Film Office Approves 'The Citizen' for Incentive

Posted on April 20, 2011

The Michigan Film Office said today it approved a $561,000 tax incentive for the feature film “The Citizen,” the fifth project approved under new guidelines.

Directed by Michigan filmmaker Sam Kadi, “The Citizen” follows a Lebanese immigrant on his journey to becoming an American citizen. The production expects to spend $1.34 million in the state and will shoot in Metro Detroit.

“As we work to attract the best projects to the state, it is especially rewarding when the filmmakers driving those projects are located right here in Michigan,” Carrie Jones, director of the film office, said in a statement. “This project will significantly utilize the film crew and infrastructure as well as locations here in the state, making it a great fit for the incentives.”

The state is reviewing film incentive applications under new guidelines that include Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed $25 million cap on incentives for both fiscal 2012 and 2013. In total, the state has approved seven projects this year totaling $10.6 million in incentives, based on $25.58 million in production spending in the state.

Approval of “The Citizen” leaves about $14.4 million in proposed cash rebates for about 40 applicants. Michigan film industry supporters are lobbying the Legislature to appropriate more money than the governor’s $25 million cap.

The Film Office is giving preference to projects that it says have the best economic impact on Michigan, such as using existing studios or facilities, creating jobs for Michigan residents, proposing to spend a lot of money in the state and showing Michigan in a positive light.

Film applications are being reviewed by a Michigan Economic Development Corp. committee and Jones.

Last week, the state announced it approved a $1.84 million incentive for Vietnam-era film “AWOL,” which tells the story of a Michigan soldier and is set in Ann Arbor and surrounding areas. It also recently approved a $1.06 million incentive for the third season of HBO series “Hung”; $5.26 million for the film “Five Year Engagement,” set to star Jason Segel and Emily Blunt; and a $1.8 million incentive for post-production work on “Spy Kids 4.”

Earlier in the year, it approved incentives for two smaller documentaries, totaling about $74,000 in incentives.

By Melissa Burden, The Detroit News