Melanie Asmar's article was a concise synopsis of the current proposal for a film incentive and a nice, short history of the movies made in the state, although the filmography is by no means complete. The film industry in Colorado has its roots in the nineteenth century. I have been a member of the Denver film community for thirty years, and an assistant director in the Directors Guild of America for 25 years. I've worked on many of the shows, particularly the Viacom productions, she mentioned.
After being involved in repeated attempts to have a meaningful incentive bill passed for over a decade, I must take issue with Harris Kenny's remarks. First of all, who is this guy? He certainly isn't an expert on the business of film. If he's a member of a think tank (?), it's time to think again. This nonsense about an incentive being a "Hollywood Handout" is the same tired old canard that gets trotted out every year. And it's just that: false, unfounded and deliberately misleading. If the proposed bill is a handout, so are the enterprise zones established in the state, the incentives that the City of Aurora is offering to lure Gaylord, and the tax breaks ladled on oil companies. It takes money to make money.
Colorado Film Industry
This bill is an economic engine. It's about economic development. There is a proven multiplier, which means there is a broad economic benefit beyond the individuals directly working on the production. There's air travel, car rentals, gas, equipment rentals, hotel rooms, restaurants, a wide variety of vendors that supply everything from office supplies to lumber, local merchants, etc. The business itself is green, and these shows can put people to work immediately. A movie will rent office space, scout locations and in three weeks go into production. There is no waiting for a building to be built or infrastructure to be put into place. We have the infrastructure.
Kenny points to Michigan as an example of incentives not delivering as promised. That state jumped in with both feet, offered too much and had to scale back. Iowa did essentially the same thing, only its program was rife with corruption. Those states both made huge mistakes that are object lessons of what not to do. We are not going to use those models. But that doesn't belie the fact that while those incentives were in place, film production flocked to those states.
Let's take a look at the states where production is thriving under incentives. We are being clobbered by New Mexico. Louisiana is probably the best example: There is so much production going on in New Orleans and Shreveport that they're developing Baton Rouge to take on the work. I worked on a movie there and saw this firsthand.
As a resident of Colorado, I want to see business thrive, people put to work and the state profit. We are all sick of having to travel out of state to find employment. All we want is to work, at home.
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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.