It's looking very likely that Quentin Tarantino will start filming his next movie, a Western called The Hateful Eight, in Colorado later this year.
Today, the San Miguel County Commissioners voted to approve a special use permit for Tarantino to film on the picturesque Schmid Ranch outside Telluride, says Karen Henderson, associate planner for the county. The permit is necessary because there's a conservation easement on the ranch. Tarantino did not attend the vote in person.
The film crew could start constructing the set for the movie as early as tomorrow, Henderson says. The permit allows them to use the land through March, weather permitting, she says. It also comes with several requirements, including that the film folks pay to repair any county roads that are damaged as a result of increased use and that they pay to reclaim and revegetate the land that they use (which would only be a small portion of the expansive ranch) to its current condition or better. That process will be overseen by Marvin Schmid, the owner of the ranch, she says.
Last month, the Colorado Economic Development Commission approved $5 million in film incentives for The Hateful Eight. The film's budget is $44 million, with an estimated $25 million of that to be spent in Colorado. The moviemakers would likely hire 168 crew members in Colorado, with an estimated payroll of $15.6 million. Filming would begin in December and is expected to take a total of 49 days, with a break for the holidays.
The plot of The Hateful Eight is described on imdb.com like this: "In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception." It will be the biggest movie to film in Colorado since Donald Zuckerman came on board as film commissioner in 2011. The following year, in 2012, state legislators approved a plan to attract more movie projects to the state by increasing the cash rebate offered to filmmakers from 10 percent to 20 percent.
This year's film incentives budget started at $5 million, though there was only $3.3 million left at the time that the incentives for The Hateful Eight were approved by the EDC. The rest of the rebate is slated to come out of next year's incentives budget.
Below, watch a video about the history of the Schmid Ranch and the family that has called it home for several generations. A prelude to the video features a member of the San Miguel County Open Space Commission explaining why a conservation easement is necessary to preserve the ranch: "Loss of ranch lands is a serious problem for all of us," he says. "It affects the cost and quality of our food, economic stability, natural habitats and Colorado's Western heritage.... The Open Space Commission and the San Miguel Conservation Foundation, together with the Nature Conservancy, have formed a partnership to help save the Schmid Ranch.... It is only through these types of partnerships that we will be able to preserve and protect the meadows and forests of high mesa ranches from being divided by roads, driveways and trophy homes."
A blog post from the organization Great Outdoors Colorado, written after it was announced that Tarantino wanted to film at the ranch, explains more. Here's an excerpt:
Schmid Ranch, a Colorado Centennial Ranch, is much more than just the ideal movie set for Tarantino. With over 130 years of Colorado heritage embedded in its history, the ranch is a stronghold of Western tradition. Today, the ranch remains a true working ranch, producing hay, organic beef, and goat products, while its more touristy offerings serve as a means to sustain the agricultural side of the ranch.
The ranch was homesteaded in 1882 by the family, when the West was still being won. Matriarch Clarice Schmid once described mountain ranchers as "rich in land, family, and memories," a sentiment that still holds true as the fifth generation of Schmids diligently works to preserve their now 900 acre property.
Not only does the ranch hold agricultural value, but it is also a major wildlife corridor for elk and mule deer. The ranch's 900 acres also help preserve the delicate Rocky Mountain alpine ecosystem, which without dedicated efforts to protect open space, would be disappearing just as rapidly as modern day ranchers.
When Orville Schmid, who had owned and managed the ranch, passed away in 1994, the family became resourceful to keep the ranch in operation. A conservation easement would help Orville's heirs to absorb the estate tax burden they inherited with the ranch, but more importantly it would allow them to continue to protect and honor the land they had called home for so many years.