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The silver screen meets the purple mountains
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By Joshua Pilkington

Film in Colorado brings thousands of opportunities, millions in revenue

When it comes to investing in Colorado there are few opportunities that bring the allure of the state to light like film. Colorado doesn’t quite share the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, but what it does have is open landscapes, intriguing documentary topics and a bevy of film festivals for both professional and amateur filmmakers to showcase their works.

Helming much of the film incentives in Colorado is the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media, which in 2016 awarded incentives totaling just over $2 million to 17 new projects, according to the annual report from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

Along those same lines the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media also created 1,391 new jobs and added approximately $17.6 million in economic activity through incentivized production.

“I think with film most people just look for whether it is filmed within the state or not,” said University of Colorado Boulder film student Anthony Cisneros. “But there is a lot more that goes into film in Colorado than where it is produced.”

Cisneros cited Quentin Tarantino’s last film, “The Hateful Eight,” which was filmed in Telluride, and brought some notoriety to the mountain town.

According to Colorado Film Commissioner Donald Zuckerman, Tarantino was at the Schmid Family Ranch on Wilson Mesa just about 10 miles west of downtown Telluride to shoot scenes with Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell and Tim Roth among others.

“A lot of great stories came out of those shoots,” Cisneros said. “There was a surprising lack of snow for some time, the temperatures got very cold at others, but that only speaks to part of what Colorado film is all about.”

In 2016 the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media sponsored eight student projects, hosted or sponsored 52 industry events and partnered with 29 film festivals, including some of the larger festivals in the state such as the Telluride Film Festival and the Boulder International Film Festival.

Among the 17 new projects that Colorado Film incentivized are nine feature films (including documentaries), two television programs, four commercials, one video game and a unique faith-based film.

Of the feature films making waves, “Walden,” is likely the most anticipated among the Colorado slate. Featuring Colorado-born comedian and actor TJ Miller, “Walden” is a radical, western re-imagining of Henry Thoreau’s classic Walden. Set in present-day Colorado, the story takes place over 24 hours while interlacing three contemporary narratives about trappings of modern life and those who dream dangerously of escape. The production team includes writer/director Alex Harvey whose credits include the fourth season of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and producers Shane Boris, Mitch Dickman and Alison Millice.

Those with a Netflix subscription may soon have the opportunity to view “Amateur”. The story focuses on 14-year-old basketball phenom Terron Forte whose status explodes when a video of him goes viral and leads others to declare him the next basketball superstar. Produced by Jason Berman, Vice President of Mandalay Entertainment (Birth of a Nation, Little Accidents) and Chip Hourihan (Frozen River, Any Day Now), the feature film has distribution in place with Netflix.

Other films with Colorado ties to look for in 2017 include the horror thriller “Gnaw”, drama “Casting JonBenet” and the drama/comedy “Hoax.” Documentaries to look out for include “Life Tectonic,” “Forging the West”, “Ask a Ranger” and “Keep a Light in Your Window.”

On the television side Xfinity Latino Entertainment has relocated its program featuring sports highlights, telenovelas, music, TV, film and celebrity stories in Spanish to Colorado from Miami. The show is expected to air 52 episodes from its studios in the Centennial state.

For more information regarding film, television and other media in Colorado, visit





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