The $20.5 billion dollar state budget signed by Governor Hickenlooper this week includes $1.3 million dollars for the Office of Film, Television and Media. That’s less than half of what the department received last year.
The money goes toward luring production companies to film in Colorado. Film Commissioner Donald Zuckerman has previously said that little funding would “effectively mean we were out of business.” But, he’s slightly more optimistic now.
Zuckerman will be using the entire $1.3 million to incentivize a Hallmark television series. The production will also receive $1.8 million that was returned to the state after the film "Caribou Records” was delayed.
It's unsure where the Hallmark production, “When Calls the Heart” will film it's series yet but shooting is scheduled to begin this summer.
“Frankly the Holy Grail for the state I think is a TV series. The town is going to be called by its actual name in the TV series. I believe the year its set in is 1904. So it’s a real positive TV series about people living in Colorado a little over 100 years ago,” Zuckerman said.
The pilot episode was filmed in Alberta, Canada. But the production was lured to Colorado because of the attractive incentives package.
Although Colorado won’t have any funding left after the Hallmark TV series to offer additional incentives, Zuckerman says at least one production will be returning to the state.
The Weather Channel's number one show, “The Prospectors” will be returning to Colorado for another season. The show featuring people mining Colorado’s mountains had previously received $360,000 in rebates from the state.
“Because they’ve already established the people and their mining claims, they can’t go elsewhere. So we don’t have to incentivize them so we are getting double our money’s worth,” Zuckerman says.
Zuckerman says it's any other productions will film in Colorado in the 2013-2024 fiscal year without incentives. He plans to meet with Governor John Hickenlooper after the current legislative session ends to discuss increasing his departments funding for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.