Incentives help Colorado's film industry grow

9NEWS at 10 p.m. 5/20/16.

KUSA – Inside a cleared-out unit of an old Denver apartment complex, Haylar Garcia leaned forward in his director’s chair, his eyes glued to the LCD screen mounted in front of him.

“Action!” Garcia called out, and the room full of crew members was suddenly silent. The only sound came from the room next door, where actors played out a scene of the horror film, “Gnaw.”

“Gnaw is about facing your demons, literally and figuratively,” Haylar Garcia explained.

Garcia was born and raised in Denver and is one of several directors taking advantage of Colorado’s incentive rebate for filmmakers.

“We lure production to the state by incentivizing productions to spend money here, hire local crews and in exchange, we give them 20 percent back on what they spend,” explained Lauren Sloan, Deputy Director of the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media.

On Thursday, the Colorado Economic Development Commission approved five projects for the rebate program – the most ever approved in one day.

“It was all-in-all about $687,000 that was awarded in rebates yesterday,” Sloan said.

The feature film, “Hoax,” is one of the new projects and has an all-Colorado cast and crew. A rebate was offered to filmmakers behind the movie, “Walden,” and a rebate increase was approved for the film, “Amateur.” Rebates were also approved for Independent Media to produce Kia commercials and 72andSunny to make six, 15 second commercials for Coors Banquet.

Sloan said the approval of the five projects reflects the growing desire of filmmakers to come to Colorado despite the better incentives offered by states like New Mexico.

“We think filmmakers should shoot in Colorado as opposed to New Mexico because New Mexico’s been shot everywhere,” Sloan said. “There’s so much in Colorado that hasn’t been filmed in decades.”

Colorado’s incentive rebate program is open to Colorado production companies that spend at least $100,000 in the state. Out-of-state companies must spend at least $1 million in Colorado in order to be considered.

Director Haylar Garcia said his film, “Gnaw” will benefit greatly from a rebate.

“It is a low budget film, but it took our budget and ballooned it up to, you know, to give us the ability to create some really cool and special stuff,” Garcia said.

Garcia was hopeful other Colorado filmmakers will follow suit and shoot their films in Colorado. He said the approval of five projects on Friday was a good start to growing the local industry.

“Hopefully, that will do exactly what it’s meant to do,” Garcia said. “Bring money into the state from out of state and help out the local industry as well. Get work and make art.”


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