Molly Deckart, the executive director of the Boise Film Foundation, talks about the film industry in Idaho and how she’s trying to use the foundation to support a creative economy for Idahoans:
Q: What’s your connection with film and Boise?
A: I grew up in Boise, went to Boise High, Boise State — anything with Boise in it, I went there.
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I’m the founder of the Idaho Horror Film Festival and became interested in film after the Idaho Legislature passed a tax incentive. However, it never got funded so it halted any momentum that was building around the idea of bringing more film to Idaho. The film community was shaken by that, and it actually stalled film production in the state.
We launched the Boise Film Foundation in January of this year with a big Idaho party at Sundance (the big annual film festival in Park City, Utah).
Q: Where does the foundation come in?
A: The foundation’s mission is to value a creative economy. Idaho goes after manufacturing and agriculture, and I think what legislators here fail to see is that having a creative economy actually means you have a healthy economy. That’s what we’re trying to do — to support creative people who are choosing to stay anchored to the state.
One of the things that the foundation is doing now is we are offering fiscal sponsorship for film projects so what that means is we allow the filmmaker to act as a nonprofit for their project so all donations would be made to the foundation. We take a small percentage and then roll over the rest of the amount to the filmmaker. The benefit would be to the donor because it becomes a tax-deductible donation. (The foundation is a nonprofit organization.) So we are really providing a win-win situation for the filmmaker and the donors who are interested in supporting film. Funding is always a bar to filmmakers so we are creating a new avenue for them to receive funding.
Q: What is the film community here like?
A: I think it’s more diverse than people realize it is. There are a lot of really talented people who love Idaho and live here. They’re making a lot of work, and people just aren’t aware of it so that’s something that we are trying to do — provide them with more exposure.
Q: What do you mean by diverse?
A: Diverse in their artistic expression, the types of films from shorts all the way to features. There are talented screenwriters and actors. If you want to shoot here, there are enough people to do it entirely with Idaho residents. These are serious professionals, and they run the gamut of that spectrum.
Q: How much revenue does film bring to the local economy now?
A: Well, that’s the problem. There hasn’t been anybody who’s done the data capture. I can tell you the projects we’re working with. We’re doing a very good job of measuring the ripple effect that film creates.
Q: How can people get involved with the foundation?
A: They can just email us. We are new and establishing our board as we speak. We are offering fiscal sponsorship for three projects currently and are entertaining more.
Q: What are some of your ongoing projects?
A: We are currently working with Zach Voss of Retroscope Media, who is doing a web series on volcanos, (and) Ken and Betty Rodgers, who are making a documentary titled “I Married the War,” which will look at the wives of combat veterans from WWII to Iraq and Afghanistan. We are also helping Christian Lybrook with his short film “Split Rail,” which will be done in the style of American Gothic.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: Oh, gees. I should probably say something intelligent, but I really love “The Big Lebowski.”
Q: Big takeaway?
A: The biggest thing that we’d like to convey is that the foundation is really interested in creating an infrastructure for film to be successful in Idaho, and that hasn’t existed yet. It’s really the three-legged stool: access to resources and technology; education for both emerging and established filmmakers so they can continue to hone their craft; and trying to work with our city and state governments to be more supportive of creative people who call Idaho home. We’d like to be advocates for filmmakers in Idaho.
Free movie at the Idaho Botanical Garden
The Boise Film Foundation is hosting a free screening of “The Wizard of Oz” in the Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 Old Penitentiary Road, on Friday, July 14. Gates open 8 p.m. The movie is set to start at dusk (about 9:15 p.m.). Vendors will be on site, but outside food and non-alcoholic beverages are welcome. Bring your own seating: low-back chairs and blankets. Dress for the costume contest, and be ready for other family fun activities.
Follow Boise Film Foundation on Facebook for more information about future events and screenings.
Learn more about the Boise Film Foundation