THE BEELZEBUBS of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts were edged out last night by Puerto Rico’s NOTA for NBC’s Sing-Off Championship. While the BUBS didn’t take home the prize money ($100K) or the Sony Music recording contract, they won the hearts and votes of millions of new fans across America who chose them as one of the two best a cappella groups in the country. NBC’s The Sing-Off was Executive Produced by Newton filmmaker Sam Weisman.
“The Lightkeepers,” the made-on-Cape Cod flick about a pair of women-hating old salts, is a dark-horse candidate for Oscar bling. So says none other than the Hollywood Reporter, which declares that Cape director Dan Adams’ flick gives Richard Dreyfuss his “showiest lead performance since 1995’s ‘Mr. Holland’s Opus.’ ”
For more than 30 years, Berkshire County has been a favored location for an impressive list of big-screen movies. Our Gilded Age mansions and bucolic scenery are likely to be even more attractive now that the state dangles tax-credit carrots and other incentives.
Headed to the movies anytime soon? If the film was shot in Massachusetts, take a closer look at the armoire in that one bedroom scene or maybe the desk in the main character’s office. Either may soon appear at a neighborhood Goodwill – a bit of Hollywood glam for a thrift store price.
As long as the tax incentives debate continues–If the state isn’t careful–whether it’s Plymouth or the group planning to come to SouthField in Weymouth, Massachusetts will seem like a less-than-reliable partner not only in the eyes of film executives but in the eyes of other industries, which are being wooed in hopes they will bring the jobs Massachusetts needs to thrive.
“We had many visitors who came to Rockport this past season, at least in part, because of the movie,” said Rockport Chamber of Commerce manager Peter Webber. “Several visitors with whom I spoke at the information booth mentioned seeing Sandra Bullock on either the (David) Letterman Show or Regis (Philbin) and Kelly (Ripa) speak in glowing terms about Rockport and with her experience here while filming the movie.”
Bay State entries at the 2009 Golden Globes: Matt Damon & Sandra Bullock.
Take a lesson, people, and toughen up. If we want Hollywood to respect us in the morning, we need to treat the movie biz with casual disdain, just like the folks in LA.
The Sundance Film Festival takes its show on the road.
Domestic ticket sales are up a healthy 8% over 2008, with the box office only days away from eclipsing 2008’s record-breaking haul of $9.64 billion in ticket sales.
Matt Damon wishes he could work in Boston again. Ben Affleck has just made two back-to-back flicks in Boston: “The Company Men” with Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones and “The Town” with Jon Hamm and Blake Lively, which he is directing and taking the lead role. “I’m very jealous and I’m planning my countermeasures as we speak,” Damon declared, adding that the Massachusetts tax incentives that have lured lots of big-budget flicks to the Bay State will help make his countermeasures a reality. “You ask the Teamsters in New York and that’s what they tell you, everything’s happening in Boston.” Damon said he believes the incentives are a no-brainer for the state. “The movie business is a light-footprint industry,” he said. “It doesn’t pollute. We don’t knock down trees. We just turn on our cameras and leave behind piles of cash.”
“It’s an explosion of work and the future is incredibly bright,” said Dona Sommers, executive director of the New England office of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Screen Actors Guild, which manages more than 2,500 union actors within the region. Local movie studio development may be struggling, but for those in the casting business, the story of film in Beantown remains a feel-good blockbuster. “The local acting community has never had so many opportunities for work before, and I can only see that growing with every passing year,” said Sommers.
The backers of Plymouth Rock sincerely want to build a studio in Massachusetts. And in a better economy, they might have an easier time lining up investors. But while proponents of the studio deserve credit for their imagination, they should build their dream with private money.
“Knight & Day” leading man Tom Cruise took to his Web page yesterday to thank the “wonderful people of Boston” for rolling out the red carpet for his cast and crew. “My family and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your warmth and hospitality during our incredible stay here,” wrote Cruise, who began filming “Knight & Day” (then called ‘Wichita’) with Cameron Diaz on Sept. 15 in Worcester. “We absolutely love Boston and will treasure our memories of the Freedom Trail, the Duck Tours, the museums, restaurants, and gorgeous parks. It was an autumn to remember!”
Now in its 15th year, Powderhouse Productions, located in Somerville’s Davis Square, develops and creates “dazzlingly original, award-winning factual and alternative entertainment for television and emerging media,” according to the company’s tagline, shown on cable channels such as PBS, TLC, Discovery, History, National Geographic and Animal Planet across the country and around the world.
State Rep. Ronald Mariano said the current situation is regrettable, but he’s optimistic. “Tri-Town is doing as well now as it’s ever done,” the Quincy Democrat said. “Have we had missteps and setbacks? Absolutely. It was trial-and-error for a while there. But I think we’re on the right track.”
“It’s certainly a bump in the road,’’ said David Kirkpatrick about the Prosperity debacle. And then Kirkpatrick returned his attention to the most critical remaining task. He’s trying once again to find the money to build his studio. “We’re going to try to persist and drive through this,’’ he said. “We do have some alternatives that we’re looking at right now. And we are hopeful and optimistic that those might emerge.’’
It’s a pity the developers of a major film soundstage project planned for Plymouth have lost their financing, just as the commonwealth’s profile as a go-to state for movie productions is on the rise. But neither the developers nor their supporters on Beacon Hill ought to get any ideas about taxpayers stepping into the breach. This project has terrific potential and we wish the developers well in putting a deal together. But by heavily subsidizing film production costs, the taxpayers are already doing their fair share.
“You’d be amazed at the number of people who are involved in the production of a 30 second commercial. We hire dozens of people, and there are also the local services that we purchase, such as transportation and supplies. Not to mention all the restaurants, hotels, and tourist destinations that get extra business.” said Jim Bacharach of John Hancock. “I think that looking ahead we will always think of Massachusetts first for shooting our commercials. ”
“Like any development project, it is a difficult process,” Murray said. “And it is up to the studio now to go out and find other financing. With the possibility of the economy improving, and the project’s ability to generate short-term and long-term jobs, the community remains hopeful that there are other lenders who will see the great value of this project.”