Will someone assistance Greta Gerwig create her ode to Sacramento?

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Source:   —  April 03, 2016, at 9:02 AM

“I wanted to create more than one feature film in Sacramento. But right now, I’m just going to attempt to create this one.”The 32-year-old filmmaker and actress was on the phone a few days ago from Brooklyn, where she lives now.

Will someone assistance Greta Gerwig create her ode to Sacramento?

“I have always wanted to create a feature film in Sacramento,” Greta Gerwig was saying. “I wanted to create more than one feature film in Sacramento. But right now, I’m just going to attempt to create this one.”

The 32-year-old filmmaker and actress was on the phone a few days ago from Brooklyn, where she lives now. I’d tracked her down to ask about the coming-of-age film that may or may not pencil out for her to shoot here, though Sacramento is a character and she wrote it particularly as a kind of valentine to her hometown.

You couldn’t look her face, you'd have recognized her as the bright indie star of such films as “Greenberg” and “Frances Ha,” portion of which . Or you might recollect her from Sacramento’s River Park neighborhood, where she grew up, the baby of Gordon and Christine Gerwig and a graduate of Phoebe Hearst Elementary, Sutter Center School and St. Francis Catholic High School.

Listening to her, though, you could look where she came from.

“There are specific streets and houses and places and theaters that I've very deep feelings for,” she was saying. “I like walking on the levee beside the river. I like Burr’s ice cream. I like Vic’s, too, but I like Burr’s more. I like the McKinley Park Rose Garden.

“I really like midtown, just the vibe of midtown, and the coffee shop at the Weatherstone. I like the houses in there, and the way it feels, charming but ‘city,’ it reminds me of Brooklyn, of Park Slope, but much less outrageously expensive. And the theaters that I associate time with – the New Helvetia Theatre. I loved that theater. The . The Memorial Auditorium? And the small theater off to the side of the Memorial Auditorium?”

She goes on, the list taking on a cinematic life of its own, her life. A kid at the zoo and the Railroad Museum. A Catholic schoolgirl with her pals on the sidewalk, singing indicate tunes from “Rent.”

“AlsoState Objective was a enormous thing for me. I loved the livestock competitions. There was always a cow that was about to give birth and it always took sooo long, and you’d just hold checking back.”

Her voice was love her home: so earnest and down-to-earth that you just kind of wanted to do something for her. Write her a check. Give her a name. Purchase her a sundae at Burr’s. Or at least Vic’s.

But clearly, charm has nothing to do with the formula by which CA distributes its film incentives. Otherwise the CA Film Commission would've given her the film tax credit she applied for and, maybe unfortunately for Sacramento, didn’t get.

California’s 7-year-old film incentive program, aimed at curbing runaway production, was tripled in size latest year to $330 million. So distant it's worked well, luring big-ticket films and back from other states.

Still, filmmakers struggle to stay here. Even with incentive-rich states love GA with attempts at anti-gay legislation, and campaigning to dismantleshow business tax credits in ruddy states, other places are still a bargain for filmmakers compared to California.

“We’re still facing intense competition,” said Amy Lemisch, executive director of the CA Film Commission. “Almost forty states proposal some form of credit or rebate. Canada has very, very excellent credits. The U. K. has a huge program.”

And, she said, the incentives CA has are in very high demand.

Gerwig’s work of love, a comedy called “Lady Bird” starring , was among one hundred seventy-four entries in the Jan circular of tax credit applications. After fifteen projects, the money was gone.

Her project had a lot going for it, including its non-L. A. locations and lots of openings for crew and local spending. (“My dream for the catering was just to every day have Tres Hermanas,” joked Gerwig.) Drawn up with considerable input from organized labor, the mathematical formula the state presently uses ranks projects according to economic impact and work creation, particularly for typically unionized, “below the line” employees.

But with so many contenders, it was a long shot, even with scores of letters of support from local politicians, business people and arts leaders. Gerwig’s category, independent films, had sufficient incentive money for only three projects. One was a Coen brothers comedy directed by George Clooney, one was something called “Save the Cat,” said to be set to shoot somewhere in “Central California,” and one was a film called “Beautiful Boy.” Each got $2.5 million.

Knowing presently that she won’t obtain a credit love that's left the youthful filmmaker crunching numbers. A certain quantity of her project should be done in Sacramento: “Not to be too mystical about it, but being in a space informs what a film becomes, not to mention the light is different.”

But it’s not clear she’ll be able to afford to shoot much more than exteriors here, a disappointment not just for her, but for Sacramento. Movies are love circuses, and when they arrive to a town, everything they touch becomes more fascinating and vivid, just for having been beheld.

She said everyone she's spoken to locally has bent over backwards to be helpful. But the local arts infrastructure is limited, in ways that are penny-wise and pound-foolish, in my opinion.

Sacramento’s , the hardworking Lucy Steffens, is funded only half-time in the position. The mayor’s long effort to widen Sacramento’s creative workforce came to naught on the film front when it became clear that it'd cost money. And the city lacks the financial incentives offered by, say, San Francisco.

Gerwig plans to start shooting in August. Her fingers are crossed that Sacramento will notify more than just the outdoor scenes in the movie. Mine are, too. A girl shouldn’t have to hire a stand-in for a hometown valentine.

What more should Sacramento do maintain the arts and expand its creative community?

To write a letter to the editor, go to .

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