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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Colorado’s film promotion program gets a new lease on life

After years behind surrounding states when it comes to providing film promotions, Colorado is back in the race to compete for film, television and video game projects.

Before the pandemic, the legislature was giving grants as low as $750,000 a year to the state’s film promotion fund, forcing the Colorado Office of Economic Development to transfer money from other programs to avoid the fund collapsing completely. and the production staff was laid off due to shortages. Work.

Earlier this year, the Colorado legislature granted an unprecedented $6 million grant to replenish the film promotion fund and the phone at the state film office started ringing a lot, state deputy film commissioner Kelly Bag said on Thursday. told the Colorado Economic Development Commission. ,

Although $6 million is a record amount for Colorado, the state still lags behind most of its neighbors. Regional film leader New Mexico provides $130 million in incentives, Oklahoma $30 million, Utah $9.9 million and Wyoming $3 million. Some states offer a 30% discount on qualified spending, while Colorado offers a 20% discount.

A major argument against providing more film incentives in the past is that the state has more pressing budget priorities and faces tighter fiscal limits. Other critics see film incentives as an ever-increasing corporate subsidy that pits states against each other, while some conservatives disagree with content that is produced with the help of taxpayers.

But proponents argue that the stimulus fund provides a 31-to-1 return on investment and brings much-needed spending to rural areas, which is further boosted by featured public displays. Providing a steady stream of incentives allows the state to locate production talent, something Colorado has struggled with.

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The state’s film commission, Donald Zuckerman, said, “A lot of money is spent in rural areas, but most of the crew comes from the front range.” “The salaries are all spent here at the front range, while the money for filming goes to the rural areas.”

Orchard said Colorado saw a steady stream of movies and television shows in the state, hundreds of them, until the stimulus became a significant source of funding. Between 2007 and 2012, when the state started its fund, there were no major film projects in Colorado. Big features returned, including “The Hateful 8,” “Furious 7,” “Our Souls At Night,” “Cop Car” and “Amateur” after the state launched its own film promotion fund.

To receive the exemption, Colorado-based projects need to spend at least $100,000, while out-of-state projects need to spend $1 million or more. Projects must employ the majority of Colorado residents in their crews and have expense accounting.

On Thursday, the commission approved a spending waiver for next month’s live stream of the Ouray Ice Climbing competition, which will also be made into a documentary and for the Boulder video game maker. Since $6 million went into the fund at the beginning of the fiscal year, the commission has approved a dozen projects. Bagh said that several more requests are in the works.

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