Are you a growing film company aching to shoot an independent project about an Alaskan hermit that collects garden gnomes and writes mysteries? Or perhaps it’s time to dust-off that long forgotten “Godzilla vs. Ursamonstra” script you’ve been keeping in a desk drawer for an emergency. If you’ve got a film to shoot, actors to pay, craft service to skimp on, and costumes to steal from the set of some other film, Alaska wants your money. That’s right, glitterati, Alaska’s willing to subsidize your film to the tune of 33%! In fact, Alaska’s program is by far the most generous:
As other states wrestling with budget deficits roll back or rethink their own film industry subsidies, Alaska’s program continues, so far doling out $13 million to a string of reality-TV shows and, increasingly, feature movies. Producers for movies big and small say it’s a key reason they’re here.
Alaskans are notoriously fame-hungry. You all saw Sarah Palin whore it up when she reached the national stage, but for a more local example, just find a person that lived in Alaska for a month, or perhaps just had a layover at Anchorage International (I will not say fucking Ted Stevens International, and you can bite my sack if you want to argue about it). Chances are good they’ll regale you with various tales of bearded ne’er-do-wells and bear statues the likes of which you’ve never seen. So really, this is perfect for Alaskans, because it gives them what they want the most: attention. Theoretically, it also gives them jobs:
In many ways, the film incentives appear to be a success. Producers spent tens of millions of dollars shooting movies in and around Anchorage over the past 13 months, drawing stars such as Drew Barrymore and Ted Danson, Nicolas Cage and John Cusack. Many Alaskans scored jobs as actors, camera operators and crew. Stars ate at local restaurants and stayed at local hotels, and film boosters imagine a subsequent wave of tourists.
And if you want proof that the program is working, look no further than the latest schmalzy turd “Big Miracle,” which is about those dumbass whales who got stuck under some ice in the 80s. Yeah, whales, a lot of us had problems with ice in the 80s, but none of us made a national event out of it, you fameballing bastards! The film, which could have easily been made in Canada, was not, and because the studio chose Alaska, they’re able to claim that sweet subsidy, to the tune of about $9 million, or $.33 on the dollar.
Apparently, this subsidy is due to expire in 2013 (it had a five-year test period), and in order to renew it, Alaskan lawmakers will have to fund it to the tune of $200 million bones. Which, quite frankly, is not likely. But don’t worry: there are thousands of Alaskans, desperate for attention, who will continue to churn out short films for film festivals. And eventually, one of them will get noticed. And after that, well, he or she will probably pull a Jewel and GTFO! San Diego’s own Jewel my ass.