Blog: Scott Paul Dunham

Creative class charter member Scott Paul Dunham has brought a whole palette of arts programs to fruition, and he knows how to throw a good party. As the founding partner of The Creative Energy Alliance, Scott will be giving us the dish on next week's Detroit Windsor International Film Festival.

Scott Paul Dunham - Post 2: Minting Motion Pictures

When the Detroit Windsor International Film Festival was envisioned, it was long before the Michigan film tax incentives were making an impact on our community.  We knew we had enough raw material and a strong creative legacy to build a world class event. However, there's no doubt that the attention the film incentives have generated has helped to expose the DWIFF and our entire creative community to a larger audience.

At this time in our history, we could use some good news.  The films coming into Michigan are a positive thing.  Crewmembers are getting work.  Actors are acting.  Studios are in development.  In light of our industrial and financial woes, this is encouraging.  Many of us are hopeful that this flurry of activity will inspire new opportunities for jobs and growth.

Now, I'll be frank.  I'm not a business or financial wizard.  I'll leave that to smarter people – or at least those who like that sort of thing!  I'm an artist.  I measure measurables that those wizards either don't see or ignore.   Instead of ROIs and bottom lines, I tend to focus on the smiles on people's faces when they talk about the movie they worked on – or the excitement in their voices when describing being hired as an extra and getting to "hang out" with George Clooney or Hilary Swank.

Now, can these emotional successes be equated to a dollar value?  Probably not in a direct way. But they are indicators.  They are inspiring. Maybe that extra is an entrepreneur who will open a successful store that services the film community.  When you're that person, your measurable may be as simple as being able to feed your family.  Or to work in a job that you truly love.  

The DWIFF isn't trying to fix our economy.  But we are adding our encouragement.  By providing an opportunity for people to get together, share and network, we support an arts and film culture – and by extension, our creative economy.  

This year, the tax incentives and the attention they've brought to Michigan raise the stakes a bit.  While we have their attention, the DWIFF is doing whatever it can to ensure our event and our community make a good impression.  

When we came up with the idea to put the DWIFF on, we always intended it to grow, until it will one day rival the pantheon of festivals around the county – LA, Sundance, Telluride and Tribeca, to name a few.  Detroit isn't a pretender to the throne. We have a proven history as a mover and shaker in the creative fields.  Music, film, design, architecture, fashion and more – we've shown the world we've got it.  And by continuing to encourage our creative community and taking advantage of the increased awareness  and interest in our creative capabilities, the world will realize it once more.