As California legislators worked toward a landmark deal that would more than triple annual funding for California’s film and TV tax credit program, Hollywood’s chief lobbyist invited film commissioners around the country to attend “an important industry discussion.”
In an email sent to film commissioners, Chris Dodd, the former senator from Connecticut and chairman of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, asked film industry officials to attend a “MPAA/Film Commissioner Summit” in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 29.
“We will discuss how to better partner to garner additional legislative and other political support for your jurisdiction’s production incentive program,” states the email, a copy of which was obtained by the Los Angeles Times. “Hear from film commissioners how (the) MPAA can help with your production incentive program. Learn about MPAA’s exciting new marketing and social media campaigns/initiatives.”
On one level, it’s not surprising that MPAA would host such a gathering. After all, Dodd and his colleagues frequently promote film incentive programs. The MPAA also routinely conducts research touting the economic benefits of filming in rapidly growing film hubs such as Georgia and New York.
Nonetheless, the timing of the conference is unusual because it comes so soon after California lawmakers moved to expand their own incentives.
Kate Bedingfield, a spokeswoman for the MPAA, said the meeting was scheduled several weeks ago - the initial invites were sent July 25 - and was not in response to California’s action. Many film commissioners will already be on the East Coast to attend a film industry conference, she noted.