On June 30, the eve of the official release, Madison's Point Ultra Screen hosts a special advance screening of Public Enemies. This screening is part of a benefit for Film Wisconsin, a nonprofit that functions as the state's film commission.
Film Wisconsin has advocated forcefully for preserving the tax credits for film producers that brought Public Enemies to Wisconsin. In his budget proposal for 2009-2011, Gov. Jim Doyle proposed eliminating the credits, which include various tax exemptions and credits of up to 25%. There are some city-specific perks, including free use of state-owned buildings and a special no-cost "traffic control" police presence during daylight.
On May 1, the Joint Committee on Finance voted 16-0 to preserve the incentives, but with some modifications. The revised program would reward job creation and encourage filming in economically suffering parts of the state. It would also include a provision clarifying that in order for film companies to claim credits on purchases, products must be bought from Wisconsin vendors. The incentives would be capped at $3 million for the next two years.
According to Film Wisconsin's Scott Robbe, this cap would mean that only smaller, independent films would be able to film in Wisconsin, since incentive programs in nearby states make filming more attractive by not capping their programs at that relatively low amount.
Says Robbe, "Even if a film that had a $100 million budget and might be hypothetically spending $40 million locally, they would choose Michigan first because their program offers a better return."
Madison actor Scott Rawson, who worked as a Public Enemies extra, is concerned about what would happen if the film incentives are lost in the budget cutting. "I thought that the initial impact [of Public Enemies] would be great and show that we have talent here, we have scenery, and can work with the industry," he says. "However, with the tax cuts going, I fear that the industry may also."