New deputy film commissioner wants Colorado on the big screen

The Grand Valley on Film
The Grand Valley on Film
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 9:33 AM MST|Updated: Feb. 27, 2023 at 1:36 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Grand Junction’s Avalon Theatre echoes with 100 years of performing arts.

The magic born here could help change the next 100 years for this town in the middle of the desert.

“A really cool impact that we’ve seen from film is tourism being sparked from a given production,” said Arielle Brachfeld, the new deputy film commissioner for the state.

She wants to bring Western Colorado to the big screen.

“Our cityscapes are incredible,” said Brachfeld. “Our rural communities are incredible. They’re begging to be filmed. And it enriches production to have access to locations like what we offer.”

The Colorado office of film, television, and media works closely with the office of economic development and international trade, meaning tourism and film make for great business partners.

Fort Morgan for example was recently the face of the HGTV series “Hometown Takeover,” season two.

A 2022 study, conducted by Montana economists, supports the direct correlation of filming and producing the series “Yellowstone” with an increase in Montana’s tourism.

2.1 million people said the TV series influenced their choice of visiting Montana.

Patrick Barkey is the director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana. He credits the 10 thousand plus jobs created in the state because of the show.

“If it weren’t for the show, the premise of this study is, all these things we’ve been talking about in terms of the jobs and the spending so forth wouldn’t happen,” said Patrick Barkey.

Barkey mentions that while every show may not bring the same numbers, the potential is there.

“This result says how much larger the Montana economy is because of Yellowstone,” said Barkey.

Brachfeld says Colorado has several incentives in place to help filmmakers produce more work in the state.

“The incentive program offers a rebate to qualifying filmmakers. It’s a performance-based rebate based on the spending that they have for their film,” says Brachfeld.

Filmmakers can apply to the incentive program, and once accepted, they will get up to a 20 percent refund after production.

But for those who lack qualifying experience, there are options.

“We offer educational grants, we offer film festival grants, we offer career connection panels for college students,” said Brachfeld. “We do a film exposure program that’s specific to Mesa County, which is really exciting.”

A new twist for a town not known, yet, for its appearance on the silver screen.