LRFF: Keeping it Natural and Keeping it Short | Rock Candy

Sunday, May 18, 2008

LRFF: Keeping it Natural and Keeping it Short

Posted By on Sun, May 18, 2008 at 4:44 PM


This year's panel on economic incentives aimed at encouraging growth in the native film industry was all business. Sure, there was boosterism. However, Christopher Crane led off with concrete examples of the steps being taken to put together a real incentive package for next year's vote. The state film office has already commissioned an economic impact analysis, and they're determined to bring real facts to the floor when putting forth their plan in 2009. With millions of dollars to be made, the state legislature's liable to perk up their ears.

Little Rock Film Commissioner Gary Newton focused on the infrastructure needed to build an industry, while Judge and Amy Reinhold brought first-hand experience of the kind of economic growth that can result from such measures. The couple's home base of New Mexico has seen hundreds of millions of dollars flood into the state since implementing its incentive package. 

A good deal of time was spent on what Judge Reinhold called "managing expectations," with Newton repeating a cautious maxim: "Incentives can't make bad locations good, but they can make good locations competitive." Still, the natural beauty of our state and the recent success of the LRFF are cause enough for optimism.

I've said before that I never miss a documentary shorts program, and, true to my word, I skeedaddled back to the Riverdale as soon as the panel opened up to audience questions. I wasn't disappointed. Among theighlights: "Rooftop Bees," about a Brooklyn-based beekeeper, and "Kids + Money," an extremely well-wrought look at the way 12-17 year olds spend money. The latter was pretty obscene, and I whispered in festival co-founder Jamie Moses' ear as I groped for the exit that it had me feeling a bit apocalyptic, just like my every reluctant trip to the mall. 

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