Hartman and Lahey think the idea has a real shot.

"Donald has structured this, and he's done his homework and...we have a governor who supports it. We have never had a governor who supported it," Lahey says. "I think what happened is we waited to get the ultimate deal. This is the best deal any state has ever had. It's the best deal for Colorado, the best deal for taxpayers, the best deal for the film industries and the best deal for a couple thousand young filmmakers who would like to be working in the state of Colorado."

Even Kenny the skeptic thinks this proposal is better than past ones. "This is an improvement over the 2011 attempt, which would have put fees on movie tickets, which is totally unrelated and would have hit consumers and small movie-theater chains," Kenny says. "I still think it is bad policy, but it's more transparent."

Proof that it's a bad idea, he adds, lies in studies conducted by states and think tanks that show that these type of incentives aren't boosting the economy as much as promised. In light of budget cuts, several states are considering eliminating or scaling back their programs; Michigan, once the most generous, recently put a $25 million cap on theirs. Other states, such as Arkansas, Idaho and Maine, appropriated no funds for their film incentives in 2011, according to the Tax Foundation, a public-policy think tank.

But that hasn't discouraged those backing Zuckerman's plan. On Wednesday, February 8, supporters of the increased incentives will rally at the State Capitol for the first-ever Cinema Day to talk to legislators about the importance of recapturing Colorado's film glory and putting its filmmakers back to work.

Zuckerman is expecting hordes of people, including those who work in the industry and a few hundred students from the Colorado Film School.

Lahey canceled all of his classes for the entire day. "I've never done that. I'd never considered doing it," he says. But this, he explains, is different. "I consider it to be absolutely important to the students' future."

As actor Jack Palance, playing Curly, explains to Billy Crystal in City Slickers: "Do you know what the secret of life is? One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that, and everything else don't mean shit."

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Michael Joseph Ferry
Michael Joseph Ferry

I'm troubled by the fact that scripts will be reviewed for their commercial value, and the amount of celebrity filmmakers are able to pack into their work.Despite his assertion that his proposal would allow small studios to grow, it would appear that he is looking to pander to the already well-funded, rather than local artists.


I'm kind of bummed that there was no mention of "3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain" when talking about movies filmed in Colorado. It features Hulk Hogan for crissake. And has scenes from the old Elitch's.


Increasing production of major films in Colorado might be an uphill battle. First of all, it does not appear that the Denver Post even had enough interest to cover this story. Worse yet, there is a backwards mentality of certain politicians with too much influence on public opinion. Just read an article which started on the front page of the Wall Street Journal Oct. 29, 2010. It included Denver cowboy City Councilman Charlie Brown's response to being asked about "sci-fi film directors flocking here, space-travel researchers, and engineers hoping to pry the secrets of intergalactic technology from space visitors." Charlie Brown was quoted as saying "That's not the kind of job we want to create".

Who put Brown in charge of deciding what jobs "we" want to create, especially when he makes such counterproductive comments like that to the world's leading business newspaper? The Wall Street Journal is read by a lot of the very people in charge of businesses that Colorado would love to attract.

The article was actually about the ballot initiative to create an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission. Sci-fi films and space travel research are both multinational multi-billion dollar industries. The lion's share of major films in 2011 had a science fiction theme with most involving extraterrestrial visitors. The only major "cowboy" film of 2011 was "Cowboys and Aliens"!

Brown's inability to think outside the barn is not unique among Denver's political officials. Fortunately, legislators and communities outside of Denver are likely to have more vision when it comes to innovative job-creation opportunities. Strategies to bring more of Hollywood to Colorado is a vision worth pursuing in any way that can succeed.


Stay away from gimmickry. Keep costs as low as possible for everyone. There is a reason we hate the U.S. Tax Code.

Hugh Akston
Hugh Akston

Why should movie production get special incentives? Make it cheaper for all businesses to operate in Colorado, and then watch the economy roar.