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Saturday, 24 October, 2009 2:30 PM

Actor Mike Manasseri to hold rally to save Michigan film tax incentives Monday

PHOTO BY MICHELE KOTLARSKY / ©AMERICAJR.com

On the set of the new made-for-television movie "You Don't Know Jack" in Pontiac, Mich. in October 2009.

by Garrett Godwin
ggodwin82@yahoo.com

 

PONTIAC, Mich. -- Whether you may know it or not, Mike Manasseri is part of the John Hughes legacy, thanks to his role as Wyatt, in the sci-fi/fantasy comedy, Weird Science. The series, which aired on the USA Network from 1994-98, is based on the hit 1985 movie directed by Hughes, who passed away this summer. To this day, fans still recognize him from time to time. "John Hughes was incredible. I was flattered to be on that show. The writers were terrific and I believe we stayed true to John Hughes' vision," Mike remembered. He also named Weird Science and 1986's Ferris Bulleur's Day Off as his favorite Hughes movies.

Now, the actor is the co-founder of Big Screen Michigan, which is rallying this Monday night at 7 p.m. at the Crofoot Ballroom on One South Saginaw in Pontiac to protest over the possible cuts of the state's film tax incentive that has brought film and television projects, as well as video game companies into the state.

"A lot of people in Michigan aren't aware that video games are also a part of the incentive package. The video game industry is even bigger than movies and tv shows and it also provides permanent, year round employment for young, creative Michiganders."

"Unfortunately, there is a real negative image out there of Michigan, including devastating stories in Time magazine and USA Today. The film, television and video game industry has brought jobs into the sate as well as millions of dollars. It is the one positive beacon of hope right now and the fact that some legislators want to cut this program back in less than two years from its formation is irresponsible," stated Manasseri. "Business needs stability. Business needs support, " Mike states, who is also a partner in the Los Angeles-based company Big Screen Entertainment with plans to bring a branch to Michigan for future projects on the big and small screen.

Over the past 18 months, Detroit has been taking a pounding in the media with the Kwame Kilpatrick serial of adultery, corruption, and abuse of power as Mayor of the Motor City; increase in unemployment, closing down schools, rise of crime, the recent bankruptcy of the Big Three in the automotive industry, and almost bleeding the DDOT weekend service. This negative backlash causes longtime residents to relocate and seek employment elsewhere. The only bright spot in these dark times is the Michigan film tax incentive, where Oscar winners Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, and Al Pacino shot their movies in Michigan as the backdrop for the setting, where people can start their budding careers as extras, while providing others that have been recently laid-off job opportunities to work behind the camera, pitch their own shows to panelists for the reality series Rollin On', or even create one to be posted and broadcast for the online global network G1NBC.

Now, it is "crunch time" for the Michigan film mecca, as the rally sets out to prevent Michigan from being one step closer to a possible Depression. "We have to give this a real chance to blossom before legislators start picking it apart and the bottom line is that it is working beautifully throughout the state," Mike responds. "A lot of filmmakers think that Detroit is incredible. There are some great locations and terrific people with a wonderful work ethic. It's not just about Hollywood coming here. Eventually, the incentive will allow Michigan to produce a movie, a TV show. It's Michigan people making Michigan movies. And with this rally, we're trying to make as much noise as possible so the legilstaors who have the fate of the incentives in their hands will hear all of us. It's important."

Click here for more information on the rally to save the Michigan film industry.

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

Actor/Director Drew Barrymore came to Farmington Hills, Mich. to go roller skating with fans on Sept. 11, 2009 to promote her new film "Whip It".

 

PHOTO BY MICHELE KOTLARSKY / ©AMERICAJR.com

Crews are working on the filming of "Red Dawn" in downtown Pontiac in late September 2009.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Actor Rob Schneider was in downtown Detroit in October 2008 for filming of "Virgin on Bourbon Street."

 

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