The Michigan Film Office announced Friday that Ben Hogan Lessons Mobile Application has been approved for a digital media incentive from the state.

The project, led by Royal Oak-based Pixofactor, adapts the classic book “Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf” by golf icon Ben Hogan into an instructional and interactive app for mobile phones.

The application, which will be developed for smart phones like the iPhone and Android, will feature golf fundamentals explained and demonstrated with interactive animation.

The film office previously approved incentives for the Ben Hogan Five  Lessons Wii Game and the interactive Web site Ben Hogan Five Lessons Interactive Experience.

“Michigan is home to some of the best golf courses in the nation as well as a growing digital media sector making the state an ideal fit for this project,” said Carrie Jones, director of the Michigan Film Office. “Often, the digital media component of the incentives gets overlooked, but the jobs associated with this industry have enormous potential for our state.”

Ben Hogan Lessons Mobile Application was awarded an incentive of $78,440 on $196,100 of projected in-state expenditures. The team working on the project will include eight to 10 individuals, according to Pixofactor.

“We have clients that understand the talent pool here in Michigan and have been waiting anxiously to bring more development to the state,” said Sean Hurwitz, CEO of Pixofactor. “The local universities are developing tremendous young programmers that are trained in the mobile and online social space, which is still in its infancy. This enormous market will rapidly impact permanent jobs here in Michigan.”

The mobile phone application is designed to improve players’ golf games by virtually teaching them the legendary swing of Hogan, one the greatest golfers of the 20th century. The previous Ben Hogan interactive experience and Wii game were the first interactive Web site and video game to be approved for tax incentives by the Michigan Film Office. The Ben Hogan Mobile Application will be the first phone application to be approved for the incentives.

This is the 11th project approved under the new policy and guidelines issued by the Michigan Film Office. In 2011, 13 projects have been approved with $19.6 million awarded on $47.2 million of approved production expenditures for the year. These projects are expected to create 1,412 Michigan hires with a full time equivalent of 311 jobs.

Michigan formerly offered the most generous tax breaks for moviemakers in the nation. But the Snyder administration, citing the state’s $1.5 billion deficit, demanded a $25 million annual cap on new incentives for filmmakers. An Ernst & Young study done for Michigan visitors bureau showed a $6 return for every $1 spent under the original Granholm-era subsidies but the Snyder administration claimed a return of only 28 cents on the dollar.


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