Colorado film commission to be a state agency again |

Colorado film commission to be a state agency again

Catherine Tsai
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER – The nonprofit commission that works to bring film productions to Colorado is moving back under the state umbrella.

Gov. Bill Ritter signed legislation Thursday that converts the three-employee Colorado Film Commission into the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media within the state Office of Economic Development as of July 1.

The Legislature created the commission in 1969. State budget woes eliminated its funding in 2003, but it relaunched as a nonprofit group in 2005. It has operated as a public-private partnership, but becoming a state agency brings it more stability.

“We can start looking long-term as opposed to being in survival mode,” said film commissioner Kevin Shand.

Next up: Trying to boost state incentives for film productions. A proposal to set aside $10 million for incentives died this year as legislators struggled with a budget shortfall.

The University of Colorado Leeds School of Business said in a study this year that Colorado’s film industry accounted for less than 1 percent of state gross domestic product, or roughly $145 million, in 2008. The study estimated that $10 million in incentives would have increased film activity in Colorado by $100 million in 2009.

An Associated Press survey published this week found that states competing for film projects handed out $1.8 billion in tax breaks and other advantages to the entertainment industry from 2006 through 2008.

Michigan offers tax credits equal to 42 percent of production costs, but critics question whether it generates more revenue than it gives away. Colorado’s incentives have required productions to show a set percentage of expenses and payroll are spent in the state.

Productions can spend thousands of dollars a day on hotels, car rentals, catering, crews and actors. “Imagine That,” starring Eddie Murphy and coming out June 12, spent $3 million in 12 days of filming in Colorado, Shand said.

At Thursday’s bill signing, some film students said offering incentives would keep productions from going elsewhere.

“So much talent has to leave here to find work. It’s the perfect place to shoot for almost every movie,” said Colorado Film School student Shannon Wilkerson, 25.

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