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CDC meeting to consider economic impact of film industry

By Muriel Eason
Special to The SUN

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, “The production and distribution of films and television programs is one of the nation’s most valuable cultural and economic resources.”

The industry is a major private sector employer across the nation, with salaries above the national average. The industry is a nationwide network of tens of thousands of small businesses, located in every state in the country, the majority of which employ 10 people or fewer. The industry is heavily reliant on vendors in other industries all over the country. Each year, film and television production activity takes place in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Closer to home, in Colorado, the motion picture and television industry is responsible for 10,434 direct jobs and $454.0 million in wages in Colorado, including both production and distribution-related jobs. Nearly 1,800 of the jobs are production-related.

During the course of 2010 and 2011, seven movies and eight TV series filmed in the state.

Donald Zuckerman, the head of the relatively new Colorado Film and Video Association, which is part of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and Trade (OEDIT,) said he’d, “like to see Colorado once again become a player in the motion picture and television production industry, a position the state once held in the pre-incentive days when producers came to the state for its great locations, professional production crews, facilities, post houses, and readily available equipment. Colorado offered — and still does — a darn nice working environment.”

According to Zuckerman, “Colorado’s new film production isn’t some passing fancy for some overpaid Hollywood studio mogul. It is serious, down to earth economic development, a vehicle for generating clean economic activity and creating top paying permanent jobs. And he would like to see the production industry take a more expansive role in the state’s economic future.”

And Zuckerman does know a lot about the motion picture industry. According to the Colorado Film and Video Association, website, “Zuckerman has produced a number of motion pictures, worked with some of Hollywood’s top stars, and he comes across as a solid businessman, not as some star-crossed hipster from the west coast. When he talks about how budgets and production projects are actually put together, he is speaking from direct experience.

Incentives are the key. Colorado’s incentives to production include a 10-percent rebate on qualifying in-state expenditures, provided 25 percent of the actors and crew are Colorado residents.

Want to know more? Marc Snider of the Four Corners Film Office, an Enhanced Enterprise Zone Project, will be the guest speaker at the next public Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation (PSCDC) meeting, Feb. 4, at 5 p.m. at the Quality Resort, telling those in attendance more about the Four Corners Film Office — what they are doing, the successes they’ve had and how Pagosans can participate.

According to Region 9 EDD, “Archuleta County is comprised of 867,263 acres (1,355 sq. miles) and only 31 percent of lands in Archuleta County are in private ownership.” We have incredible scenic vistas and wide open spaces and 49 percent of the county is federal land. Productions are a clean industry, and primarily recession proof. The economic impacts of film and television production are well documented, with the budget of Walt Disney’s “The Lone Ranger,” for example, ranging around $100,000 per day.

According to Laura Lewis Marchino of Region 9 EDD, “In two weeks of filming, it is estimated to have had a $7 million impact on the local economy. This does not even include the ancillary expenditures of visiting cast and crew, and the tourism associated with feature films and their fans.”

“Long-term economic impacts, like drawing tourists here to discover the endless beauty of the San Luis Valley when the movie opens in 2013, is a more innocuous measurement, but equally important because of the footprint left behind by an epic film production like ‘The Lone Ranger,’” according to Eric Grossman, the mayor of Creede.

According to the Four Corners Film Office website, “The mission … is to increase jobs and income from film, television and digital media production in the Four Corners region.” They do that by serving as a liaison, facilitator and information hub. Marc will be happy to answer any questions you may have during the meeting, or afterwards at a public reception.

This story was posted on January 24, 2013.