There’s no other way to say it. This past month has felt intense. Three television series shooting in Utah have kept all of us busy and, between that and a week-long industry trip to a blisteringly hot Los Angeles and news of the blatant sexual harassment occurring in Hollywood, I am looking forward to cooler weather all around.

The Weinstein fallout, along with all of the #metoo stories, brings long whispered-about issues in our industry to the forefront. These are not new stories, which is even more heartbreaking. As head of the Film Commission, I feel a responsibility to ensure that all of our cast and crew in Utah feel safe at work. I’m meeting with several women’s filmmaker groups, both here and in LA, to start a dialogue around what we should be doing to address this. It goes without saying that gender and cultural diversity both behind and in front of the camera would go a long way in helping to ease the tensions. We have some amazingly talented people of all shapes, sizes and colors – many who just need better opportunities to show what they can do. 

Whether you’re male or female, please take this as a call to action. Women need allies. We need our male colleagues to step up and speak out now and whenever they are witness to discrimination of any kind.

If you are hiring, make sure your candidates represent as much diversity as possible. If you need help finding those people, please contact us! And I’m all ears if you have other ideas or concerns. 

SMALL TOWN CRIME

October 26th saw us host an exclusive cast and crew screening of the made-in-Utah thriller, Small Town Crime. Filmed mostly in Tooele County last year, Small Town Crime premiered at SXSW and is scheduled to open in theaters later this year. Written and directed by Eshom and Ian Nelms, also known for Waffle Street, and starring John Hawkes and Octavia Spencer, the plot follows an ex-cop who becomes determined to find the killer of a young woman. Producers John Kelly and Brad Johnson returned to Utah, having also worked on Waffle Street, 127 Hours, Gentlemen Broncos and The World’s Fastest Indian, all filmed in state. 

MPAU & UFC MEETUP

We hosted an industry networking event at Redman Movies and Stories on October 16th, in partnership with MPAU (the Motion Picture Association of Utah). As well as delicious tacos, guests were treated to an industry-focused panel with a number of cast and crew members from Disney Channel’s Andi Mack, including executive producer, Michelle Manning, director, Paul Hoen, and actress Lilan Bowden, who plays Bex in the series. Local producers Scott Swofford and Tom Morrill, also participated in the panel, which focused on how they initially broke into the industry, their experiences to date, and where they see themselves and the industry in the future. Look out for details of our next networking event, which likely take place at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

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AFCI CINEPOSIUM

For  2018 AFCI Cineposium took place in Los Angeles, from October 20th-22nd. Virginia moderated a panel with a focus on the new digital frontier: those creators who are changing the game by going beyond traditional film and television. The panel consisted of Kim Sherman (Warner Bros./Stage 13, Snatchers), producer/content creator Adi Shankar, and Larry LaBoe (SXM and New Filmmakers LA). They all spoke about the need for on-the-ground resources on location, such as an experienced crew, a strong film commission and an incentive that works for both big and small. The conference was a reminder of the creativity, talent and passion across the wider, global industry and we’re glad Utah was represented in this mix.

Ogden City

On October 24th, we headed north to Ogden as the City Council honored Youth and Consequences Productions for their recent contribution to the community. The anticipated YouTube Red series, Youth and Consequences, has recently finished shooting, but has made a real impact in the city and beyond. The web series, starring Anna Akana, follows a power struggle within the school system. Youth and Consequences filmed at Ogden High School, a location that is no stranger to the film industry, as 1987’s Three O’Clock High was also shot there. Our recent blog post on ’30 Years of Three O’Clock High’ can be found here.

THIS IS UTAH Photo Contest

We are now accepting entries for This is Utah, a photo contest with a focus on Utah’s unique and diverse locations. We are calling on the many talented photographers out there to share their vision and help inspire the next wave of filmmakers coming out to the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Winners will be showcased in the Utah Film Commission space located on Main Street during the 2018 Festival. Visit our website for more information.

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Now Filming
Andi Mack, Series, Disney Channel
Yellowstone, Series

Now Showing/Coming Soon
Andi Mack, Season 2, Disney Channel 
Enchanted Christmas

ExtinctBYUtv 
The StrayIn theaters 
Westworld on BluRay/DVD November 7th
Wind River now available on VOD. BluRay/DVD on November 13th

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