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TV Series Approved For Film Incentive

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LANSING — The Michigan Film Office announced Friday that the television series “Ariel, Zoey & Eli Too” has been approved for a film incentive from the state. The show is filmed primarily in Ann Arbor and Livonia.

“’Ariel, Zoey & Eli Too’ has seen tremendous growth in its first two seasons and is now reaching millions of households across the United States,” said Carrie Jones, director of the Michigan Film Office. “With different guests from around Michigan, this show is a great way to showcase Michigan locations and talent to a large national audience.”

“Ariel, Zoey & Eli Too” was awarded an incentive of $191,646 on $456,300 of projected in-state expenditures. The approval was made prior to Dec. 31, 2011 under the previous tax credit structure and is not part of the $25 million allocation for Fiscal Year 2012. The project is expected to hire four Michigan workers with a full time equivalent of four jobs.

The nationally syndicated weekly children’s show features Ariel and Zoey, 13-year-old twins from Ann Arbor, and their 10-year-old brother Eli. The siblings perform skits, musical numbers and interview special guests.

The show is carried nationally on THECOOLTV nationally Monday-Friday at 4:30 p.m.  Beginning in February, the show will also air Thursdays at 5:00 p.m. on WCMU and WFUM television stations in Michigan.

“We are so grateful to the state of Michigan for its continued investment in our show, the talented Michigan resources we utilize and the great Michigan talent we feature,” said Matthew Engelbert, executive producer and father of Ariel, Zoey and Eli Engelbert. “This production is 100 percent Pure Michigan.”

This brings 2011 numbers to 22 projects approved with $24,764,052 in incentives being awarded on $59,520,179 of approved production expenditures for the year. These projects are expected to create 1,952 Michigan hires with a full time equivalent of 400 jobs.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. Film Review Committee, comprised of senior MEDC staff including the Michigan Film Commissioner, reviews all completed applications.

Using the statute to guide approval decisions, preference is given to projects that best meet the following criteria:

* The production is financially viable.
* Utilization of existing infrastructure (studios, post-production facilities, film labs, etc.).
* The number and wage levels of direct jobs for Michigan residents created by a production.
* Ability to show Michigan in a positive light and promote the state as a tourist destination.
* Magnitude of estimated expenditures in Michigan.

Since the incentives took effect in April 2008, the Film Office and the Department of Treasury have approved a total of $385.8 million in film incentives on $980.1 million in total qualified expenditures by productions in Michigan. This represents 227 projects that have been approved to date, including 162 projects that have actually wrapped in the state.

The Michigan Film Office was created in 1979 to assist and attract incoming production companies and promote the growth of Michigan’s own film industry. The Film Office also administers the incentive program for film, television and other digital media production in Michigan, as well as infrastructure development and workforce training.

More at www.MichiganAdvantage.org.

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