Thursday, July 28, 2011

Save the FITP

Connecticut's Film Industry Training Program (FITP) is currently being threatened by budget cuts. This program is essential to creating a workforce for the many feature films that are being produced here in Connecticut.

Right now there are quite a few major features scheduled here during the next several months, with high profile stars such as Robert De Niro (above), Meryl Streep, Robin Williams, Keir Dullea and many others. These films require a crew of up to 100 workers or more, and by providing a well-trained workforce of state residents, they won't be forced to bring in workers from out-of-state.

These jobs help remove people from the unemployment roles. It's much better to employ residents than to simply give them benefits. And by creating and maintaining a viable film workforce here in Connecticut, I hope we'll see more studios take up residence here and provide permanent jobs.

The FITP's budget is miniscule compared to the return. State residents who receive this training will be employable for life in the film industry, and that translates to tax revenues and less entitlement expenses.

You can help. There is a legislative sub-committee meeting to work on the budget. We have until Tuesday, August 2nd (that's next week!) to contact the members and ask them to continue funding this extremely low-cost program and keep it alive. The committee has to come up with a trade-off cut for anything they save. With respect to FITP, equivalent funding could be taken from the "CETC Account" at the Dept. of Labor as a trade off for saving the program.

Anyone who lives in areas represented by these legislators or knows them personally can be very effective by letting their feelings known ASAP. The co-chairs are particularly important, Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Bob Duff (D-S25) (860) 240-0414, and Rep. Bryan Hurlburt (D-53) (860) 240-8585. Deputy Majority Leader Sen. Andrew Maynard (D-S18) (860) 240-0591 and Deputy Minority Leader Themis Klarides (R-114) (860) 240-8700 also sit on this committee. If we can rally legislative support, there is a chance that we can save the program for at least another year. PLEASE CALL ASAP, THERE ARE ONLY A FEW DAYS LEFT!

Now that the state unions are almost definitely going to vote to approve the concession package, many of the budget cuts that were proposed weeks ago will be revisited. This is our chance to restore funding to this program.

In these tough economic times, it is important to remember what has been accomplished by the FITP. The program now has 421 graduate trainees and over 7,500 days of work, paid and unpaid, internships, and deferrals. There are currently MANY graduate trainees and over 20 interns working on the seven features of various sizes now in pre-production or shooting in Connecticut. This will likely bring the total FITP graduate trainee days worked to near 9,000!

If you want more info, please contact

No comments: