Tag Archives: movie

Bill, Butch, Sundance and SOTS III — A Review

In what was unquestionably his best State of the State speech ever, Gov. Bill Haslam announced last week that “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is one of his favorite movies. He especially liked the scene where the Butch and Sundance jump off a cliff.
There were a lot of other announcements in Haslam’s third State of the State (SOTS) speech, enough to make your head spin if you try to keep track of state governmental doings. That was part of the beauty of the 43-minute rhetorical ramble through dozens of topics, many the subject of proclaimed new attention by our state’s benevolent, business-loving chief executive.
It was, in a word, substantive. If you follow this newspaper, or most any other media outlet, you will see multiple follow-up reports on the various initiatives launched or issues raised in SOTS III (and some the governor didn’t mention — strategically, one suspects) that are quietly buried in his package of 59 administration bills or advanced by legislators.
Beyond that, however, the speech had just a touch of mystery — strategically, one suspects. Then, again, maybe not. Could be just weird.

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Actress Candidate Has a New Movie Out

While mulling over her political ambitions a year ago, Park Overall, the Greeneville, Tenn., resident who’s now challenging Bob Corker for his seat in the United States Senate, got an offer to do the independent film “In The Family.” She tells the News Sentinel the role was exactly the sort of project she’s always wanted to do.
“This one is special,” she says. “This is the best movie I could ever hope to be in. This is the kind of movie I dreamed of going to Hollywood and making.”
“Family” casts Overall as the mother whose gay son has died, leaving a complex legal issue involving his underage son, the late son’s partner and the late son’s sister. The sister and partner both want custody of the boy.
…Mulling over whether actors make for good politicians, Overall says the two share “an affinity for performance as well as language,” allowing them to communicate their agendas easier to the public.
And her profile as a network star — albeit from 15 years ago — helped. “The TV history gives me a head start,” she says. “Sad, but true.”
Her basic platform, from this early part of her campaign, leans toward helping the disenfranchised and the environment. She is also pro-union and pro-gay.
One of her biggest hurdles will be the primary in August.
A registered Democrat, Overall prefers to call herself “progressive” and admits her official political affiliation might not sit well in conservative, Republican-heavy East Tennessee.

Budgeting Decisions: Filmkakers vs. Child Abuse?

The Tennessean has a couple of interesting stories on state budget issues that, perhaps, present a bit of a contrast.
One features entertainment industry folks lamenting that the state doesn’t give away enough incentive money to movie producers so that they are enticed to film in Tennessee.
Even as states like Louisiana, Georgia and North Carolina sweeten the pot for filmmakers, Tennessee’s film fund, along with proposed legislation to expand incentives, is not gathering steam under Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration…. Whereas other states cover up to 30 percent of an in-state film’s production, sometimes without spending limits, Tennessee offers filmmakers a 17 percent production discount.
The other features concerns over the pending end to funding for Healthy Start, a program that aims to prevent child abuse and neglect in enrolled families.
The state spends a little over $3 million a year on the program, which is funded through DCS and administered by the state Health Department. There are eight community-based agencies throughout the state, including Middle Tennessee sites in Nashville and Shelbyville.
The Metro Public Health Department serves about 160 to 180 families in the program annually and has seen significant outcomes, said Dr. Kimberlee Wyche-Etheridge, director of the Family Youth and Infant Health Bureau. Families stay in the program for three to five years and are offered services to improve parent-child interaction and decrease dependency on public assistance, among other things.
“It’s not a quick fix of one or two home visits, but it’s a long-term commitment to a family to get them in a place where the child’s well-being is optimized,” she said.

Note: The Haslam administration is opposing both new handouts to the film industry and renewed funding for Healthy Start.

Rally Seeks for More incentives to Movie Makers

The Association for the Future of Film & Television, a Nashville-based lobbying arm for the state film industry, has planned a rally at the state capitol to support pending legislation that would give bigger tax breaks to those who film in Tennessee, reports the Commercial Appeal.
The AFFT organized today’s Nashville rally to generate publicity and support for the state Entertainment Industry Investment Act, an incentives bill that would strengthen the state’s ability to compete for film projects.
Sponsored by a pair of Shelby County legislators, Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville, and Rep. Steve McManus, R-Cordova, the bill would bolster Tennessee’s lights-camera-action allure by offering studios tax credits rather than rebates for production expenses in Tennessee.
“This is about creating jobs in Tennessee, not just for actors and films crews but carpenters, drivers, the hotel industry, the stores,” said Falk, who will tote made-in-Memphis signs to the rally with such slogans as “HUSTLE! Stop the FLOW of Films to Georgia!!” and “We’re Walking the Line for Tennessee Movies.”
The slogans allude to “Hustle & Flow” and “Walk the Line,” two films shot in Memphis before the exodus represented by “The Blind Side,” the cable TV series “Memphis Beat” and Craig Brewer’s “Footloose” remake, all initially set in the Volunteer State but shot in Georgia and Louisiana.

Note: The bill is HB555/SB354, introduced more than a year ago and not yet scheduled for a vote in a committee of either chamber. The Senate version was put in ‘general sub’ last year. The fiscal note estimates that passage would mean a loss of $35 million in state revenue next fiscal year and $25 million a year thereafter.

Inconvenient and Inconsistent Truths

A snippet from Anne Paine’s report on a movie produced by Nashville radio talker Phil Valentine, an Inconsistent Truth, that attacks Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth.
Gore’s movie is “lopsided to one side,” he (Valentine) said. “Ours is lopsided to the other as balance.”
Gore’s office declined to comment on Valentine and his movie.
Valentine’s statements came after the first showing — a private one — of the 90-minute film. It ended with hearty applause from the audience, which included the film’s volunteer crew, family members and supporters.
The movie overall equates environmentalism and efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases with a kind of religious zeal that is part of a political power grab.

Note: Website on Valentine’s movie is HERE.
See also, Southern Beale, where the movie is deemed funny and summed up thusly: So, Valentine has basically made a documentary with an all-volunteer crew to debunk climate change by saying it’s phony because Al Gore is fat.

Georgia Beats Tennessee in ‘Footloose’ Competition (by $1.6M)

Georgia defeated Tennessee 20-12 in college football last weekend, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says Georgia is beating Tennessee more thoroughly in recruiting movie makers. “Georgia’s juggernaut film production industry” was about $1.6 million ahead of Tennessee in giving away tax incentives for the newly-released movie “Footloose,” a remake of an older film that is set in Tennessee.
Tennessee desperately wanted the $25 million budget, foot-tapping, potential box office phenom to be filmed on its own turf. And it thought it had an ace in the hole: Craig Brewer, the writer and director of the remake, lives in Memphis and wanted to make the movie there, just like all his previous films. His original version of the script even set the action in a fictional small town in Tennessee.
But when the cameras finally started rolling, everything — that fictional small town, all the very real filming sites — was located in Georgia.
“What’s that old saying about ‘death by a thousand cuts?'” sighed Jan Austin, executive director of the Association for the Future of Film and Television in Tennessee. “To lose ‘Footloose’ to Georgia was a disaster.”
…And the scales keep tilting increasingly in Georgia’s favor. Besides “Footloose,” an update of the 1984 Kevin Bacon-starring hit that’s been re-set in the iPod era South, two other recent movies that by rights should have been made in Tennessee ended up here instead.
Granted, “Get Low,” about a Tennessee hermit (Oscar winner Robert Duvall) who stages his own outrageous funeral while still alive, didn’t generate that much heat when it was released last October.
But the same can’t be said of “The Blind Side.” The story of a real — ahem — Memphis family was shot here in 2009, and went on to earn $256 million at the box office and snag a Best Actress Oscar for star Sandra Bullock.
“It’s like being asked ‘What’s worse, losing an arm or a leg?'” Linn Sittler, longtime head of the Memphis & Shelby County Film Commission, said about the current situation. Still, as bad as it was to lose “The Blind Side” — which, to add insult to injury, got much of its financing from FedEx founder (and Tennessean) Fred Smith — Sittler said the two hurts don’t compare.
“It’s much worse that we lost ‘Footloose’ because here was a talent that we had nurtured for years,” Sittler said of Brewer, who’d shot his three previous movies in Tennessee, including the Oscar-winning “Hustle & Flow.” “In all my years of recruiting movies [to film in and around Memphis], this one was a gimme.”
….Since 2008, Georgia has offered a tax incentive for production companies that spend at least $500,000 in the state: Up to 30 percent of the production’s budget in tax credits as long as the finished film displays a special Georgia tourism logo prominently in the credits.
,,, Yet lacking a similarly generous tax break, Tennessee couldn’t close the gap. Brewer didn’t hide his frustration when the efforts of him and others fell short of the $1.6 million needed to make up the difference.
“I think this is an unfortunate loss for Tennessee,” Brewer told the Commercial Appeal at the time. “I really wrote ‘Footloose’ and designed ‘Footloose’ to be a big commercial not only for the music of Tennessee but the spirit of Tennessee. Tennessee comes off looking really good in ‘Footloose.'”