Does Phil Gilpin have the magic formula for bringing more film and television production back to Vermont?
Over the years, there have been many attempts at growing the film and television industry here in Vermont. In fact, in the late 90s and early 2000s there was a flurry of hollywood films shot here. Big budget movies like What Lies Beneath, The Cider House Rules and Me, Myself and Irene all set up production within the state’s borders and used our picturesque landscape as the backdrop of their films.
Unfortunately, Hollywood and independent producers alike have moved on to greener pastures, even for films that are set in Vermont. Tax incentives in upstate New York and Massachusetts (among others) have persuaded producers to consider these locations that can easily double for Vermont. And so we are left with the current situation. A robust talent pool with not enough work.
Enter Phil Gilpin. Phil is a former executive with HBO and recently relocated his television based film festival (iTV fest) from L.A. to Vermont. Having been raised in neighboring Massachusetts, Phil’s family relocated to Manchester to open a small Inn and enjoy the more rural lifestyle. Phil immediately saw an opportunity to capitalize on the quintessential Vermont backdrop and the proximity to three major markets (New York City, Boston and Montreal). Three years ago, he uprooted the festival and brought it to Dover. This year, iTV fest has makes its home in Manchester, with the support of very enthusiastic businesses and community members.
It is amazing what Phil has been able to accomplish in three very short years. Each year, industry professionals from all over the globe have descended on Vermont for the weekend to enjoy screenings of new works, network on projects in development, make connections and enjoy the beauty of Vermont.
But Phil is just getting started. With generous support from area businesses, iTV fest will be offering production grants for Vermont based production in 2017. His goal is to see top tier production return to Vermont and by offering matching funds of up to 25% of production costs, he believes Vermont will once again become a magnet for big budget films and television.
To stay abreast of developments on this Vermont based production grant program log in to the iTV website at: www.itvfest.com. Film professionals and state officials will be meeting at the Equinox Resort in Manchester on February 7th to discuss the scale up and implementation of this program which will be available to film professionals starting in April. Rules and restrictions will apply but all filmmakers and media professionals are encouraged to submit. See site for details.
For now, good luck to Phil and everyone involved in this initiative. Long live Vermont media!!