The most basic lesson of all of the various efforts, by both state and federal governments, to provide incentives for films to be made is that with government money comes government oversight.
Once you go down the road of filing for tax credits or government subsidy in various forms, and you depend on them to get your project made, you open yourself up to a host of regulatory, bureaucratic, and censorship issues. It shouldn’t be a surprise, for instance, that states might only want to reimburse those films that project an image of their state in a complimentary light.
The Michigan film bureaucracy has become infamous, selective, and capricious; you hear stories of corruption, by both government departments and those seeking the credits.
John Stossel examines some of the regulatory and economic issues surrounding film incentives.
Why not just have a free market for films? To do otherwise is to court government censorship or propaganda, neither of which should be an attractive option for filmmakers.
If you want to retain creative control and avoid the insidious influence of government oversight, then don’t take money from the government to make your “art.”
This is perhaps at its most compelling when you have Christians who are trying to genuinely trying to integrate an authentic sense of faith into their films.
Should the government be given a say, either directly or indirectly, in what such filmmaking looks like?