Ben Hogan Mobile Phone App Approved for Digital Media Credit

New app takes advantage of Michigan’s fine golf courses and growing digital media sector.
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LANSING – The Michigan Film Office announced today that Ben Hogan Lessons Mobile Application has been approved for a digital media incentive from the state. The project, led by Royal Oak-based Pixofactor, adapts the classic book Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by golf icon Ben Hogan into an instructional and interactive app for mobile phones

The application, which will be developed for smart phones like the iPhone and Android, will feature golf fundamentals explained and demonstrated with interactive animation. The Michigan Film Office has previously approved incentives for Ben Hogan Five Lessons Wii Game and the interactive website Ben Hogan Five Lessons Interactive Experience

“Michigan is home to some of the best golf courses in the nation as well as a growing digital media sector making the state an ideal fit for this project,” said Carrie Jones, director of the Michigan Film Office. “Often, the digital media component of the incentives gets overlooked, but the jobs associated with this industry have enormous potential for our state.”

Ben Hogan Lessons Mobile Application was awarded an incentive of $78,440 on $196,100 of projected in-state expenditures. The team working on the project will include 8-10 individuals according to Pixofactor.

“We are delighted with this approval.  We have clients that understand the talent pool here in Michigan and have been waiting anxiously to bring more development to the state,” said Sean Hurwitz, CEO of Pixofactor.  “The local universities are developing tremendous young programmers that are trained in the mobile and online social space, which is still in its infancy.  This enormous market will rapidly impact permanent jobs here in Michigan.”

The mobile phone application is designed to improve players’ golf games by virtually teaching them the legendary swing of Hogan, considered one the greatest golfers of the 20th century. The previous Ben Hogan interactive experience and Wii game were the first interactive website and video game to be approved for tax incentives by the Michigan Film Office. The Ben Hogan Mobile Application will be the first phone application to be approved for the incentives.

This is the 11th project approved under the new policy and guidelines issued by the Michigan Film Office. In 2011, 13 projects have been approved with $19,643,920 in incentives being awarded on $47,234,336 of approved production expenditures for the year. These projects are expected to create 1,412 Michigan hires with a full time equivalent of 311 jobs.

All applications for film incentives receive a thorough review by a Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) committee comprised of the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, the Senior Vice President of Policy, the Vice President of Business Development and the Director of the Michigan Film Office.

The current statute is used to guide approval decisions. Preference is given to projects that best meet the following criteria:production is financially viable; utilization of existing infrastructure (studios, post-production facilities, film labs, etc.);number and wage levels of direct jobs for Michigan residents created by a production; ability to show Michigan in a positive light and promote the state as a tourist destination; magnitude of estimated expenditures in Michigan.

The film incentive program will continue to be jointly administered by the Michigan Film Office and the Department of Treasury and all projects must be approved in concurrence with the state treasurer. Since the incentives took effect in April 2008, the Film Office and the Department of Treasury have approved a total of $380,709,734 in film incentives on $968,607,440 in total qualified expenditures by productions in Michigan. This represents 218 projects that have been approved to date, including 141 projects that have actually wrapped in the state.

The Michigan Film Office was created in 1979 to assist and attract incoming production companies and promote the growth of Michigan’s own film industry. The Film Office also administers the incentive program for film, television and other digital media production in Michigan, as well as infrastructure development and workforce training.

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