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The American State of Michigan offers a rich and diverse landscape – rivers, lakes, sand dunes and forests – that can make for epic backdrops on the silver screen

Michigan is an American state in the upper Midwest and the heart of the Great Lakes region. The name ‘Michigan’ is derived from the Native American words ‘Michi-gama’ meaning ‘large lake’. Being a scenic state, Michigan has many attractions, from famous landmarks to national parks and forests. It has about 12,000 inland lakes, 38 deep-water ports, and more miles of coastline than any state but Alaska, and more lighthouses than any other US state. Its cities include a major metropolis, some university towns, and countless rustic villages which can be picture-perfect locations for any filmmaker.

Accommodating, inclusive and diverse are the three words that paint Michigan’s culture in broad strokes. But a closer look reveals grist for great filmmaking as much of Michigan is rich with pastoral charm. Michigan is one of the rare states situated to the east of the Mississippi River with Native American reservations and a sizeable indigenous population.

With major companies that conduct business worldwide, nationalities from all over the world make Michigan home. And the tendency of the communities here is to strike the balance between assimilation and preservation of heritage. You can find Latino, African-American, European and in the largest Middle-Eastern population in the United States.

Michigan is blessed with natural beauty. Top of that list are its Great Lakes, the waters of which are even depicted on official maps of the state. The Upper Peninsula region contains many of Michigan’s natural wonders, including the Pictured Rocks, Mackinac Island, Isle Royale, Tahquamenon Falls, Porcupine Mountains, and Seney National Wildlife Refuge. The Lower Peninsula has expansive forests, rivers, and inland lakes in the north, humongous sand dunes and countless miles of beautiful shoreline.


Michigan has a continental climate, although there are two distinct regions. The southern and central parts of the Lower Peninsula have a warmer climate with hot summers and cold winters. The northern part of the Lower Peninsula and the entire Upper Peninsula has a more severe climate, with warm, but shorter summers and longer, cold to very cold winters. Some parts of the state average high temperatures below freezing from December through February, and into early March in the far northern parts. During the winter through the middle of February, the state is frequently subjected to heavy lake-effect snow.

Michigan Film and Digital Media Incentive

The Film and Digital Media Production Assistance Program is an incentive program administered by the Michigan Film Office (MFO). It may provide partial reimbursement of a production company’s eligible expenditures paid for producing a film or digital media project in Michigan.

The Film and Digital Media Production Incentive is available to eligible production companies, that is, entities that are in the business of producing qualified productions, or for interactive games, in the business of developing interactive games. To be eligible for this program, a production company must have a combined minimum of $100,000 of Direct Production Expenditures plus Michigan Personnel Expenditures.

Programme Overview

Projects must have a minimum spend of at least $100,000 in Michigan to be eligible

No retroactive qualifying expenditures. Start counting your qualifying dollars on the date of Approval

25 per cent of direct production expenditures and qualified personnel expenditures

Claim an extra 3 per cent for expenditures at a qualified facility or post-production facility or 10 per cent for expenditures at qualified post-production facility

Caps: Incentive for ATL personnel capped at 30 per cent of total incentive

Application fee is equal to .2 per cent of the total funding requested (minimum $200, max $5,000)

All applicants can expect a maximum 21-day review process once the application is complete, as determined by the Michigan Film Office


Permits are required for production on federal, state and tribal lands. On federal property, security clearances must be processed with Homeland Security and can require a lead time of three to four weeks for final approval. State property approval must be acquired from the State Department that manages or owns the property.

Permits will be required for production on state and county roads and highways. For city and township owned roadways the local municipality is responsible for permits. Permits are required for sensitive areas such as state historical sites, military sites, and protected natural areas. Permits and a proper licence are required for all pyrotechnics and can be obtained at any Michigan State Police post.

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