Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Free Market Thrives in the Most Unlikely Place…The Liberal Film Industry

by Steve Lonegan

Kenneth Del Vecchio is an unapologetic, and unabashed, conservative. He has also taken the lead in advancing the most liberal of all business sectors in the country, the film industry, right here in New Jersey. DelVecchio has conceived, produced and delivered the state’s most successful film festival in the most anti-business state in the union, the Hoboken International Film Festival. Without a single government subsidy, tax rebate, or a governor acting as “Chief marketer and economic planner,” he has managed to gather the forces of many of the country’s best filmmakers to produce the Hoboken Film Festival.

Ironically, while the Trenton planners ponder a proposal to provide $30 million in subsidies to attract film makers into our state through another taxpayer funded corporate welfare program, DelVecchio has managed to achieve just that, at no cost to taxpayers. Trenton’s Central Planners should take a lesson from this terrific little success, but they won’t.

You see, these types of successes are alien to the planners. They are often confused when an individual with nothing more than an idea, guts, and the drive to push such a dynamic project over the finish line. How could he possibly do this without the government’s help? What, no eminent domain abuse? No “tax credits?” Egads! If this keeps happening, people might just remember we don’t need the planners to produce and prosper.

Besides, Kenneth Del Vecchio was my Finance Chairman in my primary race for governor (this is the point in the story where “moderate “Republicans cringe and liberals, well, cringe, too.). So, as I gloat over the success of my guy, Ken DelVecchio, please recognize the consistency. The state government is not the answer to our problems, it is the problem. Get off our backs and there is no limit to what we, the people, can accomplish.

Opening night at Baccia Hall at Steven’s Institute was a true testimony to the strength of free-market forces and initiative in bringing people together. Hundreds came from all over the country to meet the producers, stars, and watch their films. Howard Stern’s side kick, Artie Lang, chatted with admirers and “Rescue Me” dad Charles Derney hung out in front with the smokers (politically incorrect, sorry). Just the beginning, Artie Lang’s film “Beer League sold out months ago, as did Danny Aiello’s “Twenty Ninth Street.” At the screening of “Beer League,” moviegoers got all the Stella Artois beer they could drink.

Fortunately, those not in attendance included stars of the Department of Environmental Protection, OSHA, and other government regulators. Just a bunch of filmmakers who had taken the risk of producing movies that may or may not succeed, festival producer Ken Del Vecchio, who risked a lot of money and effort on the hunch he would make a profit, and those who came to enjoy the experience.

Boy, are the Trenton Planners confused. How could this happen? None of these organizers or producers is in the state pension system or receiving taxpayer funded medical benefits. Certainly, there has got to be a way they can mess this up. Let’s wait for the taxpayer funded sequel. Coming next Week.

Anyone looking to have a good time and join a winning team should attend the festival the rest of this week, and especially the closing night awards. Yes, the best films will be rewarded and the worst will fail. Hey, maybe the state planners can supply psychological counseling for those losers whose self esteem is destroyed. Gee, I knew there was an angle.

Check out the Hoboken International Film Festival.

Steve Lonegan is the Mayor of Bogota, NJ, and Executive Director of Americans for Prosperity - New Jersey. Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP Foundation) are committed to educating citizens about economic policy and mobilizing those citizens as advocates in the public policy process. He is a prolific writer, having been published in newspapers and blogs. He currently has a book in pre-publication on the impact of New Jersey state government on the well being of the taxpayers of the state, where he offers solid and workable solutions.