In response to the Deseret News editorial on film incentives (In our opinion: "Are Utah film subsidies a flop?" Feb. 27), we as board members of the Motion Picture Association of Utah disagree with the statement that “Utah is able to catch proverbial lightning in a bottle with a movie produced here.”
The simple fact is that the local impact of series and films produced in the state is immeasurable. How many people now know Utah from “High School Musical?” East High has had thousands of visitors who have wanted to see where the story happened. The state continues to receive worldwide recognition from all projects filmed in Utah, including the 22 projects of 2017.
But the film industry isn't just about recognizing a location. There is nothing temporary about it — millions of dollars are added to the Utah economy every year. The industry employs hundreds of full-time film and TV production workers and thousands of part-time workers who pay taxes, buy homes and raise families in our community. Money is spent statewide in our hotels, restaurants, gas stations, lumberyards, equipment houses, car rental companies, retail stores and dry cleaners. Productions hire local police for security and firefighters as medics. They pay location fees for filming to small businesses, private homeowners, schools, counties and Utah Department of Transportation. The list goes on and on.
Few businesses outside of film production come into the state and spend $30 million in eight months and depart peacefully with the hopes of returning for another project. Our film incentive is a post-spend rebate — Utah spending is verified by a local CPA firm and then reviewed again by the state before any monies are received by the production.
Push rewind and play, and this process repeats itself to the benefit of all our Utah communities. We remain grateful to our legislative body that continues to support this conservative program.