This article is from the October 2010 issue of KC Stage
An impressive gathering of the local filmmaking community attended the first CinemaKC meeting at the Screenland Crown Center Theatre on
Sept. 16. The brief opening remarks were followed by screenings of two locally produced films with questions from the audience for the filmmakers. Two episodes of casting director Heather Laird’s web series Next were also shown (the series can be seen at nexttheseries.com). Producers Teri Rogers and Nicholas Vedros also attended, and they’re currently seeking investors to develop the series further.
Later in the evening, the animated short film Dried Up was screened. Produced as a thesis for students at the Kansas City Art Institute, the film went on to win a student Academy Award for its creators Isaiah Powers, Jeremy Casper, and Stuart Bury. You can have a look at the six-minute film at www.vimeo.com/5086128.
CinemaKC is an initiative of the Film Society of Greater Kansas City, formed in 1991. Their mission is to increase awareness, recognize talent and achievements, and build audiences while growing the reputation for quality studio and independent motion pictures by the professional film community in Kansas and Missouri.
Judging from the remarks at the meeting however, it seemed the immediate mission of CinemaKC is clear ― to get Hollywood to come to the bi-state area to make films. According to Laird, there’s only one way to do that: “It’s called a tax incentive. That is the single way that you get a film production or television production company to show up on your doorstep. The states where there are active tax credits is where everybody is going ― and Canada. If we don’t have that, they don’t come. Bottom line.”
Host Butch Rigby, president of CinemaKC and owner of the chain of Screenland Theatres, stated as much at the top of the evening when he said their goal was to “ensure that tax credits in Missouri keep going. There are a whole bunch of legislators that don’t necessarily believe in that.”
Also attending the meeting were CinemaKC’s influential founders, including local film veteran John Shipp and former Kansas City mayor Richard Berkley. Shipp hopes that CinemaKC will provide a centralized location for the local film community and bring them all together. Shipp concluded the evening stating, “One of the reasons that CinemaKC was founded is because we want to be in a position to offer you facilities and talent and ideas and collaborators to keep you here in Kansas City because you’re our next generation of filmmakers. Like Butch was saying, Walt Disney started here, and Bob Altman ― so many great guys, and so many great ladies, and you can follow in their footsteps.”
CinemaKC has an impressive list of strategic partners, including the Film Commission of Greater Kansas City, the Independent Filmmaker’s Coalition, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, Kansas City FilmFest, Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee, Kansas City Women in Film and TV, the Kansas Film Commission, the Kansas International Film Festival, the University of Kansas Film and Media Studies, the Missouri Film Commission, the Missouri Motion Media Association, Thank You Walt Disney, Variety of Greater Kansas City, the Kansas City Urban Film Festival, the American Heartland Theatre, and Screenland Crown Center.
CinemaKC showcased the Independent Filmmaker’s Coalition on Sept. 30, and will highlight UMKC’s Communication Studies on Oct. 28, the Kansas City Women in Film and TV on Nov. 11, and the Kansas City Film Critics Circle on Dec. 2. Find out more about CinemaKC or sign up for their blog at www.cinemakc.com.