Film and the Creative Economy in Mass.

Regarding Marie’s post about tax credits to lure film productions to Massachusetts, I don’t see how one can argue with the pay-off if you consider direct spending and indirect value in the form of marketing the distinctive character of Massachusetts as a place to live, work, or visit.

If you take “The Fighter,” “The Town,” and “The Social Network” together, there is no way that Boston, Lowell, or Cambridge could have afforded paid advertising to put themselves in front of millions of people who experienced the sense of place that this historic section of the country offers. The aerial shots of Charlestown with Bunker Hill and the Zakim Bridge, the exclusive ivy aura of Harvard with the effervescent student culture of Cambridge, Fenway Park (enough said), and the gritty blue-collar Lowell streets with their own authentic allure—all this imagery calls people to a special American place. Even if someone ends up not liking the characters, they’ve been transported to memorable places that they may have never seen—and then want to see for themselves. How many people were enticed to visit Chicago after watching “Ferris Bueller” and seeing the Art Institute, skyscraping architecture, big red Picasso sculpture, and the Cubs playing at Wrigley Field?

Our history and culture from the 1600s to today amount to our Grand Canyon, our Buckingham Palace. The history and culture are a form of energy the way Texas has oil in the ground. The state should do what it can to keep both Massachusetts filmmakers and out-of-town movie producers putting Massachusetts stories and places on screens of all sizes. We’ve got great material and one-of-a-kind locations.