20 April 2005
Dear Governor Blunt,
I was most discouraged upon reading the article entitled “Missouri's movie industry is reeling from budget cuts” in the April 17th edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. As a local filmmaker, film enthusiast, producer and patron of the arts, it is disheartening to find that budget has been cut on one of Missouri’s most valuable assets, both financially and culturally. To myself and many others, it seemed bad enough that a mere three people were employed by the office. To reduce that number to one seems nothing short of a grand mistake.
I have lived in the state of Missouri—more specifically, the St. Louis area—for most of my life, and take great pride in this. I think ours is an excellent state in which to live, and St. Louis is a particularly great city/area in which to grow up. I would hope that, as Governor thereof, you would agree with me on this. Why, then, have you approved of funding cutbacks for an organization principally responsible for showcasing what makes our state great to the rest of the country and world? Not only is Missouri capable of gaining notoriety by way of the film office, but our state and its various municipalities stand to benefit significantly from the influx of revenue resulting from larger-budget films and telefilms being produced here. The article to which I earlier referred mentions several films produced here, dating from 1914. However, it fails to mention other large-scale films and telefilms, such as the Sci-Fi channel’s Larva and the independents Steel City and Apocalypse & The Beauty Queen, all shot within the last year alone, providing paying jobs for cast and crew members from all over the state, as well as much revenue for everything from equipment rental/purchase to restaurant patronage. As Mr. Williams points out in his article, the returns are astronomical, given the meager $200,000 budget offered the Film Commission. If more revenue is what we need, perhaps a closer examination of exactly what is causing an influx of revenue (such as the Film Commission), rather than a narrow focus on where money is being spent, or at least a comparison of costs and returns for various institutions, is in order.
I often talk to my peers who have found it necessary to move to New York or Los Angeles on account of not enough film work in St. Louis and surrounding areas of Missouri. I like to think that my own decision to continue work in the St. Louis area and the state of Missouri speaks to a different notion. I think the beauty and the cultural history behind Missouri and all of its wonderful locations is just as capable (if not more so) of housing the next Hollywood, as any other state or location. It is important from fiduciary, educational, historic, artistic, and other cultural standpoints that we prove this by conserving and even expanding the wonderful resource that is the Missouri Film Commission. Thank you.
[Insert Signature Here]
Filmmaker & Local Arts Enthusiast
Please correct, comment, et c. Also, feel free and encouraged to write your own letter to Mr. Blunt, whether or not you are/ever were a Missourian.
(Also, the tabs at the beginning of each paragraph do not show in LJ without some HTML fanagling that would be obnoxious to edit over, and the point of this entry is to be easy to edit.)