It’s very possible there has been no greater commercial made to promote the state of Montana than Robert Redford’s film “A River Runs Through It.” The opening scenes of the movie show sweeping shots of the Paradise Valley and Gallatin Canyon as the narrator says of Montana it is “more touched by wonder and possibility than any I have since known.”
Filming movies, television shows and commercials in Montana elevates the awareness about our state and pumps outside dollars in to our stores, hotels, and to industry professionals. In fact, visitors who come to Montana because they saw or heard of Big Sky Country in films or TV spent $25 million in our communities last year.
That’s why we want to thank the Montana House of Representatives for having the foresight to open the door to more production opportunities in the state through the passage of House Bill 602. We already know Montana is the ultimate location; this bill would put our state on the map for more filmmakers to learn the same thing.
The bill encourages production companies to hire local professionals, and when they do, the companies become eligible for a tax incentive. This not only boosts job opportunities for Montanans, but it will also increase revenue for the state through an increase in bed tax and car rental sales. Independent research shows this kind of incentive will result in a 44 to 1 return on investment.
This bill is also an investment in our cultural heritage by encouraging productions to look at filming in all parts of Montana with an incentive to hire people in underserved counties. That provides opportunities for aspiring filmmakers, crew, and local businesses in our small towns, Indian reservations, and remote communities.
We are proud to be among Montana’s 600 film industry professionals. We don’t ever want Montana to become Hollywood, but it would be beneficial for Hollywood to always consider Montana for its films, TV shows and commercials.
Thank you, House members, for seeing the value in giving our industry one more lens in the camera bag for promoting Montana as the ultimate location. We look forward to seeing the same result in the Montana Senate.
- Montana Film Society, JP Gabriel, Owner, Filmlites of Montana, Bozeman, Jim Abel, Owner, Out in the Cold Productions, Billings, Lily Gladstone, Actress, East Glacier/Missoula, Andrew & Alex Smith, Filmmakers, Missoula, Allison Whitmer, Montana Film Commissioner