Welcome to Colorado, Hollywood! The word from the Senate Majority Office is that House Bill 1286 -- better known as the film incentives bill -- has passed the Senate, its last hurdle before reaching the governor's desk. The bill increases the cash rebate offered to filmmakers from 10 percent to 20 percent and creates a program that could back up to 20 percent of a producer's bank loan.
Film incentives have been a long time coming, as explained in our cover story, "The Reel West." Prior efforts have failed. At a rally on the Capitol steps in February, film champion Representative Tom Massey joked, "Eighth time's a charm!"
The bill comes with $3 million to fund the increased incentives. There are conditions, however. For instance, an in-state production company must spend at least $100,000 and an out-of-state company must spend at least $1 million to qualify. In addition, 50 percent of the jobs must be filled by Colorado residents. Oh, and the film can't be "obscene." Supporters say the measure will create local jobs in the creative arts for everyone from makeup artists to set designers, as well as put Colorado in the spotlight once again.
Nearly 400 movies have been shot in the Centennial State, but filmmakers have now largely abandoned Colorado for sweeter incentive deals in other states. One example: The 2010 Coen Brothers remake of True Grit was filmed in Texas, even though the original was shot here. And the Coen Brothers aren't the only moviemakers to shun Colorado; check out our list of movies and TV shows set in Colorado but filmed elsewhere.
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We're still waiting to hear whether lawmakers made any last-minute changes to the bill (it's been a crazy last day at the Capitol), and we'll update this post with any news.
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