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