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Posted on Thu, May 6, 2010 : 12:10 p.m.

Ann Arbor Film Office established to assist movie companies

By Nathan Bomey

The Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is establishing a new office devoted to assisting production companies looking to film movies in the region.

The AACVB is launching the Ann Arbor Area Film Office, which was approved as a member of the Association of Film Commissioners International.

“We are the official welcome wagon for the film industry,” said film industry liaison Kay Seaser, who is leading the office. “We want to make sure Ann Arbor stays out in front of those producers and location scouts and managers to make sure they do consider our area, because it does generate a lot of money for our local businesses.”

Youth in Revolt.JPG

Actor Michael Cera prepares to film a scene from the movie "Youth In Revolt," filmed in Ann Arbor in 2008.

File photo |

Michigan grabbed Hollywood’s attention in April 2008 when the state Legislature approved aggressive tax incentives designed to attract more production companies to consider filming here.

By all accounts, the legislation - alternately described as a key component of the creativity economy or as an example of Michigan’s fiscal recklessness - has attracted dozens of productions to locate filming in Michigan.

In Ann Arbor, the AACVB has worked with 11 major film projects, including films like Drew Barrymore’s “Whip It” and “Stone,” which stars Robert De Niro and Edward Norton. The AACVB estimates that, in 2009, film companies accounted for 20,000 room nights in the Ann Arbor region -- the equivalent of filling a 150-room hotel for more than four months.

Seaser said AACVB is currently working with two major film companies that have plans to shoot scenes in Ann Arbor, but she declined to offer details.

The Ann Arbor Film Office will focus on helping film companies connect with local commercial real estate agents, navigate local permitting requirements, find hotels and apartments and locate items to be used in filming.

It's the fifth organization in Michigan to receive certification from the Association of Film Commissioners. The membership means that the Ann Arbor Film Office will get visibility on the AFC’s Web site, which movie producers regularly browse.

“We are delighted to be the official liaison for film industry activity in the Ann Arbor area,” AACVB CEO Mary Kerr said in a statement.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Sat, May 8, 2010 : 4:43 p.m.

There is an anti-incentive swell-up brewing, questioning the economic impcact of films and more importantly, that these incentives basically "pick winners" and if that is the case, why not pick winners that are here year round (industry) rather then hit and run tourisim attractions like film making!

David Rhoads

Fri, May 7, 2010 : 2:12 p.m.

The decision by AACVB to establish an Area Film Office headed by Kay Seaser is a good one. It doesn't really matter if you ageee or disagree with Michigan's film tax credit structure, as long as it is here, we need to maximize the benefits from the film industry. My experience working with Kay over the years has always been very favorable and I am sure that she will bring more filming to the Ann Arbor area.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 9:20 a.m.

This article failed to mention Flipped that was filmed near Clague School last summer. For shame. Rob Reiner would not be happy. I am hearing Scream III or whatever number is next, is going to be filmed in this area. I really hope they advertise for extras.

Dan Stevens

Thu, May 6, 2010 : 10:35 p.m.

The film incentives have been a great thing for Michigan. I just wish our state Legislature would incentivize all industries rather than just a select few. Improving the business climate in Michigan -- reducing the Michigan Business Tax, for example, and eliminating the personal property, while reducing regulations -- would help us a lot. Michigan businesses pay 3-4 % more than their counterparts in other states. That's often the difference between operating at a loss and operating at a profit. Check out the Michigan Turnaround Plan @ to learn what you can do to help get our state moving again.