The Park Record editorial, January 23-26, 2010
For almost a century, Utah has enjoyed hosting an industry that provides thousands of jobs, puts money in tax coffers and brings it international fame. This industry doesn’t have to dig holes, cut down trees or emit anything into the air. All it wants is to take pictures of our beautiful landscape, towns and people.
According to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Utah’s film industry created 3,000 new jobs and had an economic impact of $115 million between 2005 and 2009 alone. According to one industry expert who testified to the state Legislature, 90 percent of people working on a typical movie set in Utah are residents.
Last year, the Sundance Film Festival alone was estimated to have had an overall economic impact of $92.1 million, supported close to 2,000 jobs, generated over $18 million worth of media exposure and provided millions in tax revenue, according to the Sundance Institute.
Since 1994, the festival has brought in more than $550 million in economic activity to the state. Two-thirds of the festival’s 40,000 attendees came from out of state last year and spent millions on food, lodging and transportation.
Historically, Utah has been the third most popular place to film a movie or television show after New York City and Los Angeles. According to the Utah Film Commission, more than 800 films and TV movies have been filmed here from the 1939 "Stagecoach" to the recent "High School Musical" films.
Recently, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development further recognized the value of supporting the film and television industry. For example, it calculated that every dollar committed by the state to support the industry generates two and a half dollars in return.
New incentives are currently promoted by the not-for-profit FilmUtah at international film festivals. Introduced last spring, the new Motion Picture Incentive Fund will bring an additional 4,500 jobs, says the state, while other production industries like construction and manufacturing are continuing to shrink their workforces.
Even though local governments decry plans to build a movie studio at Quinn’s Junction, numerous other professionals in Summit County salivate at the prospect.
The film industry has been good to Utah and Park City. It’s perhaps the cleanest and most environmentally-responsible industry taking advantage of our community’s natural resources. All it requires in return is for us to be good hosts, and anyone who’s been to Park City knows that’s what we do best.
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