Mass. Isn't Historic Enough, at Least for Movies

The Battle of Lexington and Concord

The Battle of Lexington and Concord

What a fun story. A new 10-minute film about the Battle of Lexington and Concord won’t be shot here, even though the film’s purpose is to promote the new Boston Tea Party Museum. The movie will instead be filmed in Richmond, Virginia, in large part because Boston isn’t Boston-y enough, or at least so says the film’s director, Kevin Hershberger.

[F]ilmmaker Kevin Hershberger defended the decision, noting both Lexington and Boston have strayed from their revolutionary roots.

“Where this occurred doesn’t resemble the Lexington of 1775,” Hershberger said. “There’s a Bertucci’s Brick Oven Pizzeria down the road. It’s more modernized.”

Ouch. Hershberger again.

Downtown Lexington contains monuments and statues, not to mention car and airplane noise, he said. Meanwhile, the Virginia set, he argued, is the same place HBO filmed its “John Adams” miniseries a few years ago and offers a pristine site with authentic period buildings.

Hershberger studied at the Virginia Military Institute, which may have influenced his decision to base it there. Hub officials, like John Dukakis of the Massachusetts Film Office, don’t like the move to decision at all. But I don’t think this is a fight worth waging, historical accuracy be damned. Last time I checked, trying to lure any filmmaker, even filmmakers making films about Massachusetts, was an incredibly stupid idea.

The Commonwealth’s expenses can only be justified if they are creating long-term employment here in Massachusetts. But these jobs are predominantly transient. The contract workers that fill the new jobs work on a project-by-project basis and typically move on when the film is done shooting. More than 40 percent of the wages that are subsidized through the credit are paid to people who both live outside of Massachusetts and were paid more than $1 million on the project. These are not expenses that will be recycled in the local economy.

Go ahead. Fight the battles in Virginia. We make out in the end.