From: Economic Development Corporation of Utah
To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Economic Review -- Lights, Camera, Utah: The Film Industry in the Beehive State
Date: Tue Jul 15 22:14:52 MDT 2014
July 15, 2014
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President's Message
Two Benefit Events to Support

Utah-based Women's Ski Jumping USA will hold its annual benefit this week at the Montage Deer Valley. The July 17 event celebrates the first Olympics for Women's Ski Jumping USA and the launch of its new development program, "Fly Girls," which was designed to help empower and ignite young female jumpers around the country.

The organization's goal for the annual benefit is to raise more than $100,000, with $25,000 of that being raised online through ticket sales and contributions on its event website. Supporting the annual benefit event will help Women's Ski Jumping USA to soar even higher.

Coming up Aug. 3, we'll have the opportunity to indulge in one of Utah's premier culinary events and simultaneously fight hunger in the state. Taste of the Wasatch takes place from noon to 4 p.m. at Solitude Mountain Resort and features food tastings presented by chefs from more than 50 top Utah restaurants and resorts, alongside boutique wineries and craft breweries pouring tastes. There will also be live music and live and silent auctions. One hundred percent of the proceeds from Taste of the Wasatch go to fight hunger in Utah. Last year, Taste of the Wasatch granted more than $90,000 to the beneficiaries Utahns Against Hunger, Ogden Weber Community Action Partnership and the Utah Food Bank.

3 Squares, Inc., the non-profit organization that produces Taste of the Wasatch, has a goal to provide access, awareness and education to food insecure residents in our community. 3 Squares, an EDCUtah investor, believes the solution to fighting hunger in our community is to "teach a man to fish: make it fun, make it last and make it taste good."

Today's Economic Review also includes links to many of the ED-related news stories from the past week. As always, if you have comments, suggestions or topics you'd like to see in the Economic Review, please contact us by clicking the "Comments" link on the bottom of this page. Enjoy!

Jeff Edwards

Jeff Edwards
President and CEO


Utah Film Commission
Portions of Transformers: Age of Extinction were filmed in Utah's Grand and San Juan Counties and feature the inspiring pinnacles of Monument Valley. Photo source: Utah Film Commission.

Feature Story
Lights, Camera, Utah: The Film Industry in the Beehive State

The apocalypse is over and the human race is reduced to an agrarian society trying to survive alongside a mysterious creature called "the Galyntine," which lurks on the outskirts of…Alpine, Utah?

It's true. Actually, Alpine isn't really called Alpine in AMC Network's pilot production of the original TV series, Galyntine, which just finished three months of production in Utah. The show stars Peter Fonda and Amy Madigan and is produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Greg Nicotero.

Galyntine is one of hundreds film projects, which span movies, TV shows and commercials, shot in the state every year, generating millions of dollars in economic impact. During initial filming, Galyntine execs hired more than 200 locals to work as extras and crew and had a projected in-state spend of about $7.1 million. The final spend won't be determined until after a CPA audit to ensure the projected expenditures actually occurred in the state.

Utah Film Commission Director Marshall Moore hopes the Galyntine pilot will become a TV series with continued production in Utah. "We won't know until the end of this calendar year, but if it does, AMC will come back and start preproduction of the show's first season in January," he says. "The goal of Utah's film incentive program is to attract a major network television series to the state because they provide consistency. They help build infrastructure quicker than one-off movies, which have a start and end date, whereas, a series can go on for multiple seasons."

The 1990s hit, Touched by An Angel, still ranks as the most successful TV series to be shot in the state and included 215 episodes over nine seasons, bringing about $225 million to the Utah economy. That's not to say the state doesn't welcome feature films. John Carter, released in 2012 and filmed in Moab and Millard County, generated about $19 million for Utah's economy over 45 days of production. Nonetheless, the difference between the long-term spend of a TV series verses a one-off movie production can be significant.

Utah was selected as the location for Galyntine, says Moore, because the state stood out topographically and creatively. AMC needed mountainous areas with evergreens as well as talent to build original sets and wardrobes, the crew base and the equipment. Utah has all of that, but the state also has a film incentive program.

"We were able to combine the creative elements they needed with an incentive and a local crew base that could support this type of production," Moore notes.

Since the inception of Utah's film incentive program in 2005, the state's film industry has generated an economic impact of more than $113 million total dollars. Several productions are still spending money in the state, and those aren't counted in that total. Nonetheless, in terms of job creation, the film industry has created more than 11,194 production jobs over 6,173 production days. Thanks to the incentive program, Moore says the Utah film industry is generating about $13 million annually in economic impact, on average, but more recently the impact has been as much as $30 million per year. Fiscal year 2013-2014, which just ended, looks to be one of the best years ever for the industry.

While direct job creation is the major focus of the incentive program, other benefits include money spent on vendors, hotels, materials and equipment rentals. "Our incentives are offered in the form of a rebate," says Moore. "No money is given back until money is spent in the state, but it is our incentive program that helps put us on the radar. I have heard it over and over again from producers, executives at the networks and executives in the studios. No matter how beautiful your mountains are or how stark the Bonneville Salt Flats, you are not going to get a lot of consistent work without some type of rebate program in place."

Utah's government leaders have embraced the industry. "The Governor and Legislature have seen that vision, too," Moore continues. "Utah's incentive program is doing exactly what it was designed to do, provide jobs for Utah film crews, talent and support services."

Back on the set, numerous other films are in various stages of production in Utah. Moore says independent filming goes on nearly year-round. Independent films Don Verdean: Biblical Archeologist, H8rz and Rosemont were recently shot in Utah and will likely make the festival circuit. Big productions with a Utah presence include Your Right Mind, starring Kathryn Heigl as a country singer fighting for custody of her daughter, and literary classic The Giver, which stars Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep and Taylor Swift. Other films shot here include Need for Speed, Transformers 4, The Cokeville Miracle, Saints and Soldiers III and The Adventures of Roborex, among others.

"There is always something going on," he adds. "TV series, cable movies, feature films and reality TV, not to mention the commercials, are constantly being filmed in Utah."

The construction of the privately-funded Park City Film Studios is the latest addition to Utah's film industry infrastructure and is scheduled to open in November. When complete, the $125 million studio will have three adjoining 16,000 square-foot sound stages to shoot motion pictures, television shows and commercials.

One of the ambitions for the studio was to form a partnership with the Sundance Film Festival to serve as a destination venue for festival parties, screenings and sponsorships. Park City Film Studios, Moore says, will offer the amenities found in a major production facility, including sound proofing, a lighting grid and the ability to expand and contract the stage.

Utah's film infrastructure also includes dozens of camera rental companies, a film crew base large enough to support three simultaneous projects, depending on the size of those projects, film schools and a digital media education system turning out skilled animators and gamers.

"That is happening every day here and Utah's competitive incentive program is giving [those graduates] places to work," he says.

Moore says the film industry is perfect for Utah because it is so diversified. One day a production can be in a major metropolitan area and the next day could be filming in a rural community. There are also promotional benefits from the industry. Not all films offer it, but many include credits such as "Filmed entirely on location in Utah." "We [get credit for] our ski resorts' on the Disney Channel's Cloud Nine, our deserts in The Lone Ranger or East High School in High School Musical. Film is forever and so are the promotional opportunities," he continues.

While the Utah Film Commission represents the business and political side of Utah's film industry, Moore hopes the commission also represents the good entertainment being made in Utah as people see the state on the big screen and on TV. He also hopes production companies will experience Utah's friendly business and film environment and keep coming back.

Investor Spotlight: American Heart Association

The American Heart Association, an EDCUtah investor since 2010, has a mission is to help people build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. That's a big task, given that heart disease causes one in every four deaths and causes one in three women's deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute. To turn the tide on heart disease, the American Heart Association has launched its 2020 goal, which is to reduce death and disability from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20 percent by the year 2020.

The organization feels a kinship with economic development and sees the opportunity to contribute research dollars to the Utah's higher education institutions as a factor in helping to sustain jobs. In fact, Jennifer Merback, communications and marketing director at American Heart Association in Salt Lake City, says the organization has contributed millions of dollars to cardiovascular research at Utah State University, the University of Utah and Brigham Young University. Perhaps that research will lead to the next breakthrough in pacemaker technology, the next cholesterol drug or the next stint design. Funds for research are raised by events like the "Heart and Stroke Walk" taking place at Sugarhouse Park on Saturday, Sept. 20. Merback encourages EDCUtah's investors and friends to bring their families, friends and co-workers to the event. More information can be found at Other events, like national Wear Red Day on the first Friday in February, the "Go Red for Women" luncheon in March and the annual Heart Ball also help raise funds and promote cardiovascular health.

The American Heart Association advocates at the Utah capitol about issues important to Utahns and their health. Merback says the organization was able to restore funding to ensure every high school student receives CPR training before graduating and promotes initiatives to increase physical education in schools and prevent tobacco use. For more information about the American Heart Association visit or call 801-702-4420.


July 17
"Give Them Wings and Watch Them Fly" annual benefit gala for U.S. women ski jumpers, 6-9 p.m. (Montage, Deer Valley)

July 17
Utah Alliance for Economic Development Summer Meeting (Zermatt Resort, Heber Valley)

Aug. 3
Taste of the Wasatch Noon to 4 p.m. (Solitude Mountain Resort)

Aug. 9
"Target the Cure" Charity 3D Archery Fun Shoot and BBQ, benefiting Huntsman Cancer Institute (Easton Salt Lake Archery Center, 575 North John Glenn Road, Salt Lake City)

Aug. 14
Salt Lake Chamber's Women in Business Summer Social (Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building, University of Utah)

Aug. 18
Salt Lake Chamber Small Business 9-Hole Golf Tournament 7:30 a.m. to Noon (Lakeside Golf Course, West Bountiful)

Sept. 4
Uintah Basin Energy Summit (Vernal) Register here.

Sept. 10-12
Utah League of Cities and Towns Annual Conference (Salt Lake City Sheraton)

Oct. 7
EDCUtah Annual Meeting (Grand America Hotel)

Oct. 13-16
Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (Orlando) Please contact Marcie Young Cancio at or 801-323-4242 for information about participating in the Utah Pavilion with EDCUtah and GOED.

Oct. 16-19
Girl Scouts of Utah hosts the Girl Scout National Convention (Salt Lake City)

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The EDCUtah Economic Review is a weekly publication of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. It is distributed to EDCUtah partners and selected other government and civic organizations interested in Utah's economic development.

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