Wyoming rides herd on indies

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Poor Wyoming.

After being humiliated when such Wyoming-set films as "Brokeback Mountain" and "An Unfinished Life" found production homes in Canada, the state last year finally instituted a cash-rebate program.

But before any productions could take advantage of it — heck, before many people even knew about it — the WGA strike came along to chop the state at the knees.

"The writers strike did hold up some projects," Wyoming Film Office's Michell Howard said.

Although some productions have returned for scouting trips, a possible SAG strike is making studios antsy about greenlighting movies, making major shoots in the state an unlikely scenario anytime soon.

So Wyoming is targeting indie films, which have shorter shoot times, to come to the state. It's instituting a short-film contest for films that don't necessarily have to be shot in Wyoming but need to have ties to it. The winner receives a $25,000 prize, with the money going toward their next project — to be shot in Wyoming, naturally.

With a rebate ranging from 12%-15% depending on the criteria, the incentive program doesn't aim to compete with the New Mexicos and the Louisianas but rather the region that includes such states as Montana, Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota.
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