With a diverse geography taking in the Rocky Mountains, plains and deserts, Colorado attracts film-makers mostly because of its locations, though the state’s incentive programme is also a draw.

Commercials and reality television shows are regular visitors and several bigger features have also shot in the state, among them The Hateful Eight, Furious 7, Hostiles, Our Souls At Night and Cop Car. The increase in feature shoots boosted production spending to $43m in 2015, against a 2014 total of $19m.

The Lowdown

Financial incentives

A 20% tax rebate credit — based on actual in-state spend — and a state guarantee loan programme that can finance up to 20% of a feature film’s budget. To get the rebate, an out-of-state production company must have at least $1m in qualified local expenditures ($250,000 for TV commercials and video games) and a Colorado production company at least $100,000. Above and below line expenditures count, though only up to $1m per employee. Productions must be at least 80% funded and must hire a cast and crew comprising at least 50% Colorado residents.

Full detail:

Infrastructure and crews

The state has a crew depth of two but no major studios.

Size matters

With an area of more than 104,000 sq miles, Colorado is the eighth biggest US state with only the 22nd biggest population. The state is bisected from north to south and east to west by interstate highways and served by Denver International Airport, the fourth biggest hub in the US, with flight times of two-and-a-half hours to Los Angeles and four hours to New York.

Finola Dwyer, producer, Our Souls At Night

“Kent Haruf’s novel [on which the film is based] is set in Colorado and we wanted to have that authenticity of location from the get go. Colorado Springs has the infrastructure to house a cast and crew, as well as stage capabilities. The locals have been incredibly welcoming and accommodating, which adds to the experience of filming here.”

Would she come back?

“Definitely. Everyone loves the various looks and the great weather.”

First person to call

Donald Zuckerman, film commissioner, Colorado Office of Film, Television & Media
+1 303 892 3840

Need to know

  • DO take advantage of the skiing. Colorado is home to 26 resorts, with many ski areas averaging more than 350 inches of snowfall a year.
  • DON’T overlook the less obvious locations. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve outside Alamosa, for example, is home to the tallest sand dunes in North America.

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