Colorado is doling out millions of dollars in rebates for in-state film productions in one of the sharpest upswings in its film-production history amid heavy, ongoing competition in neighboring states such as New Mexico and Utah.
A narrative feature about the long-running Denver LGBTQ club Tracks, which was announced in June, has been approved to receive $800,000 by the state’s Economic Development Commission, according to a statement today from the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media.
That adds to a number of film and TV projects already underway in Colorado, such as the thriller-feature “Elevation.” The latter is “the biggest production to come to Colorado since (Quentin Tarantino’s 2015 film) “The Hateful Eight,” wrote Colorado film commissioner Donald Zuckerman in an email to The Denver Post.
“Elevation,” which will star Anthony Mackie, Morena Baccarin and Maddie Hasson, is shooting around Golden and Boulder with George Nolfi directing, and Brad Fuller as principal producer, Zuckerman said. It’s the largest feature to come to Colorado in eight years, and will spend about $18 million and employ nearly 300 cast and crew, according to the Denver Business Journal.
The producers of the historically-inspired Tracks feature “Making Tracks” were approved after saying they expect to spend nearly $4.5 million locally and hire 100 local cast and crew members. Production is set to begin in and around Denver in April 2023 and continue through July 2023.
Last month, Zuckerman and his office approved a Colorado Film Incentive for the reality-TV show “Rock the Block,” a home-renovation competition series from HGTV. It’s currently the network’s Nov. 1 competition reality show; the fourth season will be filming in Berthoud, Zuckerman said. It was approved for a $697,000 film incentive by the Economic Development Commission, in light of its $3.5 million local spend, with 46 local crew members. Production is set to begin this fall and continue through the end of this month.
Additionally, the premiere of the new History Channel series “Pawn Stars Do America,” entitled “Denver Gold Rush,” was shot in the Mile High City in July and premiered as the series’ lead episode on Nov. 9 (it’s a travel show and isn’t based here permanently).
Along with ongoing reality TV series and various TV and online commercials, the renewed activity in Colorado is suddenly helping it catch up to neighboring states. The go-to state of New Mexico offers 25% to 30%, depending on the production, and Utah offers up to 25%. Colorado’s program launched in 2012 with up to 20%, but some productions have negotiated for more — such as “Elevation’s” 25% rebate.
Colorado, whose film rebate muscle has been criticized as both too little and poorly managed by past state legislatures, is also anticipating “High Science,” a reality TV series of cannabis that comes with the pedigree of “Pawn Stars” and “Duck Dynasty” producers. It was approved in October for a $221,000 film incentive on an estimated spend of $1.1 million locally, with 26 local cast and crew members. Production has already begun and will continue through February 2023.
The “Elevation” project also comes with big names, including the writer of “The Bourne Ultimatum” (director-writer Nolfi) and the producer of the “A Quiet Place” horror franchise (Fuller).