Saturday, July 30, 2016

From the Archives: Gov. Terry McAuliffe touts Virginia film industry at Charlottesville movie fest

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on November 6, 2014. The publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site was scheduled to go dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe touts Virginia film industry at Charlottesville movie fest

On the opening night of the 2014 Virginia Film Festival on November 6, Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-McLean) came to Charlottesville to introduce the world premiere of Big Stone Gap, which was directed by screenwriter Adriana Trigiani and based upon her best-selling novel.

Big Stone Gap was filmed entirely in its namesake Virginia mountain town and stars Jenna Elfman, Jasmine Guy, Ashley Judd, and Patrick Wilson. All four actors and Trigiani spoke at a press conference at the Paramount Theater prior to the film's screening, and Governor McAuliffe made a surprise appearance as it ended.

McAuliffe took that opportunity to boast about Virginia's film industry and the economic benefits it generates.

“We are so excited about our film industry,” he said, pointing to figures from 2012 that indicate there was “about $380 million of economic activity here in the Commonwealth,” creating 3,000 jobs.

Governor McAuliffe noted that Ithaca, a new film set in California during World War II and based on William Saroyan's The Human Comedy, is being made in Virginia by producer Tom Hanks and director Meg Ryan and that the AMC Revolutionary War-era television drama, Turn, is filming its second season here.

He listed Killing Kennedy, Killing Lincoln, and Steven Spielberg's Lincoln as significant films made in Virginia. “This is a great place to make movies and we really are working hard to bring more movies in,” McAuliffe said.

Spending the night with Bo Derek
On a personal note, the Virginia governor mentioned that actress Bo Derek spent the night at the executive mansion in Richmond, being careful to add that “my wife was there” and that he had recently “had a beer with Tom [Hanks].”

McAuliffe said that “we're really trying to bring folks into Virginia,” and touted the state's natural and historical resources.

“Look at the mountains,” he said. “We've got the beaches, but we've got the history. You look at the Capitol, which was designed by Thomas Jefferson. You've got Mount Vernon.”

Virginia, he said, has “assets that no other state in America can replicate. Jamestown, Williamsburg – we've got it all.”

Justifying subsidies
Asked by the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner how he responds to critics who suggest that giving taxpayer money, in terms of subsidies and tax credits, to Hollywood producers is a transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy, McAuliffe did not blink.

“We give tax credits and incentives to many different businesses,” he replied. “I just had a major announcement yesterday in Appomattox for a pharmaceutical company from China.”

If a business comes to Virginia “to create jobs and [if] you look at the economic return of almost $400 million in 2012 and 3,000 jobs, compared to the modest incentives we give,” McAuliffe explained, “what I look at as governor is return on investment. Investment in the film industry in Virginia [has] a great return on investment and we need to do more of it.”

The Virginia Film Festival continues in and around Charlottesville through Sunday, November 9.


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