Hollywood took its show to Washington this week.
Actor RJ Mitte of AMC’s hit series “Breaking Bad” joined various other actors, makeup artists, costume designers and story board artists to give lawmakers a behind-the-scenes look at the “creativity, talent and innovation that drive the American film and television industry.”
Titled “Beyond the Red Carpet: Movie and TV Magic Day,” the Wednesday night event was billed as an industry showcase that featured various booths and exhibits at the Cannon House Office in the nation’s capitol.
Participants included a costume designer from AMC’s series “Turn,” a makeup artist from the Syfy series “Face Off,” and supervising animators for the Elsa and Anna characters from Disney’s hit movie “Frozen.”
“The extraordinary range of skills and talents showcased today offers a glimpse of what the creative community does every day to bring great stories to audiences around the world,” said Ruth Vitale, executive director of CreativeFuture, which advocates on behalf of the creative community. “It is equally important that we tell our own story.”
The three-hour event was organized by various entertainment industry groups, including the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the Independent Film & Television Alliance, SAG-AFTRA, the Directors Guild of America, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and the Creative Rights Caucus, a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders dedicated to protecting the rights of content owners.
The purpose, organizers said, was to remind members of Congress about the economic value of U.S. entertainment industry workers at a time when lawmakers are reviewing ways to strengthen copyright protections for content owners. The motion picture and television industry supports nearly 2 million workers and annually contributes $41 billion to over 300,000 businesses, according to the MPAA.
“We wanted to be able to highlight the number of jobs the entertainment industry supports,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park), co-chair of the Creative Rights Caucus with Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.). The group helped organize Wednesday’s event.
“It’s important to have a caucus like this so you can have a group of Congress members who understand the issues that are involved with the music and film industries and the importance of copyrights,” Chu said in an interview.
Chu is a member of a House Judiciary subcommittee that is reviewing ways to strengthen enforcement of federal copyright law, including the current system of sending out so-called takedown notices to websites offering pirated movies, TV shows and music.
Chu also has co-sponsored a bill that would restore a federal tax credit that expired last year for productions that film in the United States.
“We have too many films that are going out of the U.S. to other countries,” Chu said, noting the surge in movies filming in Britain. “That’s not right. It would help to give some kind of incentive for films to stay here.”