Friday, December 18, 2009

Tax Credit Review Public Meeting

This week, the state hosted two Tax Credit Review Panel meetings in Cedar Rapids and Urbandale.  Both meetings were well attended, especially by supporters of the Film, Television and Video Promotion Program. On Wednesday, the Iowa Motion Picture Association presented at the Tax Credit Panel Review Public Meeting in Urbandale. 

A copy of our presentation can be viewed below. The presentation focuses on the economic impact that the industry provides and details our suggestions for the program moving forward.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tax Credit Review Report And Public Meeting Agendas Released

The Iowa Department of Management released the agency tax credit reports and the public meetings agendas. The report includes data and information on the tax credit programs submitted by the state agencies that administer the tax credit programs. The public meetings will take place tomorrow in Cedar Rapids and Wednesday in Urbandale.

Click here to view the public meeting agendas.

Click here to view the agency tax credit report.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

IMPA to Present at Tax Credit Panel Meeting

Next week, the state is holding two Tax Credit Review Panel meetings.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 from 9 am – 12 pm
Kirkwood Center for Continuing Education, Room 159 D and E,
7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW
Cedar Rapids, IA

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 from 1 pm – 4 pm
Urbandale Public Library, Meeting Room A/B
3520 86th Street
Urbandale, IA

After these public meetings, the panel will report recommendations to the Governor for each tax credit program, including oversight, accountability, transparency, public reporting, cost-benefit, and which programs should be continued, curtailed and/or eliminated.

IMPA has accepted an invitation from the Governor to present on the impact of the Iowa Film Tax Credit Program.  IMPA will be conducting a five minute presentation at the Urbandale meeting.  One of the key points, we will make is that production jobs are “high quality.”

In addition to the presentations of stakeholder groups, the Review Panel will also take general public comment in two forms:

1. Through a public comment period at the end of each meeting
2. Through a comment form which is currently available on the Governor’s website,

Friday, December 4, 2009

Crossroads 2009 - Film Recap

Film enthusiasts and professionals attended Crossroads Entertainment and Arts Experience in Des Moines on December 3.  The day was packed with seminars and a showcase event in the evening.

Tom Whitus and George Maranville of Silver Hills Pictures, held an entertaining and educational workshop on their "reverse-engineering" approach to producing their films and talked about their positive experience of shooting "Sam Steele and the Junior Detective Agency" in Iowa.  Later in day at the Des Moines Social Club, attendees enjoyed a free screening of the film which featured several high profile Des Moines locations: Des Moines Art Center,  Salisbury House, Meredith Corporation,  and the Des Moines Police Station.

At the showcase event, attendees recorded their Iowa Film Story at the Advocacy Booth, learned about the Iowa Motion Picture Association, had headshots taken and critiqued by the Iowa Casting Association and networked with colleagues.  IMPA, along with Amy Johnson, IDED, and Becky Gruening, Greater Des Moines Film Commission, presented an update on the Film Promotion Program, the economic impact of the film industry and a collection of trailers from productions that were filmed in Iowa.  To view the presentation, press the play button in the slide viewer below.

Thank you to all of the IMPA members who volunteered, Iowa Tix. 4th Street Theatre, Vaudeville Mews, West End Architectural Salvage, and the Des Moines Social Club who helped make this event such a success!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Join us at Crossroads Entertainment and Arts Experience 2009

IMPA is proud to announce our sponsorship of the Crossroads Entertainment and Arts Experience on December 3rd and 4th in Des Moines. Crossroads will offer the Iowa Film Community an opportunity to network, learn and celebrate our accomplishments.  The two days will be packed full of seminars and showcases featuring the finest talent in music, film, theatre, art, food and beverage.

The focus of December 3 is Film and Theatre.  All events on December 3rd are FREE! Here are the events that are geared to our industry:

How Film is Made Workshop - 9 am @ 4th Street Theatre
Tom Whitus,  writer, director and producer, and George Maranville, editor, of “Sam Steele  and the Junior Detective Agency.” In their workshop, Mr. Whitus and Mr.  Maranville will share information on the Silverhills Pictures business model,  including financing, distribution and production.

Working in Film Roundtables - 11 am @ West End Architectural  Salvage
Multiple tables for you to rotate between and speak directly to film professionals about how to break into professional film.

“Sam Steele and the Junior Detective Agency” Screening - 3:30 pm  @ Des Moines Social Club
The Iowa premier of Sam Steele and the Junior Detective Agency. Starring Luke Perry (Beverly Hills 90210), M. Emmet  Walsh (Christmas with the Kranks), Jacob Hays (Disney's Really Short Report).   Featuring many high profile locations including DM Art Center,  Salisbury House, Meredith Corporation, DM Police Station.

Film and Theatre Showcase - 6 pm – 12 am @  Des Moines Social Club
6 pm  -  8 pm    Open Networking and Information Booths

  • Iowa Motion Picture Association
  • Iowa Film Commissions
  • 48-hour Film Project
  • Advocacy Station – Record your Iowa Film Story for IMPA’s YouTube channel and sign up to become a Film Industry District Leader, part of our grassroots efforts
  • Casting Room - Meet three professional casting directors; have your head shot and resume reviewed; and have a picture taken for the Iowa Casting Association files.

8 pm – 9 pm Iowa Film Presentation
Presentation that includes film trailers and industry stats and address by IMPA and DM Film Commission

9:30-10:00 pm    2009 48HFP Presentation
2009 participants took it up a  notch, proving the Iowa’s indie scene is thriving. Come enjoy a showcase of  films from 2009 and a look ahead to the 2010 event with Sam Tuomi, 48 Hour Film Project Producer.
Full details on the conference can be found at

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Suspension Lifted for Films with Contracts and Approval

Yesterday, Attorney General Tom Miller announced that the suspension of the Iowa Film Promotion Program had been lifted by Governor Chet Culver. The state plans to award tax credits to productions under contract after proper documentation has been submitted and reviewed and will enter into contract discussions with productions who received approval prior to the suspension. No new productions will be allowed to apply until after the Governor and the legislature have a chance to review the program during the next session

The Iowa Motion Picture Association has actively advocated for the suspension to be lifted and is pleased with the Governor's decision and that the program will be reinstated with increased oversight. We continue to be optimistic about the future of the program and will advocate for a program that provides a net economic gain to the state of Iowa and encourages growth of the Iowa Film Industry.

Links to News Stories
Des Moines Register

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Industry Update Meeting

The IMPA invites the public to tomorrow’s Industry Update Meeting that will take place prior to the opening of the Wild Rose Independent Film Festival (WRIFF) at the Iowa Historical Building at 5 pm.  There is no cost to attend the meeting but all events following the meeting require the purchase of a pass.

Along with the IMPA, the Iowa Scriptwriters Alliance and the Iowa Casting Association will share the latest news concerning the suspension and our associations’ future plans to help foster the Iowa Film Industry with or without the tax incentives.  There will also be time for you to ask questions and share your ideas.

The IMPA will also be hosting an information and interview booth. Please stop by to say hi and sign up to share your Iowa Film Story for the IMPA YouTube channel.  For more information on our YouTube campaign, please visit .

Due to our sponsorship of the WRIFF, IMPA members who purchase a full festival pass on Thursday will receive a discount rate.  The WRIFF Full Festival Pass covers admittance to all of the screenings, but not the workshops or seminars.  This pass in normally $75 but IMPA members who purchase the pass on Thursday will receive the pass for $50, a $25 dollar savings.  This rate is only available for purchases made on Thursday.  A full listing of films and the screening schedule can be downloaded here, .

IMPA’s YouTube Channel - Share Your Iowa Film Story

IMPA has created a YouTube Channel at and we need your help to provide content.

There have been many news stories concerning the Iowa Film Promotion Program in the press, but there are many more personal stories that are not being told.  IMPA is asking you to help us by sharing your experiences in the Iowa Film Industry and the positive impact the Iowa Film Promotion Program has made in your life and community.

Visit to download full details on how to submit your personal Iowa Film story and have it included on our YouTube channel.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

IMPA’s Response to Recent Iowa Film Promotion Program Developments

On Monday, October 5, 2009, there were several developments concerning the Iowa Film Promotion Program:
  • The Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) released the review of the Iowa Film Office conducted by Clifton Gunderson, LLP.
  • Tom Miller, Iowa’s Attorney General, released a statement announcing that his office would be “undertaking a criminal investigation of the Iowa Film Office.”
  • Governor Chet Culver released a written statement stating that he has directed Public Safety Commissioner Gene Meyer to assist with the criminal investigations and after reviewing this report, the film tax credit program should not move forward until interim director Fred Hubbell and the Economic Development Board have received clear direction on the appropriate interpretation of the film program statute and the proper controls and oversight that must be followed.
The IMPA supports the full audit and investigation of the Iowa Film Promotion Program and while the revelations in the review were disturbing, the IMPA believes that the program can be fixed and reinstated quickly by implementing changes in policies and practices, as well as, requiring complete documentation and accountability of all approved production expenses. Our formal recommendations to the IDED can be viewed here.

IMPA is dedicated to the pursuit of lifting the suspension of the Iowa Film Promotion Program due to our belief that the program provides a positive economic impact to our state and that the reasons for creating the program are still as relevant today as they were in 2007.

The IMPA board and membership includes people with extensive experience in production budgets, project financing, and awareness of other states’ programs. We offer our assistance to help improve the Iowa Film Promotion Program and help maximize the economic, cultural, and social benefits to our state.

IMPA, our members and other industry partners will continue to convey the positive impact that the Iowa Film Promotion Program has had on our state and work for the reinstatement of the program.  IMPA has created a strategic communication plan and will continue to implement various tactics over the upcoming weeks.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Spread the Word that Film Jobs are High Quality

According to the Des Moines Register, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, in an interview on IPTV’s “Iowa Press” is uncertain that the film industry creates high paying jobs in Iowa. The fact of the matter is that the film industry DOES! While the jobs created are not traditional forty-hours-per week with benefits jobs, the jobs pay well and it is possible for Iowans to make a living that fits the Iowa Department of Economic Development 's (IDED) definition of “High Quality Jobs.’

The IDED uses a spreadsheet, which is located at, to determine whether jobs created by companies are eligible for the High Quality Jobs Program. IDED uses the 130% Wage Threshold columns to determine if jobs created are “high quality.” Taking the sum of the 130% wages per hour without benefits and dividing it by the 99 counties in the state, the average high quality job wage is $18.60 per hour.

Movie Crew and Cast jobs are similar to skilled construction trades, were workers are often employed for the duration of a project and then move on to other projects. They are also similar in that they are skilled positions that require specialized training and experience and pay good day rates, usually with over-time. A typical working day on a movie is twelve hours. Day rates range from $150 for entry-level production assistants to $500 for specialized camera operators and $750-$1,000 for stunt and special effects coordinators.

Using a median day rate of $300 or $25 per hour, as an example, an Iowa skilled worker who is employed for twenty-seven 5-day weeks per year would make $40,500 per year. If thirteen of these weeks were a 6-day week, which is fairly common with feature films, this worker would earn an additional $3,900 per year.

While not “traditional,” film industry jobs fit the category of “high quality.” Please share this information with your legislators, the Governor’s office and the IDED staff members.

Visit , to determine who your legislative representatives are and to obtain their e-mail addresses. You can send an e-mail to the Governor through his website, and you can e-mail Amy Johnson, Interim Iowa Film Office manager at and the IDED Board at

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Over 100 people attend the IMPA Press Conference

IMPA wishes to thank the over 100 supporters of the Iowa Film Industry for taking the time to attend yesterday's press conference at the Des Moines Social Club.  Here are just a couple of links to news stories about the event.

WOI  TV - Des Moines
WHO TV - Des Moines
KCCI TV- Des Moines
KGAN TV - Cedar Rapids

We need you to continue to be proactive.  We need to keep sharing our stories about working in the industry and what the Iowa Film Program has meant to you.  Please contact your legislative representatives, the Governor and the Department of Economic Development staff and board members to actively work to lift the suspension of the Iowa Film, Television and Video Project Promotion Program.

Download a copy of the IMPA form letter here.

Click here to view press conference photos.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pack the IMPA and Iowa Film Industry Leaders Press Conference!

Please join us at the IMPA and IA Film Industry Leaders press conference, tomorrow, Monday, September 21st, to show your support of the Iowa Film Program. The press conference will begin at 1 pm at the Des Moines Social Club, located at 1408 Locust Street, Downtown Des Moines.

View the Press Release:

IMPA ALERT: Show Your Support for the Iowa Film Program

Get full details on what the IMPA is doing in response to the recent developments concerning the Iowa Film Program and learn how you can help voice your support.  Click here.