Movies in Colorado: Industry, politicians rally for bill to increase filmmaker incentives
On a small stage on the steps of the Capitol this morning, surrounded by more than a hundred local film industry folks, House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino ticked off movies made in Colorado: City Slickers, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and one he called "the seminal piece of film work that really talked about the legislature -- Dumb and Dumber." That drew a laugh from the crowd, there to support a bill to increase Colorado's incentives for filmmakers.
The effort is the subject of this week's cover story, "The Reel West." Developed by the new director of the state Office of Film, Television and Media, producer Donald Zuckerman, it calls for doubling Colorado's 10 percent cash rebate on money spent making movies, TV shows and commercials here, and includes a guarantee that the state will back up to 20 percent of a producer's bank loan -- for a fee.
Zuckerman's plan has been turned into a bill, House Bill 12-1286, introduced yesterday by Representative Tom Massey, a Poncha Springs Republican who has sponsored similar bills in the past to no avail. At this morning's rally, the first words out of Massey's mouth were, "Eighth time's a charm!" He continued, "We're going to get this passed this year!"
Chris Ward is a freelance videographer and editor who says "it's tough" to get work in Colorado. His sign depicts a logo worn on stickers by most of the rally-ers: the Colorado flag with the blades that operate the iris of a camera inside the C.
Senator Linda Newell, who will sponsor the bill in the Senate, told the crowd it would be up to them to lobby lawmakers and ask their own senators and representatives to support the measure. "In the words of the famous Jerry Maguire, 'Help us help you!"" she said.
Representative Nancy Todd, another supporter of the bill, spoke to the fact that Colorado film students often have a tough time finding work here once they graduate -- something the bill seeks to change. "We're giving all of our good workforce away," she said, calling the creative industries "one of the greatest and most fun economic drivers for our state."
"Let's get the cameras rolling and let's get the economy picked back up!" Todd proclaimed.
Pam Grier, East High School grad and ass-kicker extraordinaire (see: Foxy Brown, Jackie Brown and The L Word), did not show up to the rally, despite being on the program. Zuckerman says Grier called last night to say she couldn't make it.
Midian Crosby is a makeup and special effects artist. A Colorado native, she moved back to the state from Pittsburgh several years ago. "Almost every day I think about going back to Pittsburgh, where they make a lot more films," she said. "But I love it here in Colorado."
Representative Todd addresses the crowd. Behind her, from left, are Donald Zuckerman, Senator Newell, Representative Ferrandino and Representative Massey.
More from our Television & Film archive: "The Invisible War: Amy Herdy on Sundance bow of film about sex assaults in military."