Two Feature Films Approved for $200K in State Tax Incentives


The Michigan Film Office has approved tax incentives of nearly $200,000 for two feature films — The Funeral Guest and Saugatuck Cures — being shot in and around metro Detroit, Lansing, and the southwest part of the state.

“These two projects are great examples of the types of Michigan-based, independent films we are working to support,” says Margaret O’Riley, director of the Michigan Film Office. “In both cases, local crew are being hired and Michigan landmarks are being showcased.”

The Funeral Guest received an incentive of $153,506 on $518,280 of projected in-state expenditures and is expected to hire approximately 86 Michigan workers. Filming began this week in Lansing, East Lansing, and metro Detroit and is expected to wrap up at the end of November. The film follows the story of Emily, a socially isolated woman, and her attempt to find an emotional connection by attending strangers’ funerals.

Saugatuck Cures began filming in southwest Michigan in mid-October and will conclude over the weekend. The film received a state incentive of $42,608 on $147,162 projected in-state expenditures and expects to hire 50 Michigan workers.

Produced by Michigan native Joseph Scott Anthony, the comedy follows a volunteer firefighter who embarks on a road trip with his best friend to raise money for his mother’s medical bills. Along the way, they encounter unexpected antics. Cast members include Glee’s Max Adler, Judith Chapman from The Young and the Restless, and Ann Arbor native Danny Mooney.

The projects were two of the 33 films to be awarded with incentives during the 2013 fiscal year. In total, the Michigan Film Office awarded nearly $38 million on $141 billion of production expenditures for 2013. The projects are expected to create 2,132 Michigan jobs.

“Incentives are the main draw to film (in Michigan), but once they get here they find we have really great locations and a talented and hard working crew-force and infrastructure,” says Michelle Begnoche, spokeswoman for Pure Michigan. “Incentives lure (new and) repeat customers … we get calls every week from productions of all sizes.”

The Michigan Film has been marketing the state’s film industry not only through tax incentives but also by participating in trade shows and conferences across the country. Recent films shot in Michigan include Writers Block, Pirates Code, and Transformers IV. Warner Bros. Superman-Batman film — starring Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, and Amy Adams — will begin production in 2014.