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CHICAGO DEFENDER


(ISSN: 07457014)


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INSIDE


Wednesday – Tuesday July 23-29, 2014


Front Page Story .......................................................3 Local News ...............................................................4 Business ....................................................................6 Education ..................................................................8 Opinion ...................................................................10 Commentary............................................................11 Faith ........................................................................12 Arts & Culture ........................................................17 Community Calendar ..............................................19 Classifieds ...............................................................21 Sports ......................................................................24


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LOCAL NEWS


Changes to law could mean more jobs for minorities in Chicago film industry


By Andrea V. Watson DEFENDER STAFF REPORTER


Discussion around amending an act that


would benefit the local Black film industry, as well as create economic development in ur- ban communities, has been happening over the last few weeks.


END Productions, an independently Black-


owned production company, has been speak- ing with members of the Black Chamber of Commerce, activists, local unions, as well as state representatives such as Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago). Delvin Molden, of the production company, said they are in the early stages of proposing an amendment to the Illi- nois Film Tax Credit Application.


“Hollywood, by historical standards, has


always been a stereotypical industry,” Molden said. “What we want to do is get these young men and women jobs in the industry [and] the first step is getting into the business, educat- ing people, and taking our own steps of get- ting our images out there.”


On July 2, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a


new law that would help the Illinois African American Family Commission do more in its efforts in assisting Black people. State Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) sponsored the bill. The bill would increase the commission’s role to now include monitoring legislation and cre- ating programs that will address the needs of Blacks in the state. The new law will also en- sure that official statistics around education, employment, income and health are contin- ually updated. It goes into effect January 1, 2015.


“Including African-Americans in the devel- opment and planning process of policies and programs will guarantee Illinois is better serv- ing the needs of minorities,” Hunter said in a news release.


Molden said he would like to see more


incentives offered to production companies that want to film in Illinois. He also said more diversity in the industry is necessary.


The Film Production Services Tax Credit Act of 2008 has a diversity section, he said, that vaguely addresses the “good faith effort” approach --“what a reasonable person would determine is a diligent and honest effort un- der the same set of facts or circumstances.” This approach is supposed to be used when hiring people of diverse backgrounds.


Even though the Department of Com-


Verified has conducted an audit of printing, distribution, and financial records, as well as other data to substantiate circula- tion data submitted to Verified. This audit followed guidelines prepared in conformity with generally accepted circulation auditing procedures involving records covering all distribution methods utilized for qualified circulation during the period(s) covered by the reports. The results of this audit warrant the issuance of this audit report to as a true and accurate state- ment of the qualified circulation of the client publication. We certify to the best to our knowledge all information set forth in this Publisher’s Statement in true and in accordance with VERIFIED AUDIT CIRCULATION Procedures and Regulations.


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merce and Economic Opportunity’s Diversity Plan already works on ensuring that everyone experiences a fair hiring process, Molden said more needs to be done. He wants “The Good Faith Effort” to look at the hiring process from a production standpoint. This will make sure minorities are getting jobs in Illinois, he said.


“The film industry has no concrete num-


bers,” Molden said. He explains that the Illinois Film Office includes in its diversity


photo credit: Wikimedia THE CHICAGO DEFENDER • July 23-29, 2014 3 photo credit: Wikipedia


report, any prospective job candidate who doesn’t answer the phone, a “good faith ef- fort.” Molden called their data “skewed.”


One suggested regulation will affect pro- ductions that receive Illinois tax credits--a sum is deducted from the total amount owed to the state. Production companies will have to document its efforts to hire minorities and share them with the Illinois Department of La- bor.


Another recommended change would con-


sist of having a representative from the Illinois Department of Labor conduct production site visits. The visit would be to ensure that the production company is following the diversi- ty goals in the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Diversity Plan.


If the company has done what’s expected,


then the project will be awarded a tax credit, but if they failed to ensure diversity, they will be denied the tax credit.


Molden has already found allies in his push


to increase jobs for African Americans. A lo- cal union, who represents technical workers, shared its support in a letter. The union’s president Bradley Matthys said that I.A.T.S.E.


476 is willing to help. “The Local will support END Production’s


efforts by providing professional assistance, help structure classroom curriculums, assist in participants advance training in classrooms located at various facilities, qualifying partici- pants getting into the Local union and jobs,” Matthys said in a letter. “We all agree that the number of minorities working in the film industry in Chicago needs to be addressed.”


The Chicago film industry will always need


people to fill technical positions such as gaf- fers, key grips, carpenters and painters, Mat- thys said. These roles require specialized training, he said.


Cinespace Chicago Film Studios also


wants to help. The company’s president, Alex Pissios, said in a letter that he would donate space and $2.5 million worth of equipment to help with the minority film training.


In the NAACP’s 2013 Resolution, the film


industry’s impact on communities is noted. “The NAACP recognizes that film, tele-


vision and digital media production activity sparks industry-related infrastructure devel- opment that serves to revitalize communities and sustains and helps grow thousands of small businesses that support the industry’s varied production needs, as well as attracts millions of tourism dollars from audiences around the world drawn to urban and rural production locations,” the resolution said.


The organization wants African Americans


to educate themselves on the importance of policies and programs that will attract and keep film, television and digital media produc- tion as a source of job opportunities in Black communities.


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