45 Years Of Good Policy & Tradition To Be Discarded?

Today's guest post is from producer Richard Brick.  Listen up, he knows what he is talking about. On Friday the NYC Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting (MOFTB) announced a proposal for some new policies.  Richard's post, below, is in response.

It is highly disturbing that the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting is abandoning a forty-five year tradition - going back to John Lindsay - of attracting and supporting theatrical, television and commercial production with one-stop free services. In December the City agency, DCAS, implemented a $3200 fee for use of City owned buildings.  Now, Commissioner Oliver has proposed a $300 application fee the MOFTB permit.  It is logical that other City agencies will also seek to offset recent budget cuts with their own fees for use of their facilities or staffs.

It is incomprehensible that these changes are being implemented during the mayoralty of Michael Bloomberg, arguably the most business savvy mayor in New York's history.  At a time when it is necessary to diversity our City's economy away from dependence on Wall Street, film and TV production represent a clean industry employing 70,000 people whose significant economic benefits have been established by a half a dozen studies. There is a further public policy question when the recent 7.5% budget cut represents a loss of $150,000 to the MOFTB, while the new permit fees would generate approximately $900,000 annually.

The proposed MOFTB permit fee makes no distinction between a $1000 student video exercise required by one of the academic courses at our City's excellent film schools and a $100 million studio-financed feature film.  At the very least, Mayor Bloomberg ought to exempt all legitimate student productions from these new fees, recognizing that they represent an odious burden on the next generation of filmmakers.

Richard Brick was the Commissioner, M.O.F.T.B., 1992-1994.  He is an Adjunct Professor of Film and the former Chairman of the M.F.A. Degree Program at Columbia University.  He is a New York-based Producer, and a member DGA and PGA.

The MOFTB encourages anyone who would like to comment to do so by sending an email to: applicationfee@film.nyc.gov.