Can Hollywood Help Rescue Michigan?

BY Arts Desk  April 10, 2009 at 4:11 PM EDT

During the filming of “Gran Torino” in the Detroit area, actor and director Clint Eastwood called Michigan “the next film capital of the world.” While it may sound like a joke, Hollywood filmmakers are taking a new look at the Wolverine State.

As Detroit’s auto industry crumbles, leaving the state with the highest unemployment rate in the nation and substantial budget gap, state lawmakers are turning to alternative sources of revenue, notably from the film industry.

In 2007, the Michigan legislature passed an ambitious film incentive package that offers generous tax rebates to filmmakers who produce their films in the state. Under the new tax credit plan, the Michigan Film Office has approved more than 70 film, television and digital media projects, 32 of which were completed 2008, including Eastwood’s ‘Gran Torino’ and an HBO television series pilot. Stars like George Clooney and Hilary Swank have popped up around the state.

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