Local TV-film industry is precious investment


POSTED: Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I am writing in opposition to the plan to reduce/eliminate the Hawaii Film Office. I understand the severe financial circumstances our state suffers under, both from the depressed economy and a battered tourism industry. I understand the fact that there is simply not enough money to go around for all desired state functions. I understand that we are engaged in a game of “;musical chairs”; in which far too many rear ends are seeking far too few fiscal chairs to sit on.

But before we yank the chair out from under our local film economy, let us recall that the local film and TV industry continues to bring revenues to the island—revenues which will vanish if we cease being competitive with other tropical filming locations.

The history with other portions of the American economy, such as automobile and TV manufacturing, show repeatedly that once an industry is lost to other countries, those countries are committed to keeping that leadership, and playing catch-up is a fool's task.

Clearly, Hawaii needs to place its support in those areas which produce a profit to the state. But reading the newspapers, it seems that far too many fiscal decisions are being made based on promises made during more politically reckless times, which are now being enforced by the courts. The philosophy seems to be to take care of past promises at great sacrifice to our future.

The problem as I see it is a lack of equal protection under the law. We see the courts mandating the preservation of certain benefits to certain specific groups, but where is the legal protection for our citizens who work in film and TV? Why should it be so easy to sacrifice the hard-working creative talent of Hawaii's film industry, who bring revenues into the state from outside?

From where I sit, the decision to reduce/eliminate the Hawaii Film Office is not based on the advisability of doing so, but merely because the absence of union contracts and a sufficient angry voting block makes it possible to do so. Our Legislature is not cutting the spending that needs cutting, but chooses to cut what it thinks it can get away with.

Please invest in Hawaii's future. Keep the Hawaii Film Office.

Michael Rivero runs Home Baked Entertainment in Aiea.