Oct 29, 2020
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Front Page, Industry News

Iowa looks to revive film industry after scandal

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Efforts are under way to revitalize Iowa’s film industry after a scandal over the state’s film tax credit program shut it down in 2009 and sent moviemakers and investors looking elsewhere.

Some film advocates hope to rekindle the industry in Iowa, which is known for “Field of Dreams,” ”Bridges of Madison County” and “Twister,” The Gazette (http://bit.ly/o0Fd01 ) reported Monday.

One initiative is Project Cornlight, which aims to develop Iowa-based films and other projects showcasing Iowa talent and produce at least one independent film in Iowa a year.

Kimberly Busbee, owner of Des Moines-based AriesWorks Entertainment and director of the Wild Rose Independent Film Festival, has signed on as co-director of Project Cornlight, the idea of Mason City native and actress Tanna Frederick.

“It’s a shame the industry crashed because there were problems with the program and the oversight,” Busbee said. “We need to move forward with positive projects and get it built back up.”

A state audit in 2009 showed $26 million of $32 million in tax credits granted to 22 film companies were improperly awarded.

Then-Gov. Chet Culver suspended the program amid reports of abuse and mismanagement. The former director of the Iowa Film Office, Thomas Wheeler, was accused of knowingly helping filmmakers bilk taxpayers. A jury convicted Wheeler last month of felony misconduct in office. Several filmmakers have pleaded guilty to criminal charges or face upcoming trials.

Frederick, who also founded the Clear Lake-based Iowa Independent Film Festival, said it’s been her dream to make professional films and do other projects in Iowa. Plans include films, stage productions, industry workshops and a screenplay competition. She announced last week that she was ready to accelerate the development of Project Cornlight’s first feature film, “Just Beautiful.”

“Project Cornlight intends to inspire and revive the film industry here in Iowa; to foster emerging Iowa filmmakers, actors and writers; to bring back talented Iowa natives now living in other markets; and to grow artistically strong and commercially viable feature films from the Heartland,” according to the news release announcing the program.

Dave Danielson of the Iowa Motion Picture Association said efforts like Project Cornlight are needed to jump-start the film industry. It continues to function in Iowa but has been decentralized by the prolonged absence of an Iowa Film Office, he said.

“There’s activity, but it’s fragmented,” Danielson said. “The people who were here had an amazing experience, and they would like to come back.”

Tim Albrecht, Gov. Terry Branstad’s spokesman, said the governor is interested in opening a new Iowa Film Office.

“The governor believes that filmmaking is good for economic development in Iowa,” Albrecht said. “However, he does not believe that the tax credits that were put forward were particularly effective, and they were badly mismanaged. So the tax credits will not play a part in that.”

Source: Chron.com

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Front Page, Industry News

Iowa looks to revive film industry after scandal

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Efforts are under way to revitalize Iowa’s film industry after a scandal over the state’s film tax credit program shut it down in 2009 and sent moviemakers and investors looking elsewhere.

Some film advocates hope to rekindle the industry in Iowa, which is known for “Field of Dreams,” ”Bridges of Madison County” and “Twister,” The Gazette (http://bit.ly/o0Fd01 ) reported Monday.

One initiative is Project Cornlight, which aims to develop Iowa-based films and other projects showcasing Iowa talent and produce at least one independent film in Iowa a year.

Kimberly Busbee, owner of Des Moines-based AriesWorks Entertainment and director of the Wild Rose Independent Film Festival, has signed on as co-director of Project Cornlight, the idea of Mason City native and actress Tanna Frederick.

“It’s a shame the industry crashed because there were problems with the program and the oversight,” Busbee said. “We need to move forward with positive projects and get it built back up.”

A state audit in 2009 showed $26 million of $32 million in tax credits granted to 22 film companies were improperly awarded.

Then-Gov. Chet Culver suspended the program amid reports of abuse and mismanagement. The former director of the Iowa Film Office, Thomas Wheeler, was accused of knowingly helping filmmakers bilk taxpayers. A jury convicted Wheeler last month of felony misconduct in office. Several filmmakers have pleaded guilty to criminal charges or face upcoming trials.

Frederick, who also founded the Clear Lake-based Iowa Independent Film Festival, said it’s been her dream to make professional films and do other projects in Iowa. Plans include films, stage productions, industry workshops and a screenplay competition. She announced last week that she was ready to accelerate the development of Project Cornlight’s first feature film, “Just Beautiful.”

“Project Cornlight intends to inspire and revive the film industry here in Iowa; to foster emerging Iowa filmmakers, actors and writers; to bring back talented Iowa natives now living in other markets; and to grow artistically strong and commercially viable feature films from the Heartland,” according to the news release announcing the program.

Dave Danielson of the Iowa Motion Picture Association said efforts like Project Cornlight are needed to jump-start the film industry. It continues to function in Iowa but has been decentralized by the prolonged absence of an Iowa Film Office, he said.

“There’s activity, but it’s fragmented,” Danielson said. “The people who were here had an amazing experience, and they would like to come back.”

Tim Albrecht, Gov. Terry Branstad’s spokesman, said the governor is interested in opening a new Iowa Film Office.

“The governor believes that filmmaking is good for economic development in Iowa,” Albrecht said. “However, he does not believe that the tax credits that were put forward were particularly effective, and they were badly mismanaged. So the tax credits will not play a part in that.”

Source: Chron.com

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Front Page, Industry News

Iowa looks to revive film industry after scandal

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Efforts are under way to revitalize Iowa’s film industry after a scandal over the state’s film tax credit program shut it down in 2009 and sent moviemakers and investors looking elsewhere.

Some film advocates hope to rekindle the industry in Iowa, which is known for “Field of Dreams,” ”Bridges of Madison County” and “Twister,” The Gazette (http://bit.ly/o0Fd01 ) reported Monday.

One initiative is Project Cornlight, which aims to develop Iowa-based films and other projects showcasing Iowa talent and produce at least one independent film in Iowa a year.

Kimberly Busbee, owner of Des Moines-based AriesWorks Entertainment and director of the Wild Rose Independent Film Festival, has signed on as co-director of Project Cornlight, the idea of Mason City native and actress Tanna Frederick.

“It’s a shame the industry crashed because there were problems with the program and the oversight,” Busbee said. “We need to move forward with positive projects and get it built back up.”

A state audit in 2009 showed $26 million of $32 million in tax credits granted to 22 film companies were improperly awarded.

Then-Gov. Chet Culver suspended the program amid reports of abuse and mismanagement. The former director of the Iowa Film Office, Thomas Wheeler, was accused of knowingly helping filmmakers bilk taxpayers. A jury convicted Wheeler last month of felony misconduct in office. Several filmmakers have pleaded guilty to criminal charges or face upcoming trials.

Frederick, who also founded the Clear Lake-based Iowa Independent Film Festival, said it’s been her dream to make professional films and do other projects in Iowa. Plans include films, stage productions, industry workshops and a screenplay competition. She announced last week that she was ready to accelerate the development of Project Cornlight’s first feature film, “Just Beautiful.”

“Project Cornlight intends to inspire and revive the film industry here in Iowa; to foster emerging Iowa filmmakers, actors and writers; to bring back talented Iowa natives now living in other markets; and to grow artistically strong and commercially viable feature films from the Heartland,” according to the news release announcing the program.

Dave Danielson of the Iowa Motion Picture Association said efforts like Project Cornlight are needed to jump-start the film industry. It continues to function in Iowa but has been decentralized by the prolonged absence of an Iowa Film Office, he said.

“There’s activity, but it’s fragmented,” Danielson said. “The people who were here had an amazing experience, and they would like to come back.”

Tim Albrecht, Gov. Terry Branstad’s spokesman, said the governor is interested in opening a new Iowa Film Office.

“The governor believes that filmmaking is good for economic development in Iowa,” Albrecht said. “However, he does not believe that the tax credits that were put forward were particularly effective, and they were badly mismanaged. So the tax credits will not play a part in that.”

Source: Chron.com

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