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Film nets $6.3 million subsidy; pays $1.3 million to Alaskans

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Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:04 am | Updated: 10:35 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — The state subsidy for the upcoming movie “The Frozen Ground” will be $6.3 million, which is about $5 million more than the film company paid in wages and salaries to Alaska residents.

From the limited information released by the state, it’s impossible to give a breakdown on how much was really spent in Alaska.

I’ve written about this problem before. While it’s encouraging to see some improvement in the amount of information provided by the state — compared to previous productions — the background on the salable tax credit does not reveal what the state is getting for its millions.

The movie, filmed last year in Anchorage, stars Nicholas Cage and John Cusack. It is about Alaska mass murderer Robert Hansen and how he was brought to justice. It is expected to be released later this year.

The state paperwork lists $19.2 million as “total Alaska production expenses” for the movie, but that includes at least $10.7 million in wages and salaries to people from Outside.

Subtract the Outside payments from the total and the “Alaska production expenses” for Georgia Film Fund Five LLC are cut to about $8.5 million.

It’s also not clear how much of that $8.5 million was spent in Alaska.

The filmmakers said they spent $5 million on “services,” the details of which were not made public, $446,000 on food and lodging, $790,000 on location fees and facilities and equipment rentals and purchases, $153,000 on instate transportation, $216,000 on interstate transportation and $223,000 on other expenses.

In the personnel breakdown, the company said it had 29 people as “Alaska talent,” along with an Alaska crew of 108 and 558 extras. It said it hired 256 Alaska contractors.

Wages and salaries for the 700 Alaskans totaled $1.3 million.

Wages and salaries for the 110 actors and crew from Outside totaled $10.7 million.

•••

LONG JOURNEY: Australian John Cantor completed his Brooks Range traverse of more than 1,000 miles from the Canada border to the coast and flew back to Fairbanks last week.

Cantor, who turned 27 on the trip, hiked from the Canada border to the Noatak River, starting in mid-June, and paddled to the Northwest coast near Kotzebue, battling headwinds.

“If I stopped paddling I would go backwards,” he said last week after reaching Fairbanks.

He hiked about 600 miles, averaging 33 miles per day and going for 12 hours per day, mostly along the Continental Divide. The kayak trip of 400 miles took seven days and he spent about 18 to 19-hours per day on the water.

He said he was humbled by the experience and while he is proud of what he did, he knows it could have ended otherwise, given the reality of the Brooks Range.

“It’s a very different sensation from what I expected,” he said in a phone interview from the Ah, Rose Marie Bed and Breakfast in Fairbanks, before leaving town. He plans a documentary on the trip.

•••

FUNDRAISER: Marna Kranenburg and other friends are planning a fundraiser to help with medical expenses for Carl Demit Jr. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at Miguel’s Restaurant in the Shoppers Forum The cost is $10 per plate.

Demit, a member of the Carpenters’ Union, is an avid softball player and is originally from Northway.

•••

MICHELLE ROBERTS: The celebration of life for the late Michelle Roberts will take place Wednesday evening at a spot that meant much to her over the years — Golden Heart Plaza on the Chena River downtown.

The gathering will start at 5:30 p.m., followed by a program at 6 and music by the Fairbanks Community Band at 7 and the Sourdough Biscuits Band at 8. There will be free ice cream.

•••

LOST: A lime green Croc purse went missing at the end of the KUAC Red Green Regatta Sunday at Pioneer Park.

The floating purse entered the waters of the Chena when Kevin Walker got out of the boat he traveled in with wife Jori and children Kayden, 7, and Maccoy, 13, and the boat turned upside down.

Jori said the purse contained bug dope and markers. She’d love to get it back. Call her at 490-6990. I didn’t talk to Kevin, but Jori said her husband takes full responsibility for upending the boat.

•••

FULL STRIDE: One of the most impressive entries was that of Don Ross, who doing his best cross-country ski technique on the water. The vessel was named “Stryder” and it consisted of Ross moving his arms as he held pole-like contraptions with flotation at the bottom. Otherwise his body was almost still.

Beneath him were two 10-foot pieces of 1.5-inch tubing, a couple layers of foam and a two-by-six. Ross, 69, keeps in shape by running and biking.

•••

SMOKEFREE BINGO: The Fairbanks Host Lions say the biggest day they had in decades at the Tanana Valley State Fair was a smoke-free day last year.

This year every day will be a smoke-free day at the Fairbanks Host Lions bingo hall, which is open daily from noon to closing.

On a good day, the Lions have 800 to 1,000 people playing bingo at the fair, said John “Benny” Benevento, a member of the Lions for seven years.

There will be a smoking area near the hall for those who want to take a break from bingo.

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