Film incentives: House lawmakers approve $3 million to fund moviemaking in Colorado

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Colorado is one step closer to (hopefully) dominating the silver screen once again. Today, the House Appropriations Committee approved $3 million to fund a bill to increase the state's film incentives. As explained in our cover story, "The Reel West," the number of movie cameras pointed at Colorado has dwindled in recent years because our state doesn't offer big rebates for filmmakers.

Despite Colorado's gorgeous scenery and rich film history -- nearly 400 movies have been shot here, including the original True Grit -- filmmakers have largely abandoned the Centennial State for cheaper locales. For instance, the 2010 Coen Brothers remake of True Grit was filmed in Texas. (For ten more examples, check out our list of movies and TV shows set in Colorado but filmed elsewhere.)

House Bill 1286 looks to change that. The bill, sponsored by film champ Representative Tom Massey, House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino and others, would increase the cash rebate offered to filmmakers from 10 percent to 20 percent. It would also guarantee that the state would back up to 20 percent of a producer's bank loan -- for a 5 percent fee. To qualify, out-of-state filmmakers would have to spend at least $1 million here and hire at least 50 percent of their crew in Colorado.

And where would the state get the moolah to do that? That's where the $3 million comes in. The House Appropriations Committee approved it today in a ten-to-three vote. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it will undergo the same process.

"Encouraging more film production in Colorado brings good jobs, good paychecks and notoriety to Colorado for our state's natural beauty," Ferrandino said in a statement. "This morning's decision to fund our film incentives program is a great example of Democrats and Republicans working together to keep Colorado's economy going and get more Coloradans back to work."

We're pretty sure he's talking about the thousands of behind-the-scenes folks -- from cameramen to makeup artists -- who call Colorado home. But could he also be referring to the state's homegrown movie stars? We hear Sinbad, a University of Denver alum, is looking for work. Jingle All the Way 2, anybody?

More from our Television & Film archive: "Movies in Colorado: Industry, politicians rally for bill to increase filmmaker incentives."

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