Fall 2005 Report 

Idaho Film Industry Task Force

According to the Department of Commerce and Labor, only $37 million in movie money has been spent in Idaho since 1987. Considering that making a big-budget film costs no less than $60 million just to start. And that probably doesn't include actors' salaries. The Idaho Film Industry Task Force is hoping to convince the Idaho Legislature that offering better incentives to filmmakers--tax cuts, easy access to labor, equipment and lodging--will bring them running to the Gem State. To do this, the Idaho Arts Commission in conjunction with the task force--which includes Academy Award-winning director, Ben Shedd, Rep. Jana Kemp (R-Boise/Garden City), Rep. Wendy Jaquet (D-Ketchum), Crisman Films' Chuck Webb, and actress Dawn Wells--will present a package to the Legislature in 2006 that will illuminate what they hope to accomplish.

In part, the task force sees education and information as one way to guarantee the success of Idaho's blossoming film industry. Another aspect that some decisionmakers find paramount is marketing Idaho to people looking for a place to make films without the hassles and costs they would experience in Hollywood. Even though Idaho is hardly considered a movie mecca (for most people, Idaho equals potatoes and cowboys), several festivals and films have been changing that perception. The most well-known right now, of course, is the 2004 sleeper hit Napoleon Dynamite. Other events happening that should shed some klieg light on Idaho is The Idaho International Film Festival, held September 29 through October 2 in Boise and last month's True West Cinema Festival (August 25 through 28, also held in Boise).

With aspiring artists coming to or from Idaho, the IAC and the task force will have a little more to back up their plan, but they still need help. Anyone who has an interest in seeing more film productions (and film money) come to Idaho is asked to go fill out the IAC's online survey at www.arts.idaho.gov. The task force meets again in late September, and will have the online survey results ready by then.

"Into the West" Features Idaho Talent

Steven Spielberg is known as a man who likes to portray everyday life in a bigger-than-life kind of way. No exception to that is his six-part miniseries, "Into the West" (airing this summer on TNT). What makes this particular endeavor a big deal is that in this production, a couple of Idahoans were involved.

Ramona Welema and son Charley Plentywounds, both of Fort Hall, had roles in the television miniseries. Plentywounds is an actor and Welema hosts a gospel radio show. Both found the experience gratifying and Plentywounds has more roles on the horizon.

The Pocatello Art Center Receives Cash Infusion

How do you get people excited about an art center? Offer them classes and workshops that may spark an unbeknownst interest and talent. That's just what the Pocatello Art Center decided to do. With a $3,000 grant from the Idaho Community Foundation, they put in new lighting in the gallery. With a Bistline grant of $1,000, a new cabinet was purchased for the center's important porcelain display.

Art Boot Camp in Blackfoot

Serious artists know that the craft of painting takes constant honing. Artist and art instructor Richard Bingham, of Blackfoot, has a honing workshop so intensive it's called Art Boot Camp. Held from October 21 to 24, Bingham's Art Boot Camp follows the intensive art model originated by Roberts Howard in Boston, Massachusetts. What makes this workshop unique is its principled approach to oil painting instruction. Rather than demonstrating painting a la Bob Ross with spontaneous commentary and idiosyncratic touches--leaving students to induce the principles involved--Bingham's Art Boot Camp takes an explicit, systematic approach, teaching attendees about the sorely neglected subjects of value-scale study, set palettes and painting materials, as well as color theory, warm-cool relationships in turning form, subject lighting, tools and techniques.

Richard Bingham is a self-employed artist-illustrator. He has exhibited in Idaho at Eagle Rock Art Museum, Idaho State University and the J. Crist Gallery, as well as outside Idaho in Savannah, Georgia, New York City and the Hague, Netherlands.

Tuition for the four-day workshop is $550 (with $75 lab fee) and the application deadline is September 25. For more information, contact Richard Bingham, Wood Farm Studio, 903 W. 200 S., Blackfoot, 208-785-1810, bingham1@cableone.net.

Tiptoe Through the Tulips With The Idaho Museum of Natural History

Grounds surrounding the Idaho Museum of Natural History in Pocatello are beginning to resemble a construction site. With large equipment clearly in view, the entrance to the museum could use a makeover. That's just what it's getting. The new landscaping will include flora native to the West--flowers, trees and grasses. According to the ISU Bengal (April 27, 2005), the project will include education and history, beautification and recreation, conservation and preservation and will have a definite focus on the wildlife that will be attracted to the new environment, providing for it as well. The education and history portion will include signage to help identify the plants. Beautification and recreation means including blossoming flowers and providing walking paths. Conservation and preservation will be a way for the museum to set an example in water conservation by using environmentally sound landscaping.

For more information, contact the Idaho Museum of Natural History at 208-282-3317.

Regional ICA GRants

The Idaho Commission on the Arts (ICA) made several grants statewide this year. In East Idaho, 17 organizations received a total of $63,000.

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