Saturday, September 30, 2006

Shelby County taxpayers asked to help film company

The proposed Village Roadshow Pictures regional facility in Memphis wants public money. Here's an excerpt of the story by reporter David Williams in today's CA:

Rey Flemings, leading the movie company recruitment as a Memphis Music Foundation board member, wouldn't discuss the amount but said Friday it was small "in the world of corporate incentives."

The funds would supplement recent state film-incentive legislation that provides a rebate of 15 percent of in-state company production spending, if certain qualifications on the company and its spending are met.

The foundation is working with the city, county and other entities on the project, although there's not yet an agreement that could be presented to the City Council and County Commission as part of a funding request.

The proposed deal calls for Village Roadshow -- an Australian-based company behind "The Matrix" and other hits -- to spend $250 million on productions here over five years.

"We continue to build a case that film and music are real industries that are having and will continue to have great impact on the economic well-being of this community," said Flemings, who recently resigned his paid position as foundation president to work for hometown pop star Justin Timberlake's organization.

Timberlake plans to relaunch Stax Records in a partnership with California-based Concord Music Group, whose owners -- Norman Lear and Hal Gaba -- own part of Village Roadshow.

"These deals mean a lot in terms of job creation and tax benefits for local and state government," Flemings said, "and that's in addition to the real obvious soft benefits in marketing and civic pride."

Village Roadshow Pictures has made:
The Matrix
The Matrix Reloaded
The Matrix Revolutions
Ocean's Eleven
Ocean's Twelve
Miss Congeniality
Cats & Dogs
Two Weeks Notice
Mystic River
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Eight Legged Freaks

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