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A Better Partnership


Jun 2008
June 25, 2008

Northern Michigan Film Forum: Business & Communities Prepare for Michigan Film Productions

The West Michigan Film Video Alliance, The Michigan Production Alliance, and Film Friendly Michigan have joined forces to offer a two-day look into the future of filmmaking in Michigan as the state advances into the promising new alternative industry.

The two-day Northern Michigan Film Forum, featuring an impressive list of speakers and panelists, provides a combination of free information and advanced training. The focus of both days is to help educate communities and businesses about how to effectively recruit and work with the film and commercial production industry.

The event is planned for July 21-22 at Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay, just north of Traverse City, on the Leelanau Peninsula.

Day One - Monday, July 21, 2008 (2pm – 5pm)
Two state legislators – Rep. David Palsrok (R) from Manistee and Rep. Bill Huizenga (R) from Zeeland have been invited to open the forum, providing an overview of the Michigan Film Incentive package and giving recommendations on how to work with the Michigan Film Office.

Jerry Zandstra, Vice President of Strategic Planning for America Saga Productions, a television production company with a number of projects slated for production here in Michigan, will be the keynote speaker. He will address the topic, “Put the New Film Incentives to Work for Your Business!”

The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion about the film industry in Michigan, moderated by Dianna Stampfler from Promote Michigan. Panelists include:

  • Cam DeLong – Warner Norcross & Judd LLP
  • Deb Havens – West Michigan Film Video Alliance
  • Sarah Crapo-Hayes – West Michigan Film Office
  • Rich Brauer – Brauer Productions

Attendance at the Northern Michigan Film Forum on Monday is free, although seating is limited and online reservations are required at

Day Two - Tuesday, July 22, 2008 (8am-5pm)
The day-long course “When Hollywood Comes to Town” is aimed at business and community leaders from municipal government, economic development, police and fire units, and interested others. Experts from the film and production industry will help participants dig deeper into what communities and businesses can expect when hosting a production company.

Topics such as how film locations are chosen, how to work with location scouts and production crews, what to include in local filming guidelines, and how to develop a photo location package that promotes your community will be covered, as well as an opportunity to start planning for your community’s “Hollywood close-up.” Michigan film success stories and pitfalls will be shared as well, during a panel discussion with

  • Vicky Michaeu - Delta County Chamber
  • Sarah Crapo-Hayes – West Michigan Film Office
  • Brad Van Dommelen – Traverse City CVB
  • Tom Jacob – Location Scout & Manager, Detroit

The cost for Tuesday’s course is $99 and includes lunch and all training materials. The course runs from 8am-5pm; space is limited and reservations must be made online at

The Northern Michigan Film Forum is made possible by the financial contributions of Warner, Norcross & Judd; America Saga Productions; The Bank of Holland & The Bank of Northern Michigan; Berends, Hendricks & Stuit Insurance Agency; Windemuller; and Robert Grooters Development Co.

Event Contact:
Deb Havens

Media Contact:
Dianna Stampfler


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