Thursday, January 31, 2008

$10M Bill to Encourage Colorado Filmmaking

From the Rocky Mountain News:

$10 million bill aims to lure Hollywood to Colorado

Colorado's movie scene could see more action if a group of lawmakers can push through a new $10 million cash rebate program proposed Tuesday.

The bill would boost the fledgling incentive budget from its current $600,000 a year in an attempt to help the state compete with others that have attracted far more Hollywood film productions after spending heavily on enticements.

"We have to pay to play if we want to be in the game," said Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, one of the bill's sponsors.

Producers with motion picture budgets of at least $250,000 would be able to collect a cash rebate of up to 15 percent of the money they spend while shooting a movie in Colorado. Currently, rebates of up to 10 percent are available, but the much smaller pot of money gets used up quickly.

Proponents of boosting the rebate fund to $10 million point to the recent 12-day shoot of the Paramount Pictures film NowhereLand, starring Eddie Murphy. In that short time, the production spent $3.25 million here, booking rooms at the Brown Palace and hiring 12,000 extras and 65 crew members.

"If we had better incentives, they probably would have shot more of the movie here," said Rep. Cheri Jahn, D- Wheat Ridge, a co-sponsor of the legislation.

Since New Mexico began offering big tax rebates and loans to filmmakers in 2002, the neighboring state has lured at least $1.4 billion of spending.

More and more, movies that appear to be set in Colorado actually have been shot elsewhere. More funds for rebates could help reverse that trend, said Kevin Shand, executive director of the Colorado Film Commission. The proposal calls for re-

establishing the nonprofit Colorado Film Commission as a state office with an annual operating budget of $750,000.

The legislation's Senate sponsors include Silverthorne Democrat Dan Gibbs and Centennial Republican Nancy Spence.

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