Utah: The Indie Film State

Pete CodellaNews

The Utah Film Commission announced today that the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) board approved film incentives for four projects, including an independent feature “It’s Family.” Director Roger Donaldson, who is returning to Utah, will helm the production beginning in July.

“It’s not uncommon for filmmakers to return to Utah for other projects,” said Virginia Pearce, director of the Utah Film Commission. “We do everything we can to make the production experience a positive one and it certainly helps that Utah really does have it all: the scenery, the infrastructure and the statewide support.”

Projected in-state spending for “It’s Family” is $5 million, and the production will hire 124 local cast and crew along with 800 extras. The GOED board approved the production for a maximum tax credit of $1.25 million, which represents 25 percent of the dollars left in the state.

Donaldson’s directing credits include “No Way Out” (1987), “Thirteen Days” (2000) and “The November Man” (2014). This will be his second feature in Utah, with the first being “The World’s Fastest Indian” (2005). Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, “The World’s Fastest Indian” was the first project ever to receive a Utah film incentive in 2004.

“Roger and I look forward to working again in Utah with longtime friends and filmmakers,” said John Kelly, “It’s Family” producer. “I have come back time and time again for the crews, infrastructure, locations and overall support for the local film industry.” Kelly has produced five other feature films in Utah.

“It’s Family,” along with the three other productions approved today will have a combined projected in-state spending of $6.2 million and will hire 260 local cast and crew. The other projects expected to start production in the coming months include the following:

Into the Mystic, LLC will begin production in early May on their independent drama by local director Isaac Halasima. “Into the Mystic” will hire an estimated 34 cast and crew. The GOED board approved a maximum tax credit of $58,433, which represents 20 percent of dollars left in the state.

SW Film Partners, LLC will begin preparation on their musical feature “Saturday’s Warrior” in early April with filming taking place in August. Directed by Michael Buster, “Saturday’s Warrior” will employ an estimated 38 people as cast and crew. The production has been approved for a maximum tax credit of $120,940, which represents 20 percent of dollars left in the state.

Riot, LLC will begin principal photography in early April on an independent feature drama by John Lyde, a Utah-based director. “RIOT” will hire an estimated cast and crew of 64 and has been approved for a maximum tax credit of $55,680 which represents 20 percent of dollars left in state.

“The last two months have shown a marked increase in the number of both larger and smaller film producers interested in coming to Utah,” said Bryan Clifton, owner of a Salt Lake City-based film equipment rental house, Redman Movies and Stories. “There’s been a new spotlight shining on Utah’s film industry, and it’s thanks to a team effort between businesses and government in the state. Utah has long-term film incentives, we have invested in the state’s excellent infrastructure and through collaboration, we’ve stuck it out through tough economic times. It’s all beginning to pay off, and local companies like mine truly benefit from it.”