Michigan's ends film incentive program

(Photo: Detroit Free Press) 

LANSING -- Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation Friday that ends Michigan's film incentive program to grow the state's movie industry, but keeps the Michigan Film Office in tact -- at least for now.

House Bill 4122, now Public Act 117 of 2015, means an incentive program that helped attract major Hollywood stars and top directors to Michigan to make movies such as "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice," "Red Dawn" and the "Transformers" franchise, will soon fade to black.

"It's important that we support creativity and innovation in our state, and we'll continue to have a Michigan Film Office to assist moviemakers and production staff," Snyder said in a news release. 

"Michigan has much to offer the movie industry, including top-notch talent and beautiful backdrops that will continue to draw filmmakers to Michigan, even without taxpayer-funded incentives."

The law includes $25 million for the incentives for the 2016 fiscal year that begins this Oct. 1. But $19 million of that will go towards paying off the state's investment from pension funds in a struggling Pontiac film studio -- and none of it can be used to extend new deals.

The film office, however, can continue to operate to satisfy any existing contracts, which may last for another three years.

After that, the remaining duties of the film office, created in 1979, could be absorbed into the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

NFL Legend Frank Gifford Passes Away at 84

Pro Football Hall of Famer and veteran sports journalist Frank Gifford has died in Connecticut, his family announced on Sunday. He was 84.

In a statement, his family said:

It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved husband, father and friend, Frank Gifford. Frank died suddenly this beautiful Sunday morning of natural causes at his Connecticut home. We rejoice in the extraordinary life he was privileged to live, and we feel grateful and blessed to have been loved by such an amazing human being. We ask that our privacy be respected at this difficult time and we thank you for your prayers.

Born in Santa Monica in 1930, Gifford attended the University of Southern California on a football scholarship and went pro after being selected 11th overall in the first round of the 1952 draft.

Gifford played with the New York Giants his entire NFL career, from 1952 to 1964, with several visits to the Pro-Bowl. In 1956 he was league MVP and led the team to a championship (before it was called "The Super Bowl").

The Giants used Gifford at running back, defensive back, wide receiver and on special teams. He went to the Pro Bowl at three different positions. His 5,434 yards receiving were a Giants record for 39 years, until Amani Toomer surpassed him in 2003. His jersey number, 16, was retired by the team in 2000.

"Frank Gifford was an icon of the game, both as a Hall of Fame player for the Giants and Hall of Fame broadcaster for CBS and ABC," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "Frank's talent and charisma on the field and on the air were important elements in the growth and popularity of the modern NFL."

After his playing career ended, he became a sports commentator, first for CBS and then as a co-host of Monday Night Football from 1971 to 1985.

When he wasn't on the field, Gifford tried to put his movie-star good looks to use in Hollywood, appearing in about a dozen films, most notably the 1959 submarine movie "Up Periscope."

He married Kathie Lee Epstein, current TODAY show host, on October 18, 1986.

On Twitter Sunday afternoon, Kathie Lee posted: "Deeply grateful to all 4 ur outpouring of grace. We r steadfast in our faith & finding comfort in knowing where Frank is. Phillippians 4:13."
That verse states, "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me."

Veterans Walk Red Carpet with Stars in 'Faith of our Fathers' Regional Premieres

West Monroe, Louisiana was the final stop for a series of regional premieres of the Christian film, "Faith of Our Fathers", by Pure Flix and the Downes Brothers on July 5, 2015. Perfect timing over the Independence Day weekend, the premiere landed in the hometown of Duck Dynasty star Si Robertson who was supported with a strong showing from the rest of the Robertson family for his film debut. Actors Stephen Baldwin and Kevin Downes were also in attendance, in addition to Bobby Downes, one of the film's producers. The film stars were preceded down the red carpet by military stars, U.S. veterans, who were met with applause of support and appreciation.

More than 190 Actors Sign Letter to Support Israel

By TPIWriter
Hollywood has deservedly been labeled the epicenter of the “left coast.” It is a city full of misguided liberal actors who are too detached from mainstream Americans and traditional values.

Recently, conservative actor Jon Voight took a few pro-Hamas actors to task for their shameful comments about Israel’s efforts to defend their democracy from terrorism. And now, what began with a relatively small number of Hollywood celebrities voicing support for Israel has become almost 200 celebrity names signing on to a pro-Israel, anti-Hamas petition. Even superstars like Sylvester Stallone and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have signed on… which should be yet another reason to watch Expendables 3 this weekend!

In addition, some actors you wouldn’t expect to be on the correct side of this issue surprised us – A-Listers, such as  Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, and Mayim Bialik also signed on to oppose Hamas. Great news!

Here is the text of the petition:
We, the undersigned, are saddened by the devastating loss of life endured by Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza. We are pained by the suffering on both sides of the conflict and hope for a solution that brings peace to the region.
While we stand firm in our commitment to peace and justice, we must also stand firm against ideologies of hatred and genocide which are reflected in Hamas’ charter, Article 7 of which reads, “There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!” The son of a Hamas founder has also commented about the true nature of Hamas.
Hamas cannot be allowed to rain rockets on Israeli cities, nor can it be allowed to hold its own people hostage. Hospitals are for healing, not for hiding weapons. Schools are for learning, not for launching missiles. Children are our hope, not our human shields.
We join together in support of the democratic values we all cherish and in the hope that the healing and transformative power of the arts can be used to build bridges of peace.
And here is the full list of signers:
Michael Adler
Avi Arad
Tom Arnold
Jeff Astrof
Craig Balsam
Gary Barber
Roseanne Barr
Elana Barry
Jonathan Baruch
Aaron Bay-Schuck
Lainie Sorkin Becky
Steven Bensusan
Adam Berkowitz
Greg Berlanti
Jordan Berliant
Mayim Bialik
Joshua P Binder
Todd Black
Michael Borkow
Scooter Braun
Dan Brecher
Eric Brooks
Dan Bucatinsky
David Byrnes
Omri Casspi
Josh Charles
Etan Cohen
Joe Cohen
Marc Dauer
Craig David
Donald De Line
Matt DelPiano
Josh Deutsch
Minnie Driver
Jack Dytman
Lee Eisenberg
Doug Ellin
Diane English
Dan Erlij
Ron Fair
Dave Feldman
James Feldman
Patti Felker
Sam Fischer
Erica Forster
Gary Foster
Doug Frank
Bryan J. Freedman
Geordie E. Frey
William Friedkin
Daryl Friedman
Michael Fricklas
Jeremy Garelick
Ran Geffen-Lifshitz
Andrew Genger
Jody Gerson
Risa Gertner
Jami Gertz
Gary Ginsberg
David Glick
Jonathan Glickman
Evan Goldberg
Gil Goldschein
Tony Goldwyn
Nate Goodman
Marc Graboff
Kelsey Grammer
Trudy Green
Adam Griffin
Iris Grossman
Phil Hacker
Sanaa Hamri
Adi Hasak
Ned Haspel
Andrew Hurwitz
Kathy Ireland
Bill Jacobson
Neil Jacobson
Jonathan Jakubowicz Nathan Kahane
Adam Kaller
Zach Katz
Ryan Kavanaugh
Ron Kenan
Larry Kennar
Kevin King-Templeton
Michael Kives
Courtney Kivowitz
Patrick Knapp
Amanda Kogan
Steven Kram
Erik Kritzer
Peter Landesman
Eriq La Salle
Sherry Lansing
Estelle Lasher
Michael Lasker
Keili Lefkovitz
Carol Leifer
Avi Lerner
Colin Lester
Ben Levine
Susan Levinson
David Levy
Shuki Levy
Linda Lichter
Jonathan Littman
David Lonner
Benji Madden
Joel Madden
Bill Maher
Joshua Malina
Rob Markus
Orly Marley
Ziggy Marley
Bill Masters
Barry McPherson
Brian Medavoy
Jeff Melman
Scott Melrose
Jeffrey D. Melvoin
Rina Mimoun
Michael Morales
Alan Nierob
Michael Nyman
James Packer
Scott Packman
Amy Pascal
Donald S. Passman
Brett Paul
Linda Perry
Richard Plepler
Rob Prinz
Dan Rabinow
Dean Raise
Bruce M. Ramer
David Ready
Ivan Reitman
David Renzer
Hanna Rochelle
Seth Rogen
John Rogovin
Lena Roklin
Zvi Howard Rosenman
Bill Rosenthal
Phil Rosenthal
Brian Ross
Michael Rotenberg
Rob Rothman
Robert Rovner
Susan Rovner
Haim Saban
Nancy Sanders
Mark Schiff
Steve Schnur
Jordan Schur
Sam Schwartz
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Adam Schweitzer
Scott Siegler
Ben Silverman
Sarah Silverman
Martin Singer
Aaron Sorkin
Steve Spira
Sylvester Stallone
Norman Steinberg
Gary Stiffelman
Gene Stupnitsky
Eric Suddleson
Nick Styne
Danny Sussman
Traci Szymanski
Nina Tassler
Adam Taylor
Mitch Tenzer
Fred D. Toczek
Michael Tolkin
Jonathan Tropper
Paul Wachter
Nina Wass
Avi Wasserman
Steven Weber
Bernie Weinraub
Jerry Weintraub
David N. Weiss
Alan Wertheimer
Ron West
Nikki Wheeler
Bryan Wolf
Sharon Tal Yguado
Pete Yorn
Rick Yorn
Is Hollywood becoming more conservative? That’s doubtful, but at least we know there is a group of solid pro-West, anti-Hamas actors willing to speak out and voice their support for Israel’s war against terrorists.

Beloved Television Actress Valerie Harper Has Fallen Into a Coma After Numerous Cancer Diagnoses

By Actress Valerie Harper, who you may remember from her iconic role as Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Rhoda,” has fallen into a coma after being found unconscious backstage at a theater in Maine.

The 75-year-old actress was performing a rendition of the musical “Nice Work If You Can Get It” at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Oqunquit, Maine.

Harper has suffered numerous cancer diagnoses in recent years, including a recent diagnosis of terminal brain cancer in 2013.

There have been discrepancies in reports about her condition, with some media outlets reporting that she had been discharged from the hospital, when she was just transferred to a larger facility for further treatment.

Harper spoke to People in May about her ongoing health struggles:

“I’m ready to go. Maybe that’s the secret. That I’m absolutely – I don’t want to, my God, I want to live to be 102. But I am not banking on anything, really, because we shouldn’t.”
“We don’t know what’s around the corner. I think you just take each day and get the best out of it and do what you can and have fun.”

She has been extremely candid about her health and mortality in recent years. She famously said:

Image credit: Getty / Frederick M. Brown“I really want Americans, and all of us, to be less afraid of death, and know that it’s a passage, but that – don’t go to the funeral before the day of the funeral.”


“We’re all terminal; none of us are getting out of this alive.”
Beginning her career as a Broadway dancer, Harper later won three consecutive Emmy Awards for her performance as Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” In her later years she returned to her first love, the stage.

There’s been no official word from the Harper family on her condition.
We wish you well, Valerie.

Image credit: Getty / Frederick M. Brown