Made in Utah
Filmmakers are flocking to the state in quest of mountain scenery and desert profits.
Park City might be a great place to schmooze and to premiere a movie, but the rest of Utah is full of prime locations for films, TV and commercials -- especially since the state upped its tax-credit rebate from 10 percent in 2004 to 25 percent in March. (There also are sales, use and transient room-tax exemptions.) "Each year we show success and the Legislature rewards us for good behavior," says Utah Film Commission director Marshall Moore. "Word is getting around; we have seven productions in the next six months." When Sean Penn mopes his way to the afterlife in The Tree of Life or Taylor Kitsch goes to Mars in the upcoming John Carter, Utah is the stand-in. "John Carter is the biggest-budget picture ever to utilize the incentive program," says Moore of the production, whose budget is estimated at $300 million. Directors since John Ford (The Searchers) and Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) have found Utah tempting, and lately, many are looking to retrace their footsteps. Other states might have higher rebates, but they don't have seven national monuments, such as the Grand Staircase, for interplanetary travelers to land on.
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