State of the State
On Wednesday, a few of us from Festivus attended the “State of the State”, sponsored by the CFVA (Colorado Film and Video Association).
Panelists were invited to discuss Colorado’s filmmaking future. They were an eclectic group of vocal film enthusiasts, advertising executives, union leaders and filmmakers.
The main topic of conversation was incentives. Why doesn’t Colorado offer better tax rebates for productions? Most films shot in New Mexico or Illinois get as much as 30 percent of their production budget back from the state, as long as they use local crews.
In Colorado, the rebate is 10 percent. In other words, hardly any films with a substantial budget are interested in shooting here. When no films shoot here, the jobs go where the productions go: New Mexico, Louisiana, Illinois, and yes, our neighbors up north.
Donald Zuckerman, the new director of the Office of TV, Film and Media, wants to change that. He’s trying to influence congressional leaders, bankers, and tourism officials to turn Colorado into a filmmaking haven.
But there is another way to do that. While panelists like Zuckerman talked about incentives, there is another conversation that deserves as much attention. In the same way musicians and filmmakers have shaped Austin’s reputation as an attractive cultural destination, what can Denver do to follow the same path?
Denver is poised to get there, and bringing a taste of Austin will help. The Alamo Drafthouse will be opening in 2012.
And we already have a passionate community of musicians, artists and filmmakers.
The state of Texas doesn’t have great rebates. Yet Austin has become a creative hub, and an attractive destination for filmmakers.
While Zuckerman and the CFVA are busy trying to bring incentives to the state, there’s something we can be doing too.
You don’t have to look far to discover the talent that Denver has to offer. We just need an organized hub that’s supportive and communal.
At Festivus, one of our goals is to bring the Colorado filmmaking community together. As filmmakers, we should concentrate on nurturing our culture. We can determine the creative brand value of our state just by our creative passion. If we support each other we can keep pushing the creative momentum in our favor.
We can turn Denver into a unique creative destination, just like Austin, even without the tax incentives.