Lt. Governor Lawton Announces More Creative Industry Jobs Coming to State

Governor Doyle’s Incentives Lead to Film Projects and Other Expansion;

Lawton Unveils New Strategic Direction for Arts Board


Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton today returned from a visit to the Sundance Film Festival to announce more creative industry jobs are coming to Wisconsin, thanks to the state’s new film incentives, which were signed into law by Governor Jim Doyle and went into effect January 1, 2008.


“The creative industries are essential to enriching economic development in all sectors in Wisconsin,” Lawton said. “Governor Doyle’s economic leadership is creating fertile ground for success. These very early indicators of the strong magnetic pull of the incentives bode well for the future of our economy and working families.”


Lawton announced that Fletcher Camera, a national leader in digital and film camera equipment rental and sales, will open an office in Milwaukee.


“Fletcher clearly sees great potential to develop a strong customer base with the film and video production projects set to land in Wisconsin,” Lawton said. “I think everyone in the industry is impressed to see how quickly we are developing infrastructure to take us beyond the quick hit of the film shoot and creating permanent jobs in the state.”


“As the largest digital and film acquisition rental house in the Midwest, we are proud to be expanding our operations to Wisconsin,” said Vice President of Marketing Tom Fletcher.


Lawton also announced that Third Coast Studios in Milwaukee will open Third Ward Records, a sound production facility, this summer. Third Coast will then expand further, beginning construction on two new film and video studios totaling nearly 20,000 square feet.


Lawton confirmed that The Violinist, a $1 million independent film about Arab-Israeli immigrants, will film entirely in the Green Bay area, and thriller Blue World will spend its $2.5 million budget filming in Milwaukee.


“We are very excited to announce that The Violinist will be filmed in Green Bay,” said Violinist producer Jay Schillinger. “This is a $1 million dollar film that is set to begin pre-production soon. We will be filming a large part of the movie on a campus – either UW-Green Bay or Saint Norbert College – and in the downtown Green Bay Area. “


The Violinist is a production of Green Bay-based Pulse Communications. Blue World is a project of Chicago-based Frontsight Productions.


Lawton underscored that exciting development has been led by the Wisconsin State Arts Board (WAB), which she chairs.


“The arts and creative industries are a major economic driver. They provide good jobs, generate revenue and animate communities to be attractive to the workforce all businesses need,” Lawton said. “The Wisconsin Arts Board is uniquely positioned to provide leadership to establish Wisconsin’s stronghold in the creative economy.”


Lawton and Arts Board Executive Director George Tzougros unveiled the WAB’s new positioning statement that reflects their strategic vision: “Culture. Community. Creativity. Commerce.”


“We will continue in our traditional role as a grantor and partner to arts and culture organizations statewide,” Lawton said. “And we seek to expand our capacity to meet demand in regional economic development, workforce development through arts education and new partnerships connecting creative industries to the success of our mainstays of agriculture, manufacturing and tourism.”


Lawton said the Arts Board, which has not seen a budget increase in fifteen years, will seek to boost its funding to $1.00 per capita in Wisconsin. Funding currently sits at 44 cents per person, 48th in the nation. The increase, bringing the state to about mid-ranking among others, will not be used to add staff but rather meet greater demand among constituents.


Lawton unveiled the visual representation of the new Arts Board strategy, a stylized “Four C’s” logo designed by Green Bay advertising agency and design firm Arketype.