Impact

10 Year Impact

Film production creates jobs in the creative sector while supporting local businesses and encouraging tourism across the state. Utah’s Motion Picture Incentive Program has had a profound impact on the state, both economically and culturally.

Total Utah Spend

$463 Million

Total Rural Utah Spend

$155 Million

Production Days

28,400+

Jobs Created

34,600+

Total Incentive Projects

210

Film Tourism

$6 Billion

How We Help

We provide support for multiple production types including motion pictures, television, and commercials. From student to studio productions, the Utah Film Commission can assist you when filming in the state.

'Forever is Now' (2020)

Our History

Since the early 1930s, Utah has been capturing the imagination of filmmakers and storytellers and today is no exception. With thousands of productions created in-state, Utah has an undeniably deep and lasting commitment to the entertainment industry. It includes iconic films such as ‘Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid’, ‘Thelma & Louise’, ‘Easy Rider’, and ‘Forrest Gump’.

1930s - 1960s

1970s - 1980s

1990s

2000s

2010s - 2020s

The American West

In 1935, John Ford was looking to film a western on location – something that wasn’t really done at that time. He fell in love with photos of Monument Valley in Southern Utah and came out to shoot Stagecoach, the first of six classic westerns that paved the way for an entire era of filmmaking – My Darling Clementine, Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Searchers, and Cheyenne Autumn.


Between 1930s – 1970 hundreds of westerns were made in Southern Utah – from Cedar City to Moab and Monument Valley – that captured the imagination of the American West and established Kanab, UT as “Little Hollywood”.

Robert Redford & Sundance

Robert Redford was already living in Provo Canyon by 1968. He was fresh from his role in Barefoot in the Park. He already knew and loved Utah and convinced director, George Roy Hill (who had been looking at New Mexico) to come and look at the St. George area for the new film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This launched two things that have become synonymous for Utah – Sundance Resort and Sundance Film Festival.

 

In 1974 the Utah Film Commission was established to support the growing film industry.

TV Movies & Series

Looking for new places to film, television and movie studios alike flocked to utilize Utah’s unique locations and film-friendly environment. During the 1990’s Utah generated $200 Million in economic activity in production across the state from TV movies and series like Touched by an Angel and Everwood. Iconic films like Footloose, Thelma & Louise, The Sandlot and Forrest Gump also shot during this time.

Utah's Growing Industry

Looking to address the issue of the film productions moving out of state because of incentives offered, Utah began to offer a small incentive program in 2005, which eventually led to the ongoing Motion Picture Incentive Program we have today, which was set up in 2011 by the Utah State Legislature. 

 

The Disney Channel discovered Utah’s “anytown USA” look and proceeded to shoot 27 movies in the state, including the much-loved High School Musicals, which made Salt Lake City’s East High the movie landmark it is today.

 

The rise of the Sundance Film Festival during this time meant that Utah became known not only as a place to make films but a place to show them. Thousands of film lovers come to Park City, UT every year to see the latest films and indie filmmakers have continued to seek out new places to shoot in Utah.

The Last Decade

The last 20 years have seen major changes in the entertainment landscape with independent movies and streaming channels creating more and more content, which has allowed Utah to continue its growth as a film industry hub. In the last five years, over half of the film permits issued occurred in rural counties, demonstrating the growing interest in the diverse locations off the Wasatch Front.

 

A recent amendment to Utah’s Motion Picture Incentive Program adds additional tax credits available for productions that shoot at least 75% of their production days in a rural county. This funding enables the state’s film industry to successfully retain interest from independent film production, many of whom are repeat customers or local filmmakers, while simultaneously working to attract higher impact studio productions to rural parts of the state.

Partnership

Partner Opportunities

The Utah Film Commission partners with organizations that further our goals in film production, workforce and talent development.

Learn More
Welcome to Utah Reception at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival

Our Team

Virginia Pearce
Director
Derek Mellus
Production Manager
Melissa Jackson
Sr. Manager of Operations and Workforce Development
Christina Martin
Marketing and Communications Manager
Celi Haslam
Film Production Specialist
McKayla Olsen
Locations and Digital Assets Specialist

Utah Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity & the Office of Tourism & Film

Formed in 1974, the Utah Film Commission is part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity and the Office of Tourism. Our office is also a member of the Association of Film Commissioners International.