Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Ballard Announces Funding For Films Weeks After Son Completed Filming Of Movie Using City Resources

He's been in office for nearly eight years, but it took his son coming to town to film a movie he wrote, "Car 86," for Mayor Greg Ballard to decide public subsidies to promote filming in Indianapolis was needed. Ballard announced $300,000 in funding for Film Indy, an entity that will operate within the taxpayer-funded Visit Indy. Ballard found $100,000 somewhere in the city budget to kick into the project, while Visit Indy and CICF are kicking in $100,000 each. "Film Indy represents the first proactive, unified effort to attract television commercials, shows, and movies to our city," Mayor Ballard announced at the launching of this morning's event.

Only Advance Indiana told you about how IMPD resources, including officers, vehicles and equipment were made available to the makers of "Car 86," which was filmed just weeks ago in the city. City officials belatedly slapped together a contract with Car 86, LLC after Advance Indiana submitted a public records request for any contracts or correspondence between city officials and the film's makers. The city's public access counselor produced only three e-mails exchanged between IMPD Public Information Officer Christopher Wilburn, who had a paid supporting role in the movie, discussing the film makers' failure to properly obtain a permit to close off streets around Lucas Oil Stadium for filming scenes in the movie. The contract between IMPD and the filmmakers charged a fee of just $756.

A spokesman for Visit Indy, Chris Gahl, claims the film initiative will generate more than $6 million in incremental economic impact on an annual basis. At least that's what it said on the piece of paper he just pulled out his ass. Naturally, there's hand-wringing thrown it about how Indiana is way behind its neighboring states in offering generous incentives to Hollywood types to come out to the Heartland to film a movie. From the IBJ:
Indiana’s neighbors are much more generous. Michigan offers a tax credit of up to 42 percent of a production company’s expenses related to a film project. Ohio offers a tax credit of up to 25 percent of expenses and 35 percent of the wages paid to state residents. Kentucky offers a 20 percent tax credit. 
In a recent example of how Indianapolis has been at a disadvantage for attracting filmmakers, the 2014 movie "The Fault in Our Stars" was filmed in Pittsburgh, although the novel is set in Indianapolis, in part to take advantage of tax incentives offered by Pennsylvania. 
Indianapolis does not offer incentives for films . . . 
Well, you can see where this is headed. "Film Indy's founders hope the initiative will help make the argument for state incentives," the IBJ reports. Sigh. Visit Indy says the $300,000 will be used to build a website, hire a film commission to market the city and handle hospitality arrangements for film crews visiting the city. Who wants to make a bet that part of that $300,000 has already been paid to the makers of "Car 86"? Visit Indy was one of the first places Greg Ballard, Jr. hit up when he was looking for help with the filming of his movie according to e-mails Advance Indiana obtained from IPS discussing the use of the Coca-Cola Building for filming purposes. Don't look for the useless local media folks to delve into those matters any more deeply. They long ago decided to give our mayor a pass on his corrupt, self-dealing ways.


Anonymous said...

There is no end to what Republican Mayor Greg Ballard will do when he wants to do it. Disgusting and repugnant on every level. And let me guess, Mayor Elect Kathy Davis,, err.. Joe Hogsett will issue a statement saying she, uh he will leave untouched any illegalities perpetrated by the outgoing mayor but simply "move on".

Because Marion County in effect has no Prosecutor nor a City County Council worth damn, this is all tilting at the wind.

However, if ever there were a day when this criminal Ballard is charged and hauled before federal authorities, I demand a front row seat.

Flogger said...

Well Gary, this a piece of the pie that fits in to our (Drum Roll Please) World Class City. Wahooo, gee wilkers, were Number One, move over Hollywood. It appears that any semblance of moral direction or fiber in Indy can be bent, spindled and mutilated as long as there is some tax dollars that can be scammed in our never ending game Crony-Capitalism. Hey come to think of it some cleaver soul could design a game like monopoly and call it Crony-Capitalism and use Indy as a back drop to the game board.

Seriously, though many of our neighborhoods just outside of downtown could be used as back drop for movie about life the old Soviet Union or some Third World Country, run down houses, pot holed streets, boarded up businesses, litter all over. With enough marketing dollars - from the tax payers of course - the War Monument down town could become as famous as the Eiffel Tower.

Anonymous said...

Great Comment, Flogger! You make good points, all, especially the point-on analogy that very many of the neighborhoods contiguous to the downtown area and in large pockets throughout the County have been allowed to become like stereotypical grainy black/white newsreels of dreary Third World enclaves. In these Indianapolis dilapidated and economically depressed enclaves, any modicum of hope for public safety, quality education, a reasonable expectation for a decent quality of life, and efficient/sufficient/affordable public services have been stolen by career politicians [via TIF's, special land give-aways to developers (see who "gets" the old Coca Cola plant property!), by the privileged, powerful, connected, permanent political class run by corporate-connected attorneys and "campaign donors".

It is reasonable that thoughtful Marion County citizens would ask where the hell their City County Councilors have been lo these many years [even decades!] as Marion County has become hollowed out at taxpayer expense to the extent producers refuse to reside within its boundaries, where the vitality of the university educated professional young adults beginning their lives and rearing their emerging families flee to super-suburban areas if they do not desire to live in The Increasingly Over-Built Downtown Disneyland we call Indianapolis.

Where the hell have the City County Councilor representatives of "the people" been as Indianapolis has been transformed into a cash register for the mostly old white wealthy Democrat and Republican City County Councilors? Where the hell have the Prosecutors been when lawless, habitual criminal mayors with probable psychopathologies storm over the law? Oh, wait...

Is it any wonder that intelligent Marion County taxpayers wonder "why vote"? Why is there a City County Council? And not only why is there a CC Council but why do taxpayers pay them? Why have a Prosecutor? Why should we everyday little people obey laws when mayors, City County Councilors, and appointed officials do not adhere to the law and are not held accountable when they break laws?

Let the indignation and bombast of Marion County Democrat and Republican career politicians with their shouts of denials against these undeniable observations begin!

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:03 here... try as I do at proofreading in the tiny text boxes, I sometimes err.
Towit, this correction:

Where the hell have the City County Councilor representatives of "the people" been as Indianapolis has been transformed into a cash register for the wealthy Democrat and Republican Marion County entrenched politicos and their corporate cronies?

Anonymous said...

This was a very low key announcement by both the mayor's office and Visit Indy. The media was furnished a list of recent projects filmed in Indianapolis. There was no mention of the only recent movie just filmed that touts the backing of a major Hollywood producer. Deception by omission is indicated by the manner in which the Mayor and Visit Indy announced this project.

Anonymous said...

The word "Deception" and Marion County GOP Greg Ballard are not strangers to each other. No doubt about it.

Anonymous said...

And how much of our taxpayer money was donated by Visit Indy to support Ersul's Indy Eleven? The amateur soccer telecasts were often ongoing Visit Indy commercials.

Anonymous said...

I know people who work in the film industry. This is not an industry you want setting up shop in our state. For below-the-line workers, the wages are not that great (look up the IATSE Area Standards Agreement to get an idea of the range), the employers are, for projects under 10 million, which, let's face it, are the vast majority of film projects these days, clowns who are rude and demeaning and do not take safety seriously. People get hurt and killed sometimes. Then, the tax credit conundrum. This is seriously abused and is a net loss to the states. I can tell you stories of state tax credit programs that only offer 25% credits on "purchases made at vendors based in the state" only for larger corporations that supply all the equipment used on movies (such as C y n e l e a s e) continue to supply all the rental gear on projects in all 50 states, even though they're based in Los Angeles, by running the billing through a locally based rental company, who makes a couple of percent on the deal. This is the film industry's version of "compliance". They say the only creativity left in Hollywood is the accountants. I believe it. In my opinion, based on years of observing this industry, the only people who benefit from USA based filmmaking are the foreign investors who have too many greenbacks on their hands, and yet, want more. These foreign investors, all of whom keep a low profile, are often Middle East based sovereign wealth funds, who get tax breaks from the Federal Government (filmmaking is considered American Manufacturing, ha!), state government (25-35% transferable tax credits, which are then sold, discreetly to banks), and, in return for all this largess, the state gets a bunch of lower income, temporary jobs, half of which are filled by people who come in from out of state, who work on a project for six to eight weeks. After the project is complete, they move back to their home state, and then file for unemployment with the state where the project was filmed (Hey! Indiana!). The union film workers then live off the unemployment benefits until the next project comes along, which probably is in another state than the one their last project filmed in. The fact that the CIB is co-funding a marketing promotion to encouraging filmmaking, which is technically a form a tourism, since so much of the workforce comes from elsewhere (even on the mayors son's movie, did they hire any local crew? any at all? Hmmm.), anyway, the fact that the CIB thinks movie production is a "good idea" confirms my suspicion that they are an organization that pursues shiny opportunities that don't make any money, such as sports stadiums and convention centers.... Oh well. Visit Indy!!!!