Friday, March 19, 2010

Save our Film Office!
An open letter to New Hampshire State Legislators:

I’m writing today to ask for your help.  House Bill 1664 threatens to close the one-person State Film Office.  It’s an office that I can’t live or work without. It has introduced me to other filmmakers in the state, which has lead to productions such as the Public Service Announcement (PSA) that I produced for Big Sisters of Rhode Island in a Providence, RI, 7DayPSA competition. We shot the piece at the Concord Boys and Girls Club with the help of state filmmakers, including a last-second assist from Matthew Newton of the NH Film Office who helped find us a sound system when ours failed.

The all-volunteer effort included the help of more than 80 individuals and brought more than 40 actresses from around New England to Concord, NH. Though it was only a one-day shoot, we contributed to the state’s bottom-line in local coffee and sandwich sales and in toll revenue from the actors who drove up from Boston and Providence.  I am proud to report that our PSA took first place, is airing in Rhode Island, and is being nominated for an Emmy Award.

Moreover, during the project our director, a New Hampshire resident who normally works out of his New York City office, met the CEO of Hatchling Studios in Portsmouth who served as our editor. The following week the two of them, plus another New Hampshire cameraman, drove to New York City for a day of shooting and then returned to New Hampshire to edit the ad campaign for the popular men’s fragrance Axe.

The Axe project exemplifies how the NH Film Office has brought together filmmakers, which has led to work in the state. The editing would have normally taken place in NYC, but instead it happened in Portsmouth, NH. All because a one-man office has brought together filmmakers on a quarterly basis to meet each other, discuss projects, and brainstorm future productions.

As a part-time professor at UNH-Manchester I have also been able to send many interns through the office. Several of them now work in jobs that are closely related to the film and television industry.

The one-person State Film Office represents an extremely minor portion of the overall state budget, yet it is crucial to the filmmakers who call New Hampshire home. It is also vital to the bottom-line in this state, bringing in documented revenue each year (see stats at the end of this note).

Please help us amend the bill and save the State’s Film Office, a gem in this great state of ours.

Thank you,

Some important facts about the New Hampshire Film & Television Office:

1.             From July 2008 to June 2009, the New Hampshire Film & Television Office helped bring in an estimated total production spend of just over $1,000,000 into New Hampshire. That's $9.22 for every $1 spent to fund the New Hampshire Film & Television Office. (This is a conservative estimate and does not apply any kind of economic impact multiplier.)
2.            In 2000, the New Hampshire Film & Television Office Production Directory listed 46 production companies doing business in the state. In 2010, our directory currently lists 100 production companies, up from 46 in 2000 - an increase of 117%.
3.            There are currently 438 professional media production individuals and companies listed in our directory - taxpayers who are currently being served by the New Hampshire Film & Television Office.
4.            During Fiscal Year 2009, the New Hampshire Film & Television Office responded to 104 production-related inquiries.
An additional note:
The NH Film Office is slated to help me and Red River Theatres bring the 7DayPSA competition to New Hampshire this fall. It will pair volunteer filmmakers with worthy Granite-state charitable organizations that might not otherwise be able to afford to create a Public Service Campaign. The winning PSAs will air on WMUR for a year after the October Awards Ceremony held at Red River Theatres.  This competition might not be possible without the help and support of the NH Film Office; please keep this vital resource open for the state’s filmmakers.
Thank you.

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