Film industry to request more funding for Utah movie biz

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) - On the set of "The Outpost," a forthcoming sci-fi and fantasy series, one feels transported into a medieval world - with Utah's Wasatch mountains standing gracefully in the background. 

"The Outpost" is one of several film and television productions happening now in the state of Utah. Utah Film Commission Director Virginia Pearce said that's thanks to the beauty of Utah's landscapes, and tax incentives provided to film production crews for choosing to make Utah a part of their projects. 

Still, more funding is needed to get bigger and more lavish productions to shoot in Utah. 

"This year we ran out of money a couple of months into our fiscal year," said Pearce, who told News4Utah the Commission is granted $8 million in incentive money to attract production companies (other states, like New Mexico, get much more). "Without incentive money, it's impossible to get big productions to come to our state," she said. 

Wednesday, the Utah Film Commission hosted "Film Day on the Hill," a chance for Utah film productions and media companies to showcase how the medium can help boost the local economy. 

Currently, Utah has several big series in production, including HBO's "Westworld," "Yellowstone," and Disney's "Andi Mack."

Pearce said television series productions are very beneficial to the local economy, especially if they enjoy long runs. 

Crews on "The Outpost" said Utah is attractive to them because of the diversity of landscape.

"Utah is pretty other-worldly," said Kynan Griffin, who created the series. 

Pearce said compared to other states' incentive budgets, Utah's is very conservative. According to the Utah Film Commission, productions that come to shoot in Utah can receive up to 25% in tax breaks when they spend money here. Smaller productions also benefit by getting a 20% cash rebate when they plan to spend $1 million in Utah. 

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Industry stakeholders will be requesting more funding in tax incentive money from legislators, in an effort to attract more opportunities for shoots on Utah's unique, scenic locations. 

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