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I have faith in this region and its people. I see an evolution coming, which will inspire the change we need to bring to the industry and the prosperity that New Orleans currently has (and that Massachusetts needs) and bring about the culture and artistic enrichment that a creative industry like film can provide.  The Massachusetts Film Tax Credit has done, and will continue to do that.

I believe we can win this fight to protect the evolving film industry we all love so much.

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