Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

[FILM] Chris Lee is the E.P. for "Superman Returns" (Kai Penn is in the cast)

Expand Messages
  • madchinaman
    Directed by BRYAN SINGER, the film is produced by JON PETERS, BRYAN SINGER and GILBERT ADLER. http://www.supermanhomepage.com/movies/movies.php?topic=superman-
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 14 1:10 AM
      Directed by BRYAN SINGER, the film is produced by JON PETERS, BRYAN
      SINGER and GILBERT ADLER.
      http://www.supermanhomepage.com/movies/movies.php?topic=superman-
      returns


      -

      BIO:
      CHRIS LEE is the former President of Production for TriStar Pictures
      and Columbia Pictures, President of Chris Lee Productions, and the
      founding Chairman of the University of Hawaii's new Academy for
      Creative Media (ACM). During his tenure as an executive in
      Hollywood, Mr. Lee supervised such Academy Award-winning films as
      JERRY MAGUIRE, PHILADELPHIA, and AS GOOD AS IT GETS. He also worked
      on numerous other hits such as, MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING, LEGENDS OF
      THE FALL, THE FISHER KING, THE MASK OF ZORRO, STARSHIP TROOPERS,
      GODZILLA, STEPMOM, GO and THE PATRIOT. His current project includes
      the blockbuster SUPERMAN RETURNS.

      As head of Chris Lee Productions, Mr. Lee produced Columbia
      Pictures' smash hit SWAT, starring Colin Ferrell and Sam Jackson.
      Chris Lee Productions also produced Warner Brothers' action picture
      BALLISTIC: ECKS VS. SEVER starring Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu.
      Previously, Mr. Lee produced the world's first photo-realistic
      computer animated feature, FINAL FANTASY, for Square Pictures and
      Columbia Pictures.

      Chris Lee is also the executive producer of the animated series
      HEAVY GEAR, has had feature projects and television series in
      development at various studios, and produced music videos for
      artists ranging from Janet Jackson, The Backstreet Boys, Faith Hill,
      Elton John and Destiny's Child.

      Raised in Hawaii, Mr. Lee returned home in 2002 to create the
      Academy for Creative Media, a system-wide initiative involving all
      ten campuses of the University of Hawaii. Designed as an economic
      engine for the state, the ACM recognizes the transformation of
      entertainment media through technology, emphasizes the coming
      dominance of global popular culture, provides a platform for
      indigenous voices to tell their stories to the broadest possible
      audience, and focuses on attracting digital technology, software
      creation and interactive programming companies to the State of
      Hawaii.

      Mr. Lee began his career in entertainment after graduating from Yale
      University with a degree in Political Science. His first job was
      with ABC's GOOD MORNING AMERICA. He then worked with acclaimed
      director Wayne Wang as the Assistant Director and Assistant Editor
      for the film DIM SUM. Mr. Lee joined TriStar Pictures in Los Angeles
      as a script analyst moving up the executive ranks to the post of
      President of Motion Picture Production and subsequently holding the
      same position at Columbia Pictures.
      .
      Mr. Lee is very proud to have been the first minority and Asian
      American to be President of Production of a Hollywood studio. He
      currently serves on the State of Hawaii's Film and Television
      Development Board and is a founding member of the Coalition of Asian
      Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE). Mr. Lee was consistently named one
      of A Magazine's most influential Asian Americans, served on the
      board of the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium in
      Washington DC and was member of the Committee of 100. He is proud to
      have received numerous honors including the Justice in Action Award
      from the New York Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund,
      the Visionary Award from East-West Players in Los Angeles, and the
      Museum of Chinese in America's Role Model Award.

      Legendary Pictures is a newly formed independent production company
      founded by a highly-regarded team of entertainment and media
      executives that has established a unique strategic partnership with
      Warner Bros. to create, develop, co-produce, co-finance and
      distribute major motion pictures.

      The Company's objective is to become a leading player in the film
      industry by creating a portfolio of profitable films, which over
      time will build into a valuable library. Warner Bros. Pictures and
      Legendary Pictures announced an agreement in principle for a multi-
      year, 25-picture deal, subject to certain provisions to be jointly
      produced with and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

      The slate under this agreement will include a variety of films,
      among them major event releases and pictures of varied genres. In
      addition to partnering on Warner Bros. Pictures-developed projects,
      Legendary Pictures will actively develop its own projects as a part
      of the 25-picture slate.

      http://acm.hawaii.edu/ (Academy for Creative Media)

      -


      ABRY Announces Investment in Legendary Pictures
      http://www.abry.com/news_legend_062205.shtml


      Boston (June 22, 2005) – ABRY Partners recently completed a
      mezzanine investment in Legendary Pictures, a motion picture
      production vehicle that has a multi-year, 25-picture agreement,
      subject to certain provisions, with Warner Bros. Pictures. Legendary
      will be investing approximately $500 million in a variety of films
      to be jointly produced with and distributed by Warner Bros.
      Pictures. The slate under this agreement will include a variety of
      films, among them major event releases and pictures of varied
      genres. In addition to partnering on Warner Bros. Pictures-developed
      projects, Legendary Pictures will actively develop its own projects
      as a part of the 25-picture slate.

      The Legendary management team includes:

      Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary Pictures, has most
      recently been president and a director of The Convex Group, a media
      and entertainment holding company.

      Chris Lee, Legendary's President, will manage the relationship with
      Warner Bros. Pictures' development teams. He is the former head of
      production for TriStar Pictures and Columbia Pictures.

      Scott Mednick, Chief Marketing Officer of Legendary Pictures, has
      been a leader in the entertainment, marketing and technology sectors
      for the last 25 years. He has been involved in the marketing for
      more than 170 films.

      Larry Clark, COO and CFO of Legendary Pictures, will oversee
      finances and day-to-day operations. He was most recently CFO for
      Creative Artists Agency and, prior to that, was Senior Vice
      President, Corporate Development, for Sony Pictures Entertainment.

      William Fay, President of Physical Production for Legendary
      Pictures, has produced or executive produced such films as The
      Patriot, Godzilla and Independence Day.

      ABRY Partners, based in Boston, is one of the oldest and largest
      private equity funds in North America investing exclusively in media
      and communications companies. ABRY has over $7.0 billion of assets
      under management and since 1989 has completed over $17.0 billion of
      leveraged transactions in the media and communications industries.


      The screenplay is by MICHAEL DOUGHERTY & DAN HARRIS, and the story
      is by BRYAN SINGER and MICHAEL DOUGHERTY & DAN HARRIS.

      The executive producer is CHRIS LEE.

      The director of photography is NEWTON THOMAS SIGEL A.S.C.;

      the production designer is GUY DYAS;

      the film is edited by JOHN OTTMAN and ELLIOT GRAHAM;

      the costume designer is LOUISE MINGENBACH; and the

      music is by JOHN OTTMAN.

      The film is based upon Superman characters created by JERRY SIEGEL &
      JOE SHUSTER and published by DC Comics.


      =========================


      Full Cast and Crew for
      Superman Returns (2006)
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0348150/fullcredits


      Directed by
      Bryan Singer

      Writing credits
      Jerry Siegel (characters) &
      Joe Shuster (characters)


      Bryan Singer (story) and
      Michael Dougherty (story) &
      Dan Harris (story)


      Michael Dougherty (screenplay) &
      Dan Harris (screenplay)


      Cast (in credits order)
      Kevin Spacey .... Lex Luthor
      Brandon Routh .... Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman
      Kate Bosworth .... Lois Lane
      James Marsden .... Richard White
      Frank Langella .... Perry White
      Sam Huntington .... Jimmy Olsen
      Eva Marie Saint .... Martha Kent
      Parker Posey .... Kitty Koslowski
      Kal Penn .... Stanford
      Stephan Bender .... Young Clark Kent
      Marlon Brando .... Jor-El (archive footage)
      rest of cast listed alphabetically:
      David Fabrizio .... Brutus
      Raelee Hill .... Paramedic
      James Karen .... Ben Hubbard
      Jack Larson .... Bibbo
      Mike Massa .... 777 Pilot
      Ted Maynard .... News Anchor
      Noel Neill .... Previously Wealthy Woman
      Ian Roberts .... Riley
      Paul Shedlowich .... News Anchor
      Vincent Stone .... Henchman
      Jeff Truman .... Gil
      Peta Wilson .... Bobbie Faye
      Warwick Young .... 777 Co-Pilot
      Darren K. Hawkins .... Metropolis Citizen (uncredited)


      ================


      Superman Executive producer Chris Lee gives the Honolulu Advertiser
      an update on things going on down under:
      http://www.superman-v.com/news.php?id=83


      ''Aloha from Down Under, where I'm producing Warner
      Brothers' "Superman Returns," starring Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor,
      Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane, and newcomer Brandon Routh as the Man of
      Steel.

      Many people have asked me why this most American of heroes is having
      his latest movie made in Australia. The simple answer is economics.

      We're shooting at the Fox Studios Sydney (built with government
      incentives), the same lot used for the recent Star Wars films and
      the Matrix Trilogy. Warner Brothers' decision is based on the
      favorable exchange rate, the Australian government's 12.5 percent
      rebate on all production expenditures (no cap), and a broad
      infrastructure of crews, equipment and ample stage space (we're
      using all seven stages on this lot, each of them at least twice the
      size of Hawai'i's Diamond Head facility).

      In short, we're here because the Australian government has made it
      very attractive for big budget Hollywood movies to spend a great
      deal of money in their country. Which brings me to our state's
      current debate over tax credits and incentives for films and TV
      shows. ''

      In the article he also mentions something a bit on the fx:

      ''Right now, I'm hoping to send some of the special-effects business
      on "Superman Returns" to Hawai'i-based companies.''


      The entire article, written by Mr.Lee, mostly discussing the
      Hawaiian film industry or lack there of, can be read at the


      ===============================


      Old-fashioned value
      "Superman Returns" offers a traditional, invulnerable man of steel.
      but on screen and off, it's a different place for his kind of
      heroics.
      By Geoff Boucher, Times Staff Writer
      http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/cl-ca-
      superman15jan15,0,4661047.story?coll=cl-home-top-blurb-right


      SYDNEY, Australia — In a secret corner of a warehouse here, the
      biggest star of one of the biggest movies of 2006 was hidden away
      all of last summer. Outside eyes were not welcome and sunlight was
      blocked out to avoid its aging effects. But on one rainy day in
      June, the star's keeper allowed a rare visit. "Not a lot of people
      get to see this," she said with a conspiratorial whisper as her key
      clicked open the lock.

      Inside were 60 versions of a famous costume, all blue tights and red
      capes, but hardly identical. Some of the crimson capes were
      fashioned of silk twill (for just the right flutter during
      supersonic flying) while others came with boots of vinyl (better
      than leather during those seagoing adventures). More than a few
      featured a specially milled French wool that simply dazzles beneath
      a Metropolis sunset.

      "This one here is a beauty cape," said Louise Mingenbach, the
      costume designer for "Superman Returns," "and with backlighting it's
      gorgeous … the aura a hero deserves, don't you think?"

      If the medium is the message, certainly fashion can be the film and
      costume can be character. That's never more true than with Superman.
      He's been the hero of comic books, radio, film, Broadway and
      television, and (with the notable exception of the TV
      hit "Smallville") the most powerful constant has been that signature
      costume. "Superman Returns" features notable actors (Kevin Spacey,
      Kate Bosworth and Parker Posey, with newcomer Brandon Routh in the
      title role), but undeniably, its star power is vested in the most
      famous uniform south of Santa's closet. Yes, after nearly two
      decades, Superman is back. Can't you hear it already? Look ... up in
      the sky….

      The June release of "Superman Returns" will end a long, ugly and
      often ridiculous quest to relaunch the first and greatest superhero
      as a silver-screen venture. And a lot has happened since last we
      left our hero; the 1987 "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace" was a
      poor final flight for the late Christopher Reeve, and in the years
      since a different sort of hero has filled the void. Costumed
      characters such as Batman, Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Incredibles
      not only made big box office, they also flipped the definitions of
      the genre. In temperament, Superman is essentially a big, blue Boy
      Scout — but the heroes now in favor come wrapped in dangerous black
      leather, fight authority or wrestle with internal angst. Sometimes
      they even lose. All that keeps them down to earth, unlike the
      traditional and invulnerable Man of Steel.

      The new edgy generation also comes in PG-13 films, but now Superman,
      like a Midwest candidate lauding family values, is expected to
      arrive at theaters as proudly PG. That rating gives it the
      rare "movie for all ages" status, but it also risks the dreaded eye-
      roll from teenagers, the constituency that clearly rules the summer
      movies.

      So as strange as it is, the question that greets this ambitious $200-
      million revival of the 68-year-old champion of truth, justice and
      the American way is not "What took so long?" The question is: "Will
      this still fly?"



      OH, FOR A FRANCHISE PLAYER

      THE return of Superman has been building for 11 years — or more
      precisely, it's been collapsing during that span. At one point,
      Nicolas Cage was set to wear the cape and Johnny Depp was tapped as
      Lex Luthor. Directors came and went — Tim Burton, Wolfgang Petersen,
      McG and Brett Ratner among them. Scripts churned too, with wildly
      different plots (Superman dies, Superman turns evil, Superman fights
      Batman) and varying degrees of separation from the familiar
      mythology (Superman's home planet never really blew up, Superman
      wears a different costume, Superman can't fly).

      All of it was a stab at securing the most powerful profit engine
      known to Hollywood: a magnetic, multiple-movie franchise that spans
      summer seasons. Warner Bros. could not let Superman languish. The
      problem was in the details of his return. Everybody wanted the old
      war horse to ride in new fashion.

      "I don't want to sound critical, but some of the changes were, in a
      way, quite dangerous," said Guy Hendrix Dyas, production designer
      for "Superman Returns." "To ignore or explode the folklore may feel
      rewarding or bold for the person doing it, but you really risk
      treading on what's been done before. Bryan didn't want to do that."

      Bryan is Bryan Singer, the man who finally ended up with the
      director's job for Superman's 21st century revival. His presence has
      been cheered by comic book fans, and with good reason. Singer
      directed the two "X-Men" movies that — along with Sam
      Raimi's "Spider-Man" films — are credited with ushering in the
      modern maturity of superhero movies. Unlike Raimi, Singer was never
      a comics fan. But he passionately loved the 1978 "Superman" with
      Reeve. And his version is a valentine to that Richard Donner film.

      The Fortress of Solitude, Superman's Arctic headquarters, is
      carefully designed to remind audiences of the one that Donner shot.
      The Kent farm in Kansas has the same layout too. John Williams'
      theme music from the original is used lovingly in the new one. Even
      Marlon Brando, who played Superman's father, Jor-El, is heard
      in "Superman Returns" — the late actor's voice speaks words of
      wisdom to Routh, just as it did to Reeve. (There will be a
      dedication to Brando in the film's credits.)

      Singer, raised in New Jersey by adoptive parents, said Donner's
      telling of how the last son of Krypton was raised on Earth always
      resonated with him. "He's an American superhero, but he's also the
      ultimate immigrant, isn't he? And it's interesting to go back to
      that story now, because things are different."

      Different in the real world, different in Hollywood and different in
      the film too. Today's cynicism and expectations of darker hero tales
      are reflected in the plot of "Superman Returns." A huge crystalline
      spaceship (again a nod to the original franchise) crashes near a
      Kansas farm — but this time, instead of an infant, the passenger is
      a grown man. Superman has been gone from Earth for five years on a
      failed quest to learn more about his origins. And in his absence,
      his adopted world grew sour toward its hero. That's exemplified by
      Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth), now a single mom engaged to a new man
      (played by James Marsden, a veteran of both "X-Men" movies) and
      riding high in her journalism career after an award-winning Daily
      Planet series critical of the missing Superman.

      "In a sense, the movie is about what happens when an old romance
      returns unexpectedly and also the anger we all have toward people
      that let us down or leave us behind," Singer said. "This is about
      the obstacles that befall an idealistic man. It's about an old-
      fashioned hero in a modern world that isn't sure it wants him."

      Singer said all of this wincing. His neck and shoulders were tight —
      "It happens when I don't get enough rest." Filming at Fox Studios
      Australia (which, thanks to Australian tax breaks, has become a
      hectic hub for production), Singer was clearly ragged from working
      on a film that, by its budget alone, is a high-stakes affair. But
      the early signs are positive. At the San Diego Comic-Con in August,
      thousands of die-hard fans — the toughest crowd there is — gave
      sneak-peek footage a rousing, extended ovation. And the cable
      channel FX this month inked an early-bird deal worth as much as $25
      million to secure the television rights for the movie, which won't
      air until 2009.

      The movie is big in a literal sense too: Singer's emphasis on real-
      world sets meant building a 200-foot burning spaceship, the façade
      of a five-story Daily Planet, the glass-bottomed deck of a luxury
      yacht, the Fortress of Solitude and a Kansas homestead (complete
      with cornfield) re-created in a dusty Australian plain an hour's
      flight from Sydney.

      Asked about the breadth of the endeavor, Singer shrugged. "It has to
      be big, right? It's Superman."



      REVENGE-SEEKING LUTHOR

      THE most fascinating set may be the smallest. The bad guy in the
      film is Lex Luthor, and one of his lairs is a mansion with a
      spectacularly detailed model-train set. The train set comes complete
      with aircraft, a model of Metropolis and even a harbor that (if you
      look really closely) has figurines posed in a reenactment of the
      shootout from the dock scene in "The Usual Suspects," Singer's
      breakthrough heist film. In that film, Singer got a bravura
      performance from Spacey as criminal mastermind Keyser Soze; now the
      Oscar-winning Spacey is Lex Luthor.

      "This is a darker Lex too, because he's been in prison and he wants
      revenge," Singer said as he prepared for a scene on the giant Arctic
      set. "He's not playing around."

      Over his shoulder, Spacey studied script pages and adjusted his
      parka and goggles. With his shaved pate and jackboots, the actor
      seemed to channel both Daddy Warbucks and Gen. Rommel. As the scene
      began, Singer fidgeted with a microphone (which was decorated with a
      tiny red cape) and called out vague instructions for Spacey to "do
      it different." Spacey smiled as the director mumbled and winced and
      said he's enjoyed working with Singer again.

      "This is really my first time in a film of this sort — the big-
      budget, franchise, huge Hollywood thing — and Bryan has shown an
      ability to do these and do them in an interesting way, a
      sophisticated way," Spacey said.

      In the scene, huge fans blow fake snow into the faces of Luthor and
      his henchmen as they creep up on the entrance to the Fortress of
      Solitude. Spacey barks out insults to his bumbling assistants with
      such gusto that Singer and the crew have to muffle their laughter
      while the cameras are rolling. The movie is split between the hero
      and villain, and it builds to a climactic showdown — the only time
      Spacey is on camera with his caped rival ("If you're Lex Luthor,"
      Spacey noted, "you don't want to get near Superman because, well,
      you're not going to win if it comes down to a fistfight, are you?").

      Singer said Spacey is vital to the film.

      "The original movie was credible, and one big reason was casting
      people like Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford —
      I felt coming in that we were measured by that yardstick. So we have
      Kevin and Eva Marie Saint, Parker Posey. This kind of movie requires
      you to have a strong center, strong actors who don't get lost in it."

      Just as Harrison Ford brought vital humor to the first "Star Wars"
      franchise, Hackman was the winking presence in the "Superman" movies
      that helped grown-ups deal with the fact that they were watching a
      movie about a fellow wearing tights. Now Spacey must be both
      menacing and funny to keep "Superman Returns" interesting. They say
      a superhero movie lives and dies by the quality of its villain.

      "I've heard that and, certainly, it's fun to play the villain, but I
      disagree that it's the most important aspect," Spacey said. "This
      movie is about Superman, and I think it comes down to that costume
      and the person in it."



      SUPER FROM THE SOAPS

      BRANDON ROUTH got physically ill the first time he saw a Superman
      movie. It was Iowa, he was just a kid, and his family took him to
      see one of the "Superman" sequels (he was too young to see the
      original at the cinema — he was born in 1979) and he was so excited
      he threw up. He shakes his head at the memory. "Isn't that sad?"

      Routh, at certain moments, looks remarkably like Reeve, although the
      young man's features are thicker than the late actor's.

      "Watching some of the footage, there was a spot where I turned my
      head and I looked just like him," Routh said, sounding amazed. He
      most resembles Reeve in the guise of Clark Kent. "It's nice,
      actually. It makes me proud."

      Like Reeve and other actors who have played Superman, Routh, 26,
      comes into the project largely as an unknown. That was important to
      Singer, who was loath to take a well-known face and try to persuade
      an audience to accept him as the Man of Steel.

      Routh, a soap opera veteran, called the physical process of donning
      the famed suit "humbling and sometimes painful," because of the
      rigors involved, but he lauds the under-armor and fake
      musculature. "I recommend it for everyone. Who needs the gym, right?"

      He describes as "torture" the entire process of making him fly.

      "The hardest thing was the first day I actually flew on film, you
      know, riding the wires." Routh shook his head and sipped on bottled
      water. "Nobody was quite sure how it would look. It had been tested
      with other people, but everyone has their own, uh, unique style of
      flying. And putting the costume on for the first time was, well,
      scary. But once it's on, it's really powerful. That was a relief. It
      wasn't goofy."

      Goofy is always a deep concern when it comes to men in tights. So is
      typecasting. The first live-action Superman on screen was Kirk Alyn,
      but the first man to truly define the role was George Reeves,
      another Iowa native. The actor became famously bitter about the
      power the role exerted on his career. He often said he despised the
      costume he wore for "The Adventures of Superman," and he sourly
      noted that many children would try to "test" his invulnerability by
      kicking or punching him.

      Singer has become a student of Superman history. He knows the sad
      tales associated with something that, on paper, is so uplifting. He
      speaks with reverence about the character. But he also understands
      that the past must still fly in the present. "One of the things that
      pulled me to this was to do something that answers to a bigger
      legacy," he said. "And this film is a much more funny and romantic
      movie than any I've made before..."

      Viewers of "Superman Returns" won't know it when they walk into the
      theaters next summer, but for the scenes at the Daily Planet
      newsroom, Singer had Dyas and his people make up a phone list and
      job description for every single extra in the background — dozens of
      people. "Bryan wanted all of them to have a character, whether they
      were a sportswriter or a comic strip artist or a news reporter."

      Singer, asked about the puzzling attention to phantom details,
      shrugged and said that this movie will live or die by its marriage
      of the heroic unreal to its real-world setting. Superman has been
      wearing the cape for a half-century, but it can still fit — and the
      ideal can still make everyone look to the skies.

      "Things have moved on, people have moved on," Singer said. "Lois
      Lane has moved on. Superman is the same, but the world is changed.
      And that's what makes the movie interesting."


      ========


      State must invest in own filmmakers, studios
      By Chris Lee
      http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2005/Feb/20/op/op08a.html


      MOORE PARK, Australia — Aloha from Down Under, where I'm producing
      Warner Brothers' "Superman Returns," starring Kevin Spacey as Lex
      Luthor, Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane, and newcomer Brandon Routh as
      the Man of Steel.

      Many people have asked me why this most American of heroes is having
      his latest movie made in Australia. The simple answer is economics.

      We're shooting at the Fox Studios Sydney (built with government
      incentives), the same lot used for the recent Star Wars films and
      the Matrix Trilogy. Warner Brothers' decision is based on the
      favorable exchange rate, the Australian government's 12.5 percent
      rebate on all production expenditures (no cap), and a broad
      infrastructure of crews, equipment and ample stage space (we're
      using all seven stages on this lot, each of them at least twice the
      size of Hawai'i's Diamond Head facility).

      In short, we're here because the Australian government has made it
      very attractive for big budget Hollywood movies to spend a great
      deal of money in their country. Which brings me to our state's
      current debate over tax credits and incentives for films and TV
      shows.

      Obviously, I support these efforts. Without a substantial
      legislative commitment to one of our few economic alternatives to
      the visitor industry, Hawai'i will never compete for the kind of
      individual productions that spend on one film what a record year of
      production now brings to Hawai'i.

      At the same time, however, I don't believe legislative solutions
      should be arrived at out of panic over the loss of any particular
      production and without clear-cut goals that are equally beneficial
      to Hollywood shows and our indigenous filmmakers.

      Without a strong local community of writers, directors, producers
      and crafts people, Hawai'i will always be caught in the feast-or-
      famine cycle of serving as mere vendors beholden to the creative and
      financial whims of the studios and networks.

      It's not a question of whether Hawai'i should have production
      incentives. Every state and virtually every country courts the film
      industry through tax breaks.

      There's actually a billboard on Sunset Boulevard that says, "Hey
      Tarantino, we'll help you Kill Bill or Bob or anyone else if you
      shoot your movie in Pennsylvania, and we'll give you a 20-percent
      tax credit for doing it!"

      The question is: What is the specific goal of Hawai'i's production
      credits? In New Mexico, which offers production loans of up to $7.5
      million and tax credits up to 15 percent, the lack of crews led to
      the requirement of a Workforce Training and Mentorship program for
      on-the-job training.

      In New York, which has plenty of crews but an underutilized
      infrastructure, their latest $150 million tax-credit package
      requires the use of New York sound stages. In Louisiana, where
      producers can get from 15 to 20 percent in tax credits, an active
      studio and the Governor's Office of Film & Television Development
      are part of the University of New Orleans.

      Hawai'i, unique among any location I know of, ties its incentives to
      the tourism industry (you get more money back if you use the word
      Hawai'i in your title) and to unrelated but sellable tax credits
      rather than benefiting our own filmmaking community. There are
      quantifiable rewards to Hollywood and local corporations looking to
      lower their state tax bills, but no specific returns for our own
      industry to make us less dependent on "foreign" productions.

      This has led to some unfortunate choices in the past that have
      financially favored a few insiders, done little to build our local
      infrastructure or support indigenous filmmakers, befuddled and
      confused Hollywood as to how exactly Hawai'i wants to attract
      production to our shores, and, most importantly to my mind, left a
      very sour taste among local people regarding the value of what
      should be a vital driver for our future by keeping our talented
      students home with well-paying, satisfying jobs.

      Instead, overburdened local taxpayers are wary of "Hollywood rip-
      offs" and, based on past experience, rightly so.

      Consider, on the other hand, New Zealand, another island community
      based in an indigenous culture with a similarly rich tradition of
      storytelling through song, dance and chant. New Zealand's support
      for its own filmmakers led to movies such as "Once Were
      Warriors," "Utu," and "Whale Rider."

      But it also supported the career of local director Peter Jackson,
      who convinced New Line to spend more than $300 million making
      the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy there, which was followed by the
      hundred-million-dollar-plus productions of "The Last
      Samurai," "Narnia" and "King Kong." Hollywood moved to New Zealand
      because a New Zealander insisted they work there.

      It's time for Hawai'i to think globally but act locally — and for us
      to believe in ourselves. We can accomplish this by:

      • Passing a competitive tax-credit program in the 15- to 20-percent
      range that can be accessed by local low-budget productions as well
      as by Hollywood, but peg the level of incentives to building up our
      local infrastructure, both professional and educational.

      • Utilize existing and future Act 221/215 deals and tax breaks to
      invest in our kids by mandating educational support for innovative
      programs throughout the Department of Education, like Wai'anae High
      School's Searider Productions and the University of Hawai'i's system-
      wide Academy for Creative Media (disclaimer: The author is the
      chairman of the academy).

      We have islands full of camcorder-ready, computer-savvy, visually
      gifted, storytelling keiki ready to become the next Steven Spielberg
      with the right instruction.

      • Limit future Act 221/215 deals to locally based production
      companies with payrolls, real estate and actual ongoing business
      plans — not "one-offs" with post-office box addresses.

      • Encourage construction of a real, privately owned studio in West
      O'ahu where there's sufficient space for stages and the possibility
      of the only "infinity" tank in America (now they exist in Mexico and
      Malta and are always in use).

      • Fund the state's Film and Television Development Board, which is
      charged with supporting local filmmakers but has never actually had
      any money to disburse.

      I'm as weary as everyone else of shows that purport to be set in
      Hawai'i but bear little resemblance to our Island home or the people
      who live here. The only cure for this is enabling local writers,
      directors and producers to create parts for local actors filmed by
      local crews.

      • Increase the amount of money the Hawai'i Tourism Authority spends
      on indigenous filmmakers from something between the $100,000 given
      out last year and the millions spent annually on sports programming.
      Original productions are the best way to tell our own stories and
      entice future visitors to experience the real Hawai'i.

      • Expand the concept of production to include video games, digital
      animation, postproduction and visual effects — that's where the real
      money is these days. Right now, I'm hoping to send some of the
      special-effects business on "Superman Returns" to Hawai'i-based
      companies.

      Remember, computers and the Internet make this a global, highly
      outsourced business — one that's well suited to Hawai'i's beautiful
      but fragile environment and the natural talents of our students.
      Computer technology allows stories made in Hawai'i to be set
      anywhere on Earth or wherever your imagination takes you.

      Even to Krypton.

      All facts and figures in this article were taken from Issue No. 6,
      2004, of Emmy magazine.

      Chris Lee is on leave from the University of Hawai'i Academy for
      Creative Media and is sponsoring four UH students as the exclusive
      production interns on "Superman Returns." He wrote this article for
      The Advertiser.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.