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    The P3 Update blog is where we will share interesting perspectives and ideas that are shaping the film and production industry. Please let us know what you'd like our staff and contributing bloggers to cover in future posts.

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    Snowy peaks, rushing creeks, pine-covered
    slopes—such imagery conjures up the rugged
    beauty of the Rocky Mountain states. But the
    region has more to offer than stunning scenery
    and world-class festivals, with a burgeoning production
    community that’s busy year-round on film,
    television, and commercial jobs.
    MONTANA
    Over the years rugged Montana has stood in
    for Switzerland, Oklahoma and Afghanistan. The
    state is known for its unspoiled, diverse landscapes
    of mountains, rivers, lakes, badlands, and
    prairies. Movies such as River Runs Through It, The
    Horse Whisperer, Northfork and Hidalgo showcased
    its scenic beauty. Montana maintains a large
    crew base of experienced film professionals, who
    work year-round on features and national television
    commercials. The crew base increases each
    year thanks to an excellent film and media arts
    program at Montana State University in Bozeman.
    The state’s new and improved tax incentives also
    give Hollywood a new reason to shoot here.
    Governor Brian Schweitzer signed a new Big
    Sky on the Big Screen Act into law this past May,
    with a 14 percent tax rebate on all Montana
    labor hired for film production, and a nine percent
    rebate on all production-related state
    expenditures including lodging, equipment rental,
    fuel, lumber and construction materials. Another
    incentive for filmmakers is that Montana has
    no sales tax. Since no paperwork or rebate is
    needed, this savings is immediate. “The new and
    improved Big Sky on the Big Screen Act has made
    Montana an even more desirable destination for
    filmmakers,” says Schweitzer. “Montana is like no
    other, she’s the epitome of the West. Whether or
    not her name is in the credits, Montana is always
    the biggest star.”
    “These new tax incentives are helping a lot
    and we’re already seeing a lot more production
    coming here,” says Sten Iversen of the Montana
    Film Office. “We’re doing scouts right now for
    three big feature films that are looking to shoot
    here this fall, and we’re generally seeing more
    activity than in years.”
    Will Brewster, a top Montana location scout/
    art director based in Bozeman, reports that pro-
    duction has picked up.“It’s 50 percent better than      
    2006.We just had a big hBo Film, Taking Chances      
    starring Kevin Bacon, shooting here. hBo told      
    us they’d considered Canada, but it’s now too      
    costly. We’ve also had a ton of car commercials      
    – Toyota, Lincoln Mercury, two for Suzuki.We also      
    did a Conocophillips commercial for Directors      
    production Company out of Dallas, which shot      
    here and in paradise Valley. Business has real-     
    ly improved. We lost a lot of crew base after      
    9/11 and our production really slowed down but      
    they’re coming back now.We’re also busy training      
    new crew, so the year ahead is looking good.”      
    coLoRaDo      
    according to Colorado Film Commissioner      
    Kevin Shand, feature film production in Colorado      
    is picking up. The creation of the Colorado Film      
    Incentive fund in 2006 is encouraging both local      
    and out-of-state filmmakers to look at Colorado      
    again. although the film incentive fund is relatively      
    small, the Colorado legislature recognized the      
    need to expand it this year and added another      
    20 percent to the available funds.      
    “We are seeing a nice increase in the number      
    of productions, production days and production      
    revenue in Colorado this year,” Shand states.“This      
    should be one of our biggest production years      
    in recent memory. The biggest feature film to      
    film in Colorado this year will be the paramount      
    pictures film NowhereLand starring eddie Murphy      
    and Thomas haden Church. The film is directed      
    by Karey Kirkpatrick (Over the Hedge) and will      
    be filming in Metro Denver the first two weeks      
    of october. We have been working with the      
    production company on this project for several      
    months and are happy that they have been able      
    to find every location there were looking for      
    locally.”      
    other features shooting in Colorado this year      
    include The Bucket List, directed by Rob Reiner      
    staring Jack nicholson, Morgan Freeman, and      
    Sean hayes; The Return directed by neil Burger      
    starring Tim Robbins, Rachel Mcadams, Michael      
    pena; and The Torturer directed by graham green      
    starring nichelle nichols and andrew Walker.      
    Several local filmmakers have also been active      
    this year filming independent films including      
    Marty Lindsey’s Suburban, The Five, directed by      
    Dave yasuda, and Ink directed by Jamin Winans.      
    another Colorado project set to begin filming is
    Handful of Beans. Says Shand, “We are already in
    discussion with several filmmakers about projects
    lining up for 2008 schedules and it looks like 2008
    could be even better than 2007.”
    Colorado is always an active location for
    commercials and this year is no exception.
    Commercials shot in Colorado range from spots
    for fast food chains such as Sonic (Daily Planet),
    McDonalds (Insight), Good Times (Bohome)
    to auto commercials for Jeep, Volvo and SAA B.
    Magical Elves Productions as a part of the Bravo
    Television show Top Chef chose Aspen as a location.
    Giada De Laurentiis’s show Giada’s Weekend
    Get Aways is being produced by Denver based
    CPG and Centennial. Colorado-based High Noon
    Enter tainment produces shows including: Food
    Network Challenge, Unwrapped, Carter Can, and
    What You Get for the Money locally.
    Echoing Shand’s upbeat repor t is Danny
    Dodge, owner of Loveland-based Roadrunner
    Productions whose clients include Sony
    Electronics, BBC America, SWAT, Hunting
    University, KIA and Borg-Warner Automotive.
    “Business is definitely up, and we’re seeing a lot
    more jobs coming here from L.A.,” he says. “We
    do a lot of big national commercials for companies
    like CZ-USA, and we’re also getting a lot of
    calls for TV shows and product marketing pieces.”
    Dodge has over 21 years of experience shooting
    catalogs and magazine covers, along with
    producing, directing and handling most production
    and post production requirements. “I handle
    every aspect of production, from concept to
    directing, camera, lighting, sound, animation, editing,
    color grading and in some cases even the voicing
    of projects,” he says. “We recently acquired a Red
    Rock Micro 35 mm lens adapter and a Panasonic
    HVX200 with which we are able to achieve film
    like results in high definition.”
    Dodge rattles of recent projects including a
    VNR (video news release) for Sony Electronics;
    production of national HD commercial for CZUSA
    from concept to delivery of final master ;
    location shoots in Colorado, Alaska and Canada
    for Hunting University; post production of a 30 minute hunting show for the Versus network;
    a Thunder Custom Cycles’ Mountain Custom
    Cycle marketing video; shooting and editing an
    HD marketing piece for A4S Securities, featuring
    a high speed video capture of a bus explosion at
    10,000 frames per second at a 15 millionths of a
    second shutter speed. That footage was shot just
    north of Fort Collins, Colo. Says Dodge, summing
    up, “It’s a wide variety of work—it seems that the
    ad budgets are opening up, and that’s good news
    for the whole state.”
    IDAHO
    When Clint Eastwood made films like Pale
    Rider and Bronco Billy he chose to shoot them
    in Idaho. And as Kathleen Haase, Film Industry
    Specialist, Depar tment of Commerce in Boise,
    points out: “Our landscapes are still as breath-taking,
    and our cowboys still as gruff. Only now their
    ranches run on GP S technology via Blackberry
    and our Indian citizens are millionaires.
    “Nonetheless, Idaho is a sweet little place folks
    like John McClane and Forrest Gump like to call
    home, she says. “It’s got something for everyone
    and the most diverse topography of all the 50
    states. You can cheat it in Idaho. Here at the Film
    Office, we’ll carry you up hill in snow if it’ll make
    your production a more pleasant one. And you’ll
    like our crews, too—they’re skilled professionals.”
    Recent projects include Out of the Blue: A Film
    About Life and Football, a documentary about the
    famous state football game made by Ironcircle
    Films and a recent edition of Extreme Makeover.
    Haase says that state residents have evolved into
    a sophisticated population of high-tech workers
    and world-class artists. “And last year Boise was
    listed as one of the “Best Places to Live” in the
    country according to Money Magazine and the
    “Number One Adventure City” according to
    National Geographic.”
    While at present the state does not offer
    any tax breaks, Idaho intends to become more
    competitive with its neighbors. There is pending
    legislation next year with a variety of proposals,
    including a 20 percent cash rebate on state
    expenditures if you hire 20 percent of your crew
    in Idaho, with a $500,000 cap per picture and a
    50 percent wage reimbursement for advancing
    Idaho crews. Currently, the state offers some
    breaks, such as a sales tax rebate on tangible
    goods, a lodging tax waiver for over 30 days,
    vendor deals, federal tax incentive (Jobs Creation
    Act), and a pro-active Film Office.
    UTAH
    The state of Utah has a long film history and
    offers a wide spectrum of landscapes ranging
    from the Bonneville Salt Flats to the southern red
    rocks, to an array of architectural styles. It’s only a
    90-minute flight from L. A., and has an extensive
    production center and experienced crew base.
    Since the early 1920s over 800 films and several
    television shows have been made in Utah. The
    Moab and Monument Valley area was popularized
    by the legendary director John Ford and actor
    John Wayne, creating the signature backdrop
    for their Westerns. Beginning with Stagecoach
    (1939), Ford used locations that simply could
    not be duplicated in the studio while setting the
    standard for an entire genre of films. The John
    Ford/John Wayne relationship spanned over 50
    years, resulting in nine great classics shot in Utah.
    Industry veterans now affectionately refer to the
    area as “John Ford Country.”
    Today, Utah continues to offer great resources
    to filmmakers. “In addition to our tax rebate
    program, we also have several major talent agencies, office space, studio space and full-service
    rental houses,” says director of the Utah Film
    Commission Marshall Moore.
    According to the film commission, Utah now
    offers an incentive package with a 15 percent
    post-performance rebate for every dollar spent
    in the state, a sales and use tax exemption on
    equipment for film and television, as well as a
    transient room sale tax exemption for productions
    staying longer than 30 consecutive days in a
    hotel room or similar lodging.
    “High School Musical 2 wrapped production
    last spring, shooting entirely in Salt Lake City and
    St. George, Utah. Other feature films that have
    completed production over the past few months
    in the state are Animals, White on Rice, Adventures
    of Food Boy, The Second Singles Ward, Dragonhunter,
    Lifeless, Darkroom Dadnapped, and Minutemen.
    The producers of High School Musical will start
    production on The American Mall early next year,”
    adds Moore.
    Owner of the Salt Lake City-based Vineyard
    Productions, Jeff T. Miller, says the state is on an
    upswing. “While production nationwide may
    have slowed, business in the Rockies, and Utah
    in par ticular, has been very brisk.” Miller was
    line producer on two recent big projects: Dark
    Matter, starring Meryl Streep and Bonneville, starring
    Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange. “Now I’m
    starting The Assignment, which I’m producing in
    Salt Lake City.”
    Utah is also home to the well-known Sundance
    Film Festival. “The Sundance Film Festival is a
    great event for Utah, bringing thousands to our
    state, which gives the Utah Film Commission the
    opportunity to meet with filmmakers from across
    the globe,” says Moore. According to the film
    commission, Sundance and other in-state festivals
    have created an economic impact of 108 million
    dollars.
    Utah has maintained its busy production
    schedule, shooting over 900 production days in
    the past year for 23 feature films, nine parts of TV
    series, and hundreds of commercials, documentaries,
    and industrials.
    NEVADA
    The glossy Oceans 11 franchise springs to
    mind when you think of Las Vegas, Nevada. But
    the state is more than just neon in the deser
    t. Nevada offers myriad landscapes—from
    Midwestern farmlands to sci-fi planets and moonscapes.
    Dry lake beds and sand dunes can double
    for a Middle East background. Hoover Dam can’t
    be duplicated, and has appeared in blockbusters
    such as Transformers. Valley of Fire continues to
    be popular for music videos, feature films and
    commercials that require striking red rocks. Sean
    Penn has taken advantage of the region’s wilderness
    for Into the Wild and The Pledge. Reno, the
    “Biggest Little City in the World,” was the setting
    for the bowling film Kingpin, and more recently
    Thunder Over Reno, a feature on the city’s Air
    Races. And Sin City continues to be a draw: The
    Twentieth-Century Fox film What Happens in
    Vegas starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher
    is set to start production this fall in Las Vegas.
    While Nevada does not offer tax incentives,
    many types of fees and taxes have never existed
    in the state. And productions here get their money’s
    worth. Nevada continues to be ranked one
    of the top production states in the country. This is
    attributed to diverse locations, free and accessible
    permitting and a strong local crew base. “We
    have... very little red tape,” says Charlie Geocaris,
    director of the Nevada Film Office. “Filmmakers
    find our state extremely accommodating, from
    the crew, to the locations, to the weather. We
    are a very film-friendly state, and that brings a lot
    people back here each year.”
    The Nevada Film Office (NFO) is responsible
    for production related revenue generated
    in the state, which has surpassed over $100 million
    seven years in a row. Annually, the NFO
    serves hundreds of productions ranging from
    feature films to television series to music videos,
    documentaries and commercials. The NFO staff
    promptly delivers key information through its
    complimentary services, including script breakdowns
    and location scouting. And being a multijurisdictional
    liaison, NFO provides assistance with
    the statewide production community, by customizing
    location photo packages and publishing the
    Nevada Production Directory.
    The Nevada Production Directory is a comprehensive
    publication of available crew, vendors,
    equipment, production and post-production support
    services and notable locations throughout
    the state. It is the key tool for all production and
    filming in Nevada. It is available online at nevadafilm.
    com and is distributed throughout the world.     
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